Getting You The Benefits You Deserve
If you have suffered an injury on the job, you probably realized how complex Ohio workers compensation laws are and the difficulties involved in securing the benefits you need. Most workers are not aware of all the benefits to which they are entitled and they often miss a number of benefits when they try to file their own workers’ compensation claim.
We are here to make sure that this does not happen to you. Our attorneys believe in personal service from beginning to end. Starting with your very first consultation, you will meet with a partner from the firm and that partner will be working on your case until it is complete.
We want our clients to feel comfortable with us from the start so that they can ask any questions they might have about their claim. If you need an experienced attorney to help you through every step of your workers’ compensation claim, contact us today.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
In a nutshell, workers’ compensation is insurance that provides benefits to workers injured on the job. Your employer takes out workers’ comp insurance to cover the costs of an employee’s injuries. These laws are meant to protect both the employer and the employee by making sure that clients receive full compensation for their injuries.
Did you know that many workers are eligible for more benefits than they get? Why? Because the employee did not know to ask for it. Workers’ comp law is complex and, if you do not know what you are eligible for, you may miss compensation you deserve. Keep in mind, also, that Ohio is a no-fault insurance state; this means that if you suffer an injury on the job, regardless of who was at fault, you should receive compensation. Sound easy? Unfortunately, it is not since numerous factors can complicate this process. For instance, if you are a contractor rather than a general employee (which is common in dangerous industries such as construction), you may not be entitled to the same workers’ comp benefits as an injured employee. An attorney can help you determine, from a legal standpoint, whether you are an employer or a contractor; do not just look at your employment papers and assume your eligibility.
The legal professionals at Cox, Koltak & Gibson, LLP have years of experience filing workers’ compensation claims, and we know how to handle the various hurdles you are likely to encounter. Let our attorneys make sure that your compensation.
Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Injured workers in any profession can potentially seek workers’ compensation benefits. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Hip, back, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Common in warehouses and assembly lines, which involve a lot of heavy lifting
- Construction accident injuries
- Long-term injuries such as carpal tunnel, lower back and neck problems, and mesothelioma from asbestos exposure
It is important to note that, if you suffer an injury on the job and your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, you cannot technically file a personal injury lawsuit (in almost all cases). You must go through workers’ compensation if you are to receive the benefits you need.
Some workers’ compensation claims involve actions taken against third parties. For instance, if you are in a traffic accident while driving a company vehicle, you would likely have a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. On the other hand, if you were involved in a scaffolding collapse at a construction site, you would probably have a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury suit against the scaffolding’s manufacturer.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are literally dozens of categories of benefits that you may be eligible to receive after suffering an injury on the job. In general, these benefits fall in one or more of these broad categories:
- Medical benefits (including medical treatment, rehabilitation, physical therapy, or whatever other treatment your doctor prescribes)
- Temporary total disability: compensation for an injured worker’s lost wages while recovering from an injury
- Permanent partial disability: compensation for a permanent disability that partially impedes a injured worker’s ability to work
- Permanent total disability: compensation for a permanent disability that completely prevents a injured worker’s from performing work
- Wage loss: compensation for an injury that forces an injured worker to work at a reduced wage compared to his or her previous employment
- Violation of specific safety requirement: compensation awarded if the injured worker’s employer committed a specific safety violation which lead to the worker’s injury
Your Employer’s Responsibilities
In the state of Ohio, your employer has certain responsibilities under workers’ compensation law. Workers’ compensation law requires employers to purchase some form of workers’ compensation insurance in most cases. Certain exceptions can be made for very large companies, which have the option of acting as their own workers’ compensation insurance provider, and very small companies (typically with only three or four employees), which have the option of not purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. If an employer fails to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, he or she may face fines, civil liability, or even criminal prosecution.
If you are hurt on the job and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, your employer might be personally liable for the benefits you should receive through workers’ compensation insurance. Alternatively, you have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer rather than pursuing a workers’ compensation claim if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance.
Other Duties Your Employer Must Perform
Employers typically must perform these duties in addition to purchasing workers’ compensation insurance:
- At every job site, post a notice of compliance with Ohio workers’ compensation laws
- Offer emergency medical treatment to any employee who suffers an injury while on the job
- Offer additional medical attention, including long-term treatment, if an employee is not able to seek out medical treatment
- File a report of any on-the-job injury to a workers’ compensation board office
- Comply with any requests for further information filed by the workers’ compensation board or the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier
As you might imagine, workers’ compensation law is a complex web of rules, regulations, and subtleties. Being eligible for a particular benefit does not necessarily mean you will receive it if you do not file your claim correctly. Case managers at the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Bureau do not go out of their way to help you file your claim, and if you go into this unrepresented, you may find your benefits delayed or missed entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ohio Workers’ Compensation
- What on the job injuries does Workers’ Compensation cover?
- Workers’ compensation covers almost any on the job injury, including long-term diseases resulting from your work (asbestos, etc.), pre-existing injuries that were exacerbated by an accident at your job, and even injuries caused by a third party while on the job.
- Who pays my Workers’ Compensation benefits?
- Ohio law requires that virtually all employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage from the state fund or insure themselves. Therefore, either the state fund or your employer will be responsible for paying your compensation.
- How long will it take to get benefits?
- This depends on the specifics of your injury, whether your employer is self-insured or state funded, where you received medical treatment, and many other factors. Having an experienced lawyer on your team will help you receive benefits much faster, as you can be sure that your attorney has filed all the necessary paperwork to keep your claim moving. Ultimately, you must trust that your attorney is doing everything that he or she can to ensure that you receive benefits as quickly as possible..
- Do I have to go back to work before I am ready?
- Ultimately, your doctor’s advice determines when you are ready to go back to work. When you suffer an injury on the job, your employer or your employer’s third party administrator will likely suggest a doctor. However, you are free to go to any doctor you like who the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) has certified. You do not have to return to work until your doctor believes you are ready.
- Do I have to file my workers’ compensation claim within a certain time limit?
- There is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you do not file your claim within two years of your injury, you will not be able to seek compensation. If you are in an on the job accident, you should move quickly to seek legal representation and file your claim so that you are sure to receive the benefits you need.
- The BWC denied my workers’ compensation claim. Is there anything I can do?
- You can appeal your claim before the Ohio Industrial Commission. You should absolutely hire an attorney if you are filing an appeal, as you need a legal professional who can gather and present the evidence necessary to prove that you were hurt on the job and deserve compensation. Do not attempt to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim alone.
- Can I get fired for filing a claim?
- If an employee of a company is injured during the course and scope of their employment by an anticipated and foreseeable risk of that employment, they can seek benefits under the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Act. It’s generally against Ohio law for an employer to discharge an employee for filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. That’s known as a wrongful or retaliatory discharge. The same laws that protect an employee from a wrongful or retaliatory termination also prohibit an employer from demoting an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim. The Ohio Supreme Court has held that such a retaliatory termination is a clear violation of public policy based on statutes, regulations and case law.
- What Disqualifies A Person Of Workers’ Compensation in Ohio?
- Workers’ compensation injury claims can be complicated and are often strongly defended,. There is no common list of issues that could disqualify an injured worker, but there are some distinct material case factors that could impact whether a claim is legally allowable. This is usually based on what the injured worker was doing at the time the injury occurred and the actual nature of the working relationship.
- Contracted Employment
- Individuals who are earning an income by virtue of a private documented contracting agreement could have difficulty collecting on a work injury unless they carry personal workers’ compensation protection. Self-employed workers are usually responsible for maintaining their own workers’ comp coverage. When injured workers are clearly employed by a primary employer, the employer’s coverage is liable for protection. Also, many employers’ will conduct an investigation into the injury looking for a viable reason to deny the claim.
- Location at the Time of Injury
- Many workers are injured at a remote location performing job responsibilities. When injuries occur at a central facility, the question becomes what the injured employee was doing at the time of the mishap. Injuries that occur away from the facility could provide ample room for argument from the employer if they can prove within a preponderance of the material case factors that the injured claimant had the injury prior to arriving at work or had the same injury at an earlier date.
- All states allow an employer to reject a workers’ compensation claim when the worker injured themselves. Many states such as Ohio also allow a defense when the worker was intoxicated at the time of the injury. Normally when the injured employee is in discharge of work duties in any manner at the time, the claim cannot be legally denied, even though the employer can contest any injury claim and make the claimant prove the claim. It is important to remember that the employee must prove their case.