The legal world is riddled with deadlines. Statutes of limitations, claim filing guidelines, and insurance policies all contribute to a stressful experience when filing for any kind of benefits.
Workers’ compensation is no exception to this trend. Once you’ve been injured on the job, you have 30 days to report your injury to your employer in Indiana, and in the best-case scenarios, that may be the only deadline you have to worry about.
However, many workplace injuries are not so straightforward, and the timeline for filing and receiving benefits changes depending on each person’s unique situation. That’s why it helps to be informed about the major benchmarks in the workers’ compensation process to know when you should expect to receive or deliver certain information, and to which party involved.
Phase 1: Reporting and Filing
As mentioned above, you have 30 days in Indiana to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. This means you should start the conversation as soon as possible, since the process isn’t instantaneous, and the quicker you file, the quicker you will be able to receive compensation if approved.
Other types of workplace injuries don’t fall under this 30-day deadline, however. Serious conditions like comas, intense and immediate treatment or surgery, and contagious illnesses can all lengthen the amount of time you have to file the claim.
Contracting a Disease from Working Conditions
When your illness hasn’t resulted from a single event but rather extended exposure to certain elements, your clock usually begins when you first visit a doctor to diagnose your disease. The Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board may deny claims if the disease arose more than two years after the last time you were exposed to the hazard through work.
In some ways, it can be unhelpful to think of any workplace injury as insignificant. Even for slight aches, joint pain, or other minor injuries, if you go to the doctor, you should file a workers’ comp claim just in case. If your symptoms don’t go away or even worsen, your deadline for filing remains at the 30-day mark.
Phase 2: Claim Review
Once you start your claim through your employer, they will send a notice to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board, who will then investigate the claim. They’ll talk to you, your doctor, and your employer to determine whether the claim is valid and eligible for benefits.
This part of the process is unpredictable because each claim is different. For straightforward, clear-cut workplace injuries, the review board may respond quickly. However, for complicated or incomplete claims, this phase could take a long time.
Though injured workers aren’t on any deadline during this phase, they won’t receive benefits until their claim is approved. That’s why it’s important to file as early as possible to get the review moving quickly.
Phase 3: Acceptance/Denial
If your claim is accepted after the review process, congratulations! You’ll start to receive benefits to cover medical costs, wage loss, and any other relevant costs you outlined in the claim.
Keep in mind your employer’s insurance company may require you to submit medical bills on a regular basis. Your doctor’s office will send the bills to the appropriate entity as long as you’re clear that you’re being treated under a workers’ compensation claim.
We wish we could say every legitimate workers’ compensation claim gets approved, but the reality is that they don’t. If your claim is denied, you have many more decisions to make before giving up hope.
You have two years to file an appeal to the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board after your claim is denied. During this time, you will have to gather evidence to prove your condition meets the requirements outlined in the letter you received as part of the claim denial.
Because this process may not be straightforward and is often complicated and time-consuming, you can always work with an Indiana workers’ compensation attorney to help with your appeal during the two-year window after receiving a denial.
Help from an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Hensley Legal Group is proud to represent workers across Indiana who have been hurt on the job. We understand every case is uniquely important and will fight to protect your rights. If you’re unsure of how to proceed after being injured at work, give us a call or contact us online. Your conversation with us won’t cost a thing.