Last updated on December 12th, 2023
If you find yourself injured while working in Ohio, you’ll need to enlist the services of a workers’ compensation lawyer. The system itself is intricate, and insurance companies don’t always prioritize your best interests. Therefore, retaining legal help is valuable – strategically and financially.
A skilled Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer understands all aspects of workers’ comp law and will advocate for your right to receive compensation.
They will assess the validity of your claim, gather medical evidence to support your case, and handle all the necessary paperwork for filing a claim. They will also represent you during hearings and negotiations. Their goal is to reach the most favorable settlement possible.
Therefore, having an attorney by your side ensures that everything is conducted correctly and on time. An attorney can save you from delays and help you gain more leverage when dealing with insurance companies.
By entrusting the details to your attorney, you can focus on your recovery.
1. Report the Injury/Condition to Your Employer. To get a workers’ compensation claim approved, you must report your injury to your employer ASAP. After you are injured or when you first discover your work-related condition (such as back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome), tell your employer. Explain the injury or condition and how it was caused.
Typically, your employer will give you certain forms to complete after you talk to your supervisor and the human resources department where you work.
2. Receive Medical Treatment. Once you’ve informed your employer, you should seek medical care immediately. Don’t delay a visit to your doctor, or your injury/condition may worsen, which may cause further health complications.
The doctor you visit should understand how to properly document your therapy for workers’ compensation patients. They can help you fill out the required paperwork you get from your employer.
3. File a First Report of Injury (FROI). Next, you’ll need to submit a first report of injury (FROI) with Ohio’s Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC). This should be done within two years from the onset of your work-related medical condition or injury or the date you became unable to work. Your doctor or employer may also file an FROI on your behalf.
4. Receive the Claim Number and Wait for a Decision. After the FROI is filed, you’ll receive a claim number from the BWC. During this time, the BWC will assess your claim and, within 28 days, will let you know if your claim is approved or denied.
You also want to work with a lawyer, as they can prevent problems with denial. An Ohio workers’ compensation claim may get denied because of any of the following reasons:
You can rely on a workers’ compensation attorney to help you with the following:
Ohio’s workers’ compensation system offers several types of benefits if your claim is approved. These benefits are designed to aid in your recovery and provide income replacement, whether you are recovering or have become impaired.
The key benefits available through this system include:
Your employer must cover all necessary expenses related to your work-related injury or illness. This includes hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, medications, or travel costs for attending doctor appointments. Therefore, you need to keep records of all expenses associated with your claim.
If you’re unable to work while recovering from an injury, what you receive will be based on the amount you were earning when you got injured or sick.
Most injured workers return to work within a week after getting injured. However, some workers may be out longer and require temporary benefits for compensation.
If you miss eight or more calendar days of work, you’ll receive temporary total benefits – usually the first type of compensation that will kick in.
For the first 12 weeks, you’ll get 72% of your full weekly wage and 66% (2/3) of your average weekly earnings thereafter. Your benefits will continue until you are deemed healthy and able to work again.
An employer, in some instances, may voluntarily pay an employee’s wages in lieu of temporary total (TT) compensation while the employee recovers – also known as salary continuation.
If you’re approved for a rehab plan, you’ll receive the same maximum payment as you do for TT benefits with a slight increase in the minimum payments. This is called a LIving Maintenance (LM) benefit.
Permanent total disability (PTD) payments cover you if you’re permanently disabled and can’t return to work. You’ll receive less money if you’re also collecting Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments. You’re entitled to receive PTD payments for life.
Wage loss (WL) benefits are available to workers who return to work after their injury or sickness but in a different role and at a lower wage. The compensation is paid if you secure lower-paying work or are actively seeking work but haven’t found a job yet. WL is paid at two-thirds of the difference between what you previously made and what you make currently.
If your injury or sickness led to a partial and permanent impairment, you’re given a percentage of permanent partial disability (%PP) compensation. The idea behind this benefit is to make up for your loss in earning capacity.
You might liken it to the damages sought in a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering. However, you won’t get as much money.
A VSSR benefit covers an employer’s non-compliance with a safety guideline in the workplace that led to an employee’s injury. VSSR is an acronym that stands for “violation of a specific safety requirement.” The penalty assessed equals 15% to 50% of the maximum workers’ compensation award, with the percentage going to the injured worker or their dependents.
Per the state’s Revised Code (ORC) 4123.57(D), an injured worker who contracted pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, or silicosis while working in a coal mine can receive a COA benefit if they are medically advised to change their job to reduce further exposure to coal dust, asbestos, or silica dust.
Police officers and firefighters, per ORC 4123.57(E), are also entitled to this benefit if they are diagnosed with job-related pulmonary disease or cardiovascular disease, defined under ORC 4123.68. This benefit allows them to receive compensation so they can change their job to reduce future exposure to toxic gas, smoke, chemical fumes, and other toxic vapors.
Ohio workers can also receive a one-time award if their injury leads to disfigurement of their face or head.
Dependents of workers killed on the job may apply for a death claim benefit or an accrued compensation benefit. They may also request a lump sum advancement (LSAL) to cover the payment of household bills and family expenses.
If you are the dependent of someone who died from a job-related injury or disease, you’re entitled to receive a death benefit. What you get will depend on what the worker was earning at the time of the fatal accident.
Claims must be filed within one year for injuries and two years for occupational diseases.
An accrued compensation benefit is typically given to a deceased worker’s spouse or child. This benefit represents the unpaid part of the benefit award.
This prepayment benefit covers future compensation to cover the party’s finances and rehabilitation needs.
Injured workers can request the benefit to cover the costs related to emergency repairs, household bills, or school tuition for the worker’s children. It may also cover such things as the installation of a wheelchair lift or the purchase of a van.
An injured worker currently getting PTD or %PP or a surviving spouse receiving death benefits may submit a request.
Employees, in some instances, may request a lump sum settlement (LSS) of their claim. The one-time LSS or partial settlement closes a claim or part of a claim, as defined by the settlement agreement. Partial settlements cover only medical benefits or compensation.
In case you’re unable to return to your occupation, Ohio’s workers’ compensation program offers rehabilitation benefits designed to assist you in finding new employment. These benefits include job placement assistance, retraining for a new career path, provision of tools and equipment, and reimbursement for living expenses during the rehabilitation process.
The primary aim is to help you secure employment that matches or surpasses what you did for work before you were injured. The program is voluntary.
Do you have questions about workers’ compensation? Have you been injured on the job? In Ohio, your go-to source for legal counsel is Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz. Schedule a consultation to discuss your claim today with an Ohio worker’s compensation lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at 1.937.222.2222
The team did a superb job of keeping me in the loop in regards to my claim. Brittany did an amazing job as my paralegal, following up with me as soon as she had news on my case. I truly can’t thank the Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz firm enough. If you are looking for legal representation that will truly fight for you, these are the guys to go with!
My attorney was/is Dominic Zambelli and from the very start, my experience with him was amazing. He explained what I needed to do for the case, the timeline, and put my mind at ease immediately. Fast forward six months, my case is settled and I am very happy with the result. If you are ever, and I mean EVER, looking for an honest, transparent, and diligent lawyer, call DGM&S and ask for Dominic. You will not be disappointed.
This was my first time having to deal with anything legal, they did a very good job, they helped me through the whole process start to finish. Kept me up to date with everything as time went and also didn’t make me feel dumb over a couple very “dumb” questions. Definitely the people I’ll come back to if needed again!
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