Despite strict workplace safety regulations put in place by the state and federal governments, employees in Indianapolis and throughout Indiana often incur serious and sometimes fatal injuries on construction sites, in office buildings and at other locations of employment. According to the United States Department of Labor, 2014 incident rates in Indiana for nonfatal injuries occurred in just about every industry, including manufacturing, health care, construction, education and utilities. Fatal occupational injuries occurred mostly in the mining industry, oil extraction and construction industry.
OSHA’s Fatal Four – Danger in the Construction Workplace
The OSHA Fatal Four report revealed the top four causes of construction worker fatalities. It is these four scenarios that are responsible for more than half of worker fatalities:
- 35 percent of construction worker deaths were from falls.
- 10 percent of deaths occur when the worker was struck by an object.
- 9 percent of victims were electrocuted
- 3 percent of deaths happen when the worker was caught-in or between objects.
Construction sites are dangerous places to work, often containing heavy equipment, cranes, concrete pump trucks, 18-wheelers and more. Fatalities are bound to occur.
Workplace Wrongful Death Suit
In Indianapolis, IN, wrongful death is determined by whether or not the fatality was caused by an action or inaction on the part of an individual or company. A wrongful death claim is akin to a personal injury lawsuit in which the injured party has died. “The estate of the deceased person steps in to establish liability on the part of the defendant whose negligence caused the fatality and to seek money damages. Damages may be awarded to the deceased person’s spouse, children or other dependents. If more than one person is eligible for damages, the court will determine how to split up the award. It’s a civil lawsuit.” In Indiana, a wrongful death suit must be filed within two years of the date of the fatality.
Civil Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit
Damages are intended to compensate the estate and surviving family members. The state of Indiana has specific rules with regard to what amounts are available and what types of damages may be obtained. If liability is established, the deceased person’s estate, spouse and children can recover funeral expenses, medical expenses, lost wages the deceased would have earned, and the cost of pursuing the lawsuit. The state does not allow damages based on “grief,” and Indiana’s wrongful death cases are capped at $300,000.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
By law, businesses in Indianapolis, IN are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Injured workers who meet requirements under Indianapolis workers’ compensation laws may be eligible for coverage for medical expenses as well as up to 2/3 of their average salary. There may also be specific monetary awards for permanent or partial disability. Whether an employer purchases workers’ comp insurance via a third party or operates under a self-insured policy, filing a claim in Indianapolis can be difficult. In some workers’ comp cases, employers and insurance companies try to avoid their responsibilities by arguing that the injury was not work-related. Even flaws or inconsistencies in an employee’s account of the incident can result in a denial. Many injured workers fall into an unseen trap by agreeing to unfair settlements or by signing forms. An experienced Indianapolis workers’ comp attorney can help you avoid the common pitfalls of filing a claim, help you wade through the bureaucratic red tape and see that you obtain the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to.
When You Need a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Indianapolis
Generally, if you’ve incurred just a minor workplace injury and your employer accepts your claim, there’s no need to get an attorney. However, if your situation is complicated, you should hire a lawyer. If your employer denies your claim or fails to pay your workers’ comp benefits in a timely fashion, you should contact a lawyer. If your employer’s settlement is unacceptable, an attorney can help you get a fair deal. It’s also smart to get an attorney if your medical problems prevent you from returning to your prior position or from performing any work at all. Permanent or partial disabilities may entitle you to a single lump sum or lifetime weekly payments. And if you receive Social Security benefits, an attorney can help you draft your workers’ comp settlement agreement to limit what Social Security can take. Finally, if you have a potential third-party claim, an attorney can handle litigation against the third party, in addition to ensuring that you receive the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to.
All around, an experienced workers’ comp attorney can tilt the scales in your favor.