Ohio Workers’ Compensation: Know Your Rights


Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that covers the costs if an employee gets hurt on the job. The employee gets paid and has medical costs covered and, in return, gives up the right to sue the employer over the injury.

In this post, we’ll go over workers’ compensation requirements for employers in Ohio, how to file a claim with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, what workers’ comp claims cover, and whether or not you may be better served by a lawsuit.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Requirements

With very few exceptions, every employee in Ohio must be covered by a workers’ compensation policy through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). That policy will pay out to cover the medical costs associated with an injury, wages for time off work due to the injury, and settlements for permanent disabilities caused by the injury.

If you receive workers’ compensation, you give up the right to sue your employer for compensation separately. In some cases, you may get more compensation from a lawsuit than from the BWC. You’ll need to carefully consider a potential payout against your costs and the circumstances surrounding your injury; you may want to consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney before you decide what to do.

How does workers’ comp work in Ohio?

If you’re injured or made ill at work, you should report that injury or illness to your employer and to the BWC as soon as possible. Your employer may have reporting policies in place or you may simply need to speak to your supervisor; you can file a report with the BWC online. Ohio workers’ compensation law gives you a limited amount of time to file your claim — just one year after the date of the injury. If your claim is for a work-related illness, you must file within one year of becoming ill or within 6 months of a formal diagnosis by a doctor. If that time runs out, you lose the right to file.

Once you’ve filed your claim, the BWC may request more documentation from you and your employer. They may want medical records, documentation of your employment and the injury from your employer, and other relevant information not included in the original filing. They may also require you to submit additional forms depending on the severity of your injuries.

The BWC will respond to your claim within 28 days and either allow or deny it. If your claim is allowed, it will spell out the terms of your compensation. That may include coverage for medical bills, ongoing treatment or therapy, and lost wages. If you’ve suffered a permanent disability, you may receive a settlement for the injury.

If your claim is denied or if you or your employer wants to dispute the BWC’s decision, you have 14 days in which to file an appeal.

What does workers’ comp cover?

If your claim is allowed, Ohio workers’ compensation will cover your medical costs. That may include emergency care, doctors’ appointments, and ongoing treatment for the injury. It also covers prescriptions that you need because of the injury, but you’ll need to inform the pharmacist that the medications will be covered by workers’ comp or you may have to pay and then wait for reimbursement.

Lost Wages

You may also receive pay for time that you couldn’t work due to the injury. If you miss seven days or fewer, you won’t receive any compensation. If you miss 8-14 days, you’ll get compensation for the days past the first week. In other words, you’ll get paid for one day if you miss eight days total, four days if you miss 11 days total, and so on.

If you miss more than 14 days, you’ll be paid for the entire time, including the first seven days.

The amount of compensation depends on the severity and type of injury you suffered. Ohio workers’ compensation law creates three different categories of injury: permanent partial disability, temporary total disability, and permanent total disability.

Permanent Partial Disability

A permanent partial disability is a permanent injury that affects your ability to function but still allows you to work. The BWC will evaluate your injury and determine the percentage by which it affects you. The compensation you receive will be based on your wage and this percentage. In general, you’ll receive 2/3 of your weekly wages for a set number of weeks. The number of weeks is equal to double the percentage of your disability. In other words, if your disability is evaluated at 50%, you’ll receive 2/3 of your weekly wages for 100 weeks.

You’ll have to wait for at least 26 weeks after your payments for temporary disability end before you can apply to have a permanent disability evaluated.

Temporary Total Disability

Temporary total disability is an injury that makes you unable to work for a certain amount of time, but from which you’ll recover enough to work. You can get 2/3 of your weekly wages until you recover enough to work. If your disability lasts longer than 200 weeks, the BWC will evaluate your health to determine if the disability has become permanent.

Permanent Total Disability

Permanent total disability is an injury that puts you out of work for good. Any injury that prevents you from getting a paying job qualifies. Ohio workers’ compensation law also specifically states that the loss of both eyes, both hands or arms, both feet or legs, or any combination of two of the above (such as one eye and one leg) qualifies as permanent total disability.

Get Help with Your OH Workers’ Compensation Claim

It’s not easy to apply for Ohio workers’ compensation. You have to fill out a lot of paperwork and manage a lot of technical requirements. That’s tough at the best of times, but it’s especially difficult when you’re not feeling your best.

Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help you get through the red tape and get the compensation you deserve. We can also help you if your claim has been denied or if you feel your claim was handled wrongly.

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