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Workers’ compensation is one of the three most popular personal injury claims filed in Ohio, with nearly 100,000 claims filed each year. Construction sites are some of the most dangerous of workplaces, but injuries can happen anywhere — even right at your desk.
Here’s what you need to know about Ohio workers’ compensation, plus how to file a claim or lawsuit for workers’ compensation. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help you every step of the way, including if your claim is denied.
Time to File an Ohio Workers’ Comp Claim
Up until a handful of years ago, the time to file an Ohio workers’ compensation claim with the state-run Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) was two years. That’s called the statute of limitations, which was reduced to one year through an amendment to the BWC’s two-year fiscal budget. Anyone seeking compensation or benefits after the death of a loved one from a work-related injury also must file a claim within a year.
Some supporters say the reduced time limit won’t make much of a difference, as many workers’ comp claims are filed within a year already (and 19 other states have one-year statute of limitations for workers’ comp on the books). Reducing the time to file also will help cycle out old claims from the system that may be difficult to prove or disprove because of how much time has passed.
However, Ohio makes workers’ compensation claims more difficult than many other states by limiting the ability of an injured worker to collect damages because of its workers’ compensation fund. The BWC also doesn’t allow injured workers to recover pain and suffering damages; it only covers medical costs, lost wages, and settlements for permanent disabilities.
Get up to Speed on Workers’ Comp Law
Because of the new statute of limitations, it’s imperative that injured workers learn about their rights under Ohio law much more quickly. If you receive workers’ compensation, you give up the right to sue.
So, how do you know which path you should choose? First, you’ll want to know some of the basics of workers’ compensation claims in Ohio.
What Happens When You’re Injured
When you become injured or ill, you’ll tell your employer and the BWC; when you file a claim, you’ll fill out a report about your injury specifics. You then must file this claim within one year from the date of being injured or ill, or you lose your right to file a claim. You may need medical records or other documentation of your injury, so make sure to take detailed notes.
After filing a claim, the BWC will respond within 28 days to allow or deny it. Your compensation information will be enclosed if your claim is allowed. If it’s denied, our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys may be able to help. You’ll have 14 days to file an appeal if it’s denied.
How much compensation will I get?
That depends. Remember, a workers’ compensation claim will only cover your medical costs — the emergency-room visit and follow-up appointments, for example — along with lost wages from being unable to work. However, if you only miss seven days of work, you won’t see any of that money.
Your compensation for lost wages varies depending on how long you were out and your injuries. If you are classified as having a temporary total disability, you’ll be able to get 2/3 of your weekly wages compensated until you’re well enough to get back to work. If you have a permanent partial disability, you’ll also be able to receive 2/3 of your weekly wages, but only for a set number of weeks based on the percentage of your disability.
If you are no longer able to work at all — if you’ve lost both eyes, both hands or arms, feet or legs, or any combination of the two, or have suffered a traumatic brain injury — you’ll qualify for worker’s compensation under permanent total disability.
Should I choose to sue instead of file a workers’ compensation claim?
Only you and your attorney will be able to answer that question. Sometimes, your workers’ compensation claim doesn’t go the way you think it should. Maybe your employer tries to get you to return to work right away, or you get less money to pay for your bills than you deserve.
Every workers’ compensation claim will have a lawyer on the side of your employer reviewing how best to respond to your claim. Workers’ compensation paperwork can be complicated, and denials happen far too often for incredibly minor reasons.
Make sure you have a competent attorney working with you to ensure you get everything you need in a workers’ compensation case, whether that’s help filing a claim or even taking it to court. We fight on behalf of injured workers’ rights in not only Ohio, but Indiana and Kentucky, as well.
Contact us today for a free case review.