Workers’ compensation is required for most Indiana businesses with one or more employees. There are a few exceptions, including self-insurance for those who qualify.
However, most small and medium-sized businesses can’t afford to take on that burden, so they must take out a policy to avoid financial ruin. If you’re still unsure of whether you need coverage, continue reading to learn about workers’ comp in Indiana, the penalties, and the requirements.
Benefits of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ comp protects your employees in the unfortunate event of a work-related illness or injury. Unfortunately, many diseases can result from prolonged exposure to hazardous chemicals, but injuries are common in every industry, even in office settings. For example, imagine your employee developing a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from a lack of wrist support on their keyboard.
Workers’ comp ensures that they receive the care they need, and you don’t have to assume the financial burden of the medical care and lost wages on top of having their role filled while they’re away. As a small business owner, taking on that financial burden could severely hurt your company.
Indiana workers’ compensation insurance typically covers the basics:
- Emergency treatment
- Medical care and recovery
- Surgeries and physical therapy
- Lost wages
Of course, every policy varies by carrier, so you should ensure that you have the proper level of coverage for the risk level you put on your employees. For example, a construction company will probably have more insurance than an accounting firm because of the dangers employees face on the job.
There are several exemptions for workers’ compensation insurance in Indiana, which include but are not limited to:
- Home staff
- Real estate agents
- Agricultural workers
- Independent contractors
If you’re qualified for an exemption, you can still get coverage, and it’s recommended for those running high-risk businesses, such as agriculture work. For example, if one of your employees tips their tractor and breaks an arm, they could sue you for financial responsibility. If you can’t handle the burden, consider taking out a policy to be safe.
Who Pays for Coverage?
As the business owner, you are responsible for paying your workers’ compensation premiums. However, the state will not pay it for you despite being a requirement. Additionally, it would be best if you didn’t put the financial responsibility of workers’ comp premiums on your employees.
Providing Proof and Penalties of Non-Compliance
When you obtain a workers’ compensation policy, you must post proof of coverage in the workplace, including the carrier’s name and contact information. This way, it’s easily accessible to employees and legal inspectors. Then, you must report every employee’s injury to your insurance company within a week.
Non-compliance to Indiana’s workers’ comp laws can lead to fines and a bad reputation. Anyone can quickly see if you have coverage by checking the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board. Plus, by not complying, you also put yourself at risk for employee lawsuits, covering medical expenses, paying lost wages, and more.
When your employee is injured or falls sick, they can receive medical treatment right away, but they can report the injury or illness within 30 days or risk the claim being denied. Once you’re notified, you can report it to the insurance company to start the claims process. Typically, the insurance company will take some time to investigate the claim and approve or deny it within 29 days. Then, if the employee’s claim is rejected or they’re unhappy with the benefits received, they can start the appeal process.
Types of Disability Payments
While the employee recovers from the injury, they may not be able to work, or they have to work with limitations. In addition, there’s a possibility that they could become permanently disabled because of the accident. So there are different types of disability payments to cover each scenario:
Temporary Partial Disability
If your employee can still work but is limited in the jobs they can perform during their recovery period, they may get Temporary Partial Disability payments.
Temporary Total Disability
If they cannot perform any job duties while recovering, the employee may qualify for Temporary Total Disability payments while away from work.
Permanent Partial Disability
If the employee is permanently affected by the injury to the point where they cannot work in the same capacity, they may qualify for Permanent Partial Disability payments.
Permanent Total Disability
In the unfortunate event that the employee is totally disabled and can no longer work, they may qualify for Permanent Total Disability payments.
You should not take workplace accidents lightly. Apart from being a legal requirement for most Indiana employers, workers’ compensation protects both the employee and your business. Without it, you risk significant fines, legal fees, and being held responsible for any injuries your employees incur while working for you.