January 20th, 2021|
Can I Get Fired While Receiving Indiana Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Each year, thousands of Hoosiers are left unable to work because of injuries related to workplace accidents. While many of these individuals will qualify for Indiana workers’ compensation benefits, one of the most common questions among potential claimants is whether or not receiving work comp benefits can affect job security.
The answer is yes, but only under certain circumstances. The Indiana state government says the state has an “at-will” employment policy. This means employers can hire or fire workers as they see fit, but they cannot discriminate against employees based on disabilities, even if the disability is one the worker did not have when they were hired, such as after a workplace accident.
Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim Isn’t a Fireable Offense
Furthermore, Indiana employers cannot fire an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, they may be able to terminate employees who cannot work for a period of time that violates their posted or published attendance or leave policies.
For example, if a company makes it clear that employees are allowed only 10 missed shifts in a year, or they are only allowed to take 14 days off total in a year for any reason, and their injury causes them to miss more time than that, then they may be legally terminated by their employers.
How You Can Protect Yourself While on Workers’ Comp
Although almost all Indiana business owners are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees, not all of them are happy when employees file claims. Businesses may face greater expenses when workers are out on workers’ comp leave, and they may wish to replace injured employees with new workers to avoid disruptions in productivity.
You can protect yourself, your paycheck, and your career by taking these steps when you’re receiving workers’ compensation and unable to work:
- Apply for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—If your injury qualifies you for workers’ compensation, there’s a good chance it also qualifies you for FMLA. Unlike workers’ compensation, FMLA is unpaid, but it does protect your job. While workers’ comp grants you a percentage of your pay while you recover, FMLA guarantees you’ll keep your job for at least 12 weeks.
- Consult your union—If you’re a member of a union, you may have additional rights and protections against termination, especially if you’ve been injured on the job. Union workers typically can’t be fired as easily as non-union workers, even in “at-will” employment states like Indiana.
- Avoid activities that could worsen your injury or disability—Because Indiana is an “at-will” employment state, the government sides with businesses that hire and fire based on productivity. That means it’s important to get back to work as soon as you safely can, and that typically requires following your doctor’s orders and avoiding aggravating your injury.
Do Fired Workers Lose Their Workers’ Comp Benefits?
Unfortunately, employers aren’t always patient, empathetic, or understanding when workers are out for weeks or months on workers’ comp. They may want to hire a replacement immediately, and that means firing injured employees. If this happens to you, you may be worried about what will happen to your workers’ compensation benefits.
Thankfully, getting fired while receiving benefits doesn’t mean you lose them. Because your injury happened at work, you’re still eligible to receive all workers’ comp benefits even if you’re terminated from your job the day you get your first workers’ compensation check.
However, you can lose your workers’ compensation benefits if the doctor assigned to your case by the workers’ compensation board rules you are recovered enough to go back to work—even if you no longer have a job to go back to. In addition, you can lose your benefits if you’re still employed but choose not to return to work after receiving a clean bill of health from your doctor.
Our Tips for All Workers’ Compensation Claimants in Indiana
The Indiana workers’ compensation lawyers with Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin suggest taking these two actions when filing a workers’ compensation claim:
- Communicate clearly with your employer– Let management know about your accident and the conclusions drawn by your doctor, including how long you may be unable to work, immediately.
- Get legal assistance– An attorney from Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin can help clarify legal questions that arise during the workers’ compensation process and ensure your rights to employment are protected while you file your claim.
Workers’ compensation benefits can be complex, especially when a claimant gets let go after their accident. Although Indiana is an “at-will” state, not all terminations are legal, especially if it can be proven that they were due to a disability—especially one caused by an on-the-job injury.
Get in touch with our legal team today if you need help applying for workers’ compensation benefits, appealing the state workers’ compensation board’s decision, or if you believe your employer has wrongfully terminated you while you were receiving benefits. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we support Indiana’s workers, and we want to ensure your voice is heard and your rights are protected.
This post was originally published in June 2014. It has been updated to ensure its accuracy and relevancy.
August 25th, 2015|
Drunk driving continues to be a threat to everyone who is on the road. Reports show that last year alone, a total of 101 Indiana motorists lost their lives in crashes where alcohol consumption was a contributing factor.
Our Terre Haute DUI accident attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain that our city is working to keep drunk drivers off of the road. It was announced that beginning on Wednesday, August 19, the Indiana State Police and the Terre Haute Police Department would be partnering to conduct the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
WTHITV 10 News reports that as part of the program, the agency will be conducting a sobriety checkpoint and saturation patrols in the weeks leading up to the Labor Day weekend. The program seems to be working better each year it has been conducted.
In 2013, the campaign was responsible for taking a total of 44 drunk drivers off of the roads in the Terre Haute area. The following year, the number decreased to 38 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Officials say that drunk driving accidents are preventable and that you can do your part to keep our roads safe by reporting suspected drunk drivers. Our Terre Haute personal injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin would also suggest establishing a designated driver before going anywhere you may consume alcohol. If you can’t find a designated driver, plan to take a cab home.
Please, stay safe and sober when driving!
August 7th, 2015|
There are many contributing factors that can play a role in causing an injury that results in an Indiana medical malpractice lawsuit, but two of the most common are a misdiagnosis or a miscommunication between patients and/or medical staff.
So what can be done to reduce the number of these types of medical errors? Our Terre Haute medical malpractice attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain some experts feel these mistakes could be prevented if doctors simply talked to their patients more.
A 1989 study found that in Florida, a mere six percent of obstetricians in the state were responsible for 70 percent of medical malpractice payouts over a five-year period. “What did each these doctors have in common?” you may ask. The answer is simple. It was a lack of communication with their patients.
An article from The New York Times explains that, of the lawsuits filed in the initial study, 33 percent reported their doctor would not talk openly with them, while approximately half stated their physician had attempted to mislead them. Still, 70 percent claimed they had not been warned by their doctor of developmental problems their unborn children may suffer from.
Other studies showed similar results.
Even if a medical professional communicates with patients and their staff well, mistakes can still be made. Our Terre Haute personal injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin encourage you to get educated about your rights if you or a loved one have been harmed as a result of a medical professional’s error. Our legal staff is standing by to answer any questions you may have.
June 19th, 2015|
Indiana is known to have strict dog bite laws, considering an owner can be held liable for any unprovoked attack their animal commits, regardless of the animal’s history. Despite the nature of current state regulations, our Terre Haute personal injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin point out that some citizens feel firmer local ordinances are needed as well.
The need for local regulations to control canines was a hot topic at a recent Batesville City Council meeting. One local woman felt the city’s leash laws need to be restructured to require all dogs to be restrained by a leash while in public. She felt the change is overdue after continually seeing unrestrained dogs in the area and worrying her children would be bitten.
According to The Herald-Tribune, current regulations require a dog be restrained by a lead, leash, or voice commands. Opponents of the change claim the current policies provide enough guidance for safety and argue that even a restrained dog is capable of biting or attacking.
Officials concluded further research into the matter is necessary before any decisions or changes to the law are made.
At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we understand the role the law plays in helping prevent an Indiana dog bite injury from occurring and we’re hopeful the final decision that will be reached in this matter helps reduce dog bites and dog attacks.
May 20th, 2015|
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 3,000 United States citizens are diagnosed each year with the deadly form of cancer known as Mesothelioma. Our mesothelioma lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin explain the disease is most often caused by exposure to Asbestos, but one new study shows patients may not develop the disease until years after the exposure occurs.
An article from Outbreak News Today discusses a study that was conducted by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Health that examined the case histories of roughly 69,000 workers who had been employed in the mining industry between 1930 and 1982. Since the late 90’s, researchers have been identifying participants who developed Mesothelioma and new cases are still being diagnosed today.
In 2003, 17 cases of mesothelioma were identified and it was determined the disease had developed as the result of exposure to commercial asbestos. Another roughly 60 cases were identified over the next decade and most recently, 21 new cases were diagnosed.
The team concluded that cases of Mesothelioma can develop as long as half a century or more after the asbestos exposure occurs. Furthermore, the exposure in these particular cases occurred on the job and is not a risk to the greater community.
If you develop mesothelioma, the Terre Haute personal injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin say you may have legal rights that need to be protected. One of the best ways to achieve this is by having legal representation by your side. Doing so will help to ensure your questions are answered and you have the information you need to determine the best course of action for your case.
May 13th, 2015|
Technological advancements present options for performing medical procedures, but the attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin point out they may not always be proven safe.
The da Vinci® surgical robot is a prime example of the risks of new medical technology. The device can be used to perform minimally invasive surgeries that can reduce recovery times and the chances of excessive blood loss. In fact, a recent article from CBS News contained a video showing the device being used to sew a grape’s skin back together.
But the da Vinci surgical robot has come under scrutiny after studies showed the device was linked to a roughly 34 percent increase in surgical errors. Many of the complications encountered using the da Vinci surgical robot required a more invasive follow up surgery to repair the damage caused by the initial procedure. Some researchers believe lack of surgeon experience and tactile feel could also play a role in the number of injuries.
These findings leave many patients wondering what they should do if they were injured during surgery. The Terre Haute personal injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin suggest speaking with a reputable and qualified legal representative about your potential rights to compensation. Doing so can help ensure you have the information you need to protect your rights.
April 15th, 2015|
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is tasked with the job of regulating which medical devices are made available on the market; however, some feel as though better policies and more thorough safety inspections could help reduce defective medical device numbers in the U.S.
Two experts in medical device safety, former FDA deputy commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, and cardiology professor at the University of California at San Francisco, Rita Redberg, recently sat down and discussed what can be done to reduce injuries and fatalities that are caused by faulty medical devices with The Wall Street Journal. They both tend to agree that the current methods being utilized to ensure medical device safety could be improved.
Gottlieb stated he felt the FDA was taking too much of a “uniform” approach to determining the safety of medical devices by trying to create broad safety standards for all devices. Redberg pointed out these broad standards have numerous loopholes that allow dangerous devices to make their way onto the market.
Redberg then goes on to say she feels public device registries where issues and problems can be tracked in real time is one of the best solutions she’s heard of to improve the safety of medical devices in the U.S.
Even with safety improvements, it’s clear that a small percentage of unsafe medical devices will always find their way on to the market and our Terre Haute personal injury lawyers want you to know help is available if you or a loved one have been the victim of such an accident. Feel free to call us anytime at (800) 477-7315 to discuss your case with our legal staff today.
April 7th, 2015|
Data indicates that as many as 1 million Americans suffer from the degenerative neurological condition known as Parkinson’s Disease. Yet many citizens do not know the symptoms of the disease or what steps they should take if they are diagnosed with the condition. That’s why the Social Security Disability lawyers at the law firm of Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin would like to contribute to April being named Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month by providing this vital information about the disease.
The Mayo Clinic explains some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include tremors in appendages, as well as reduced mobility—which is often referred to as bradykinesia. Rigid muscles, poor posture, and changes in writing and speech can also be signs of the disease.
With symptoms like these, it comes as no surprise to most that a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease could potentially prevent a patient from returning to work. Luckily, those with Parkinson’s may be awarded Social Security Disability benefits to help make ends meet.
The Social Security Administration says benefits should be awarded to an individual with Parkinson’s Disease if their condition results in significant rigidity of the muscles, bradykinesia, and tremors in at least two extremities that result in a disturbance of normal movement.
Proving your Parkinson’s is preventing you from working can be a complex task though, which is why it’s a good idea to have a legal representative by your side through each step of the process. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we suggest speaking with a Terre Haute personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you suffer from Parkinson’s Disease and are considering applying for benefits or have a claim that was denied in the past.
March 20th, 2015|
March has been named Brain Injury Awareness Month across the United States. So, our Terre Haute brain injury lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin would like to do our part to contribute to the cause by discussing one of the most common contributing factors in brain injuries among children and adolescents—athletics.
Thousands of sports-related brain injuries are reported each year, but officials are working to reduce these numbers by creating stringent legal policies regarding this type of injury. They plan to educate athletes and coaches about the causes, signs, and symptoms of a brain injury, as well as govern when injured players should be allowed to return to play.
The Times reports Indiana Senate Bill 403 is expected to take effect on July 1, 2016, and will require all athletes in grades 5-12 to complete a concussion safety and awareness course before they will be allowed to take to the field. Football coaches will also be required to undergo further education regarding heat-related illness, proper equipment fit, and practicing proper tackling and hitting techniques.
At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we recognize the long-term damage that can be caused by a brain injury suffered by a child or teen. That’s why our Terre Haute personal injury lawyers applaud this new law being considered by our state’s legislators and we are hopeful it passes during the upcoming legislative session.
February 27th, 2015|
At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, our Terre Haute car accident lawyers point out texting and driving is a serious danger motorists on Indiana’s highways face each day—especially teens. Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that up 71 percent of teens and young adults have sent text messages while behind the wheel of a vehicle and 78 percent admitted to reading texts while driving.
Officials are working to address this problem through the “Drive Now.TX L8R” campaign. The program aims to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through a social media contest.
In a video posted to YouTube and the campaign’s website, Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann explains that young people are being encouraged to come up with social media content that gets the message across to others that distracted driving is dangerous. Submissions can be made either as an individual or as a team, and those who get the greatest online response will receive a $5,000 scholarship towards continuing their education.
The contest will have divisions for both high school and college students, with each division having five categories, including Twitter (most retweets and favorites), Vine (most likes), Vine (most creative), Instagram (most likes), Instagram (most creative).
Our Terre Haute personal injury attorneys would like to encourage young people in Indiana to not only take a stand against distracted driving but to become part of the solution by participating in this wonderful contest.