• Indiana Worker Injury Reporting Compliance

    March 9th, 2020

    The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board has announced that as of April 1, 2020, it will begin evaluating the filing of Indiana State Form 34401, Indiana Worker’s Compensation First Report of Employee Injury, Illness for timeliness and will issue penalties for those reports which are untimely.

    What is the time for filing?  An employer which is insured for worker’s compensation must provide a report concerning a work-related injury or illness to its insurance carrier within 7 days after the employer’s knowledge of the injury or illness, either actual or alleged.  Then, the insurance carrier must file Form 34401 within 7 days after receipt or 14 days after the date of the employer’s knowledge, whichever is later. A self-insured employer must provide Form 34401 to the Worker’s Compensation Board within 7 days after the employer’s knowledge of the injury or illness, either actual or alleged.  The report must be submitted pursuant to the Board’s EDI 3.1 procedures.

    What is an injury for reporting purposes?  A death or the need for medical care beyond first aid must be reported.  Indiana law also states that the reporting requirement is intended to be consistent with the OSHA reporting requirement established at 29 CFR 1904.7.  This means that reporting is required for death or any injury or illness which causes days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.  And, even if none of those events has occurred, reporting is required for a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or licensed health care provider.

    What are the penalties?  After notice and a hearing, the Board may assess a civil penalty of $50 for the first violation, $150 for the second unrelated violation, and $300 for the third and subsequent unrelated violations.  

    You should look at your reporting practices and procedures now to make sure that timely reporting is a priority.  

    Why Should I Settle That Case?

    December 18th, 2019
    Why You Should Settle your workers Compensation Case

    The employee claims an accidental injury and that he reported it to his supervisor. The supervisor denies or doesn’t recall having received the claimed report. The case is denied. The employee seeks his own medical care and is recommended to have surgery. The employee tells the employer of that recommendation and asks that the employer provide the recommended treatment. The employer declines to do so. The employee has the surgery and files an Application for Adjustment of Claim. The employee didn’t report the accidental injury and had unauthorized treatment, so why should the employer consider a settlement?

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    Anticipatory Termination of TTD Benefits

    October 3rd, 2019

    Indiana Code 22-3-3-7 states:  

    “Once begun, temporary total disability benefits may not be terminated by the employer unless:” 

    1. employee has returned to work, 
    2. employee has died, 
    3. employee has refused a medical examination or suitable employment, 
    4. employee has received 500 weeks of TTD or the maximum compensation, 
    5. employee is unable/unavailable for work for reasons unrelated to the injury.  
    Anticipatory Termination of TTD Benefits

    “In all other cases, the employer must notify the employee in writing of the employer’s intent to terminate the payment of temporary total disability benefits * * * on a form approved by the board.” 

    Form 38911 is the form approved by the Board and the TTD may not terminate until four days after Form 38911 has been mailed.  

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    Indiana EDI 3.1 Workers Compensation Reporting

    August 15th, 2019

    EDI 3.1

    How are you doing with EDI 3.1?  Indiana is one of the first States to implement this reporting format.  Our Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board has tried to limit the information requested and some States ask for even more detail.  If you have any questions or issues with EDI 3.1, please feel free to contact the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board (David Babcock or Jake Forte) for assistance.  The start date for possible statutory penalties is December 1, 2019.

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    Kids Chance of Indiana Annual Golf Outing

    May 21st, 2019

    Linda Peterson Hamilton, Chairman
    402 West Washington Street, Room W196
    Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2753
    Telephone: (317) 232-3808

    What happens when a child loses a parent to a work-related fatality? What happens when that family’s main source of income ends to their children’s educational opportunities and aspirations?

    Kids Chance of Indiana (KCIN) is a non-profit that provides college and vocational scholarships to eligible children of Indiana workers who were totally disabled or fatally injured due to a work-related accident. Established in 1996, KCIN has awarded over 125 scholarships totaling more than $280,000.00, averaging approximately $2,400.00 per student.

    But there is so much more we could achieve. KCIN would like to increase the number of scholarships awarded each year and raise the average amount awarded to $5,000.00, thereby further reducing our students unmet needs. It would take an additional $30,000 to $50,000 annually which, with the generosity of potential corporate partners and donors like you, we believe we can realize.

    Please consider supporting KCIN as a corporate sponsor or by participating in our golf outing, which is our primary annual fundraiser. Click Read More for additional information regarding that event and sponsorships.

    Further if you have a referral or knowledge of a child impacted by a fatal or totally disabling injury of a parent from an Indiana work accident please let me know so we can reach out to them. You can additional information on our website, https://www.kidschancein.org.

    Thank you for your consideration and if you interested in sponsoring or have any questions regarding this worthy organization please contact Darren Dye at [email protected] or (317) 233-3394.

    Darren Dye
    Vice-President Kids’ Chance of Indiana

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    Light Duty Work Tender

    April 2nd, 2019

    An employer has the right to avoid the payment of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) compensation to an injured employee by tendering to the employee suitable light duty work.  If the employee refuses such light duty work, then the payment of TTD compensation may be suspended during the period of refusal. This seems simple enough, but there are two important restrictions before a suspension will be valid.

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    Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board Members

    March 13th, 2019

    The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board is made up of seven persons appointed by the Governor of Indiana.  The seven persons must be Indiana attorneys in good standing and are referred to as members of the Board. One of the members is designated as the chairman of the Board and is primarily responsible for the administration of the Board’s activities.  The remaining six members are assigned to the six Statewide hearing districts and are primarily responsible for the adjudication of compensation disputes in those districts. All seven members constitute the full Worker’s Compensation Board for the purpose of appeals from hearing member awards.

    There have been some recent changes in Board members.  Doug Meagher has been appointed to District 5. (This is member Meagher’s second appointment to the Board.)  Kyle Samons has been appointed to District 6. Sandra O’Brien has been appointed to District 1. All three appointees have substantial experience regarding worker’s compensation law and procedure and are excellent additions to the Board.

    Nurse Case Manager Guidelines

    December 21st, 2018

    The Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board website contains guidelines regarding the role of a nurse case manager (NCM) in Indiana worker’s compensation cases.  If you use a NCM in the administration of a worker’s compensation claim, you should be sure that your NCM is aware of and is in compliance with these guidelines in the course of delivering NCM services to your injured employee.

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    Permanent Partial Impairment Ratings

    November 14th, 2018

    Permanent Partial Impairment RatingsThe Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act (Indiana Act) does not designate the use of any particular rating guide for the assessment of a Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) rating.  Many medical providers are familiar with the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) and the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board (Board) has long accepted references to the AMA Guides in support of PPI ratings.  It is possible that in the future the Board will require that PPI ratings be based upon the AMA Guides so as to avoid a medical opinion report which assigns a PPI rating without any objective support. Even so, there are certain areas where the use of the AMA Guides may not be appropriate:

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    New Requirements For Settlement Agreements

    August 14th, 2018

    There are many occasions where good faith disputes require a compromise resolution. The primary format for such resolution is commonly referred to as the “Section 15” agreement.

    IC 22-3-2-15 is the statutory authority for such an agreement.  Section 15 requires that such an agreement be approved by a member of the Worker’s Compensation Board and that such member should not approve an agreement which is not in accordance with the rights of the parties pursuant to the Worker’s Compensation Act.

    New Requirements For Settlement AgreementsThe Section 15 settlement process can be abused when it forecloses the legitimate non-disputed rights of an employee, where the consideration is inadequate, or where other unrelated employee rights are adversely affected. The Worker’s Compensation Board has created a checklist for settlements. The checklist is posted on the Board’s website.

    Compliance with the checklist will make the preparation of Section 15 and other settlement agreements more time-consuming. But, the additional information required by the checklist will give to the Board member an accurate basis upon which to consider and approve the settlement. Section 15 agreements with unrepresented employees will require compelling evidence of the dispute and the adequacy of the money to be paid. A Section 15 agreement should give consideration to the length of time within which the claim may be reopened and the likelihood and value of the additional benefits which may be due within that time. Section 15 settlements in otherwise compensable claims will be closely scrutinized.

    In addition to the checklist, the Board has identified several areas which are NOT appropriate for inclusion in a Section 15 or other settlement agreement:

    1. Confidentiality clause which requires a forfeiture of the settlement payment in the event of a violation.
    2. Blanket release of any and all claims or release of rights other than those related to the worker’s compensation claim.
    3. Employee resignation as a condition of the settlement.
    4. Waiver of the statutory right to reopen the claim where the claim was otherwise compensable and statutory benefits are being paid pursuant to the settlement agreement.

    The Board is also working on a procedure whereby settlement agreements and orders in litigated cases will be electronically transmitted to the appropriate hearing member for review and approval. Settlements in non-litigated claims will be electronically transmitted to an “Accident Files” mailbox for handling. The effective date for this approval process will be announced by the Board in the future.