Your employer is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage to insure employees against on-the-job injuries. Your employer pays premiums to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for insurance coverage if you are hurt on the job. When you are injured, your managed care provider (“MCP”) files a first report of injury form with the BWC. You also have the right to file the form but should check the BWC website to be sure your MCP hasn’t already done so for you.
A man died earlier this year in a workplace accident at the 3M plant in Elyria. The death was initially believed to have been caused by an electrical accident. But there are multiple situations in life and on-the-job where an accident can happen.Workplace injuries are not uncommon.
Theoretically, workers’ compensation insures you against a workplace injury, and you cannot sue your employer if you are injured on the job. It is supposed to simplify the process for both you and your employer by providing a non-adversarial financial safety net. But winning a workers’ compensation claim is a complex legal process, and it can be adversarial if your employer contests your claim.
The smartest thing you can do is to enlist the help of an experienced workers’ comp attorney from the beginning when you know you are injured or sick and that you may need financial assistance while you recover or because your injury or illness is so severe you won’t be able to return to work.
Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law
In Ohio, you may be eligible for a variety of benefits, depending on the situation and your injury or illness.
- Temporary Total Disability – When your physician determines you cannot work until your health condition improves
- Permanent Partial Disability – If your injury leaves you permanently disabled, but you can still do some kind of work
- Facial Disfigurement – Can get you a lump sum payment of up to $10,000
- Wage Loss Benefits – If you cannot earn as much because of your injury
- Permanent Total Disability – If your injury is so severe you cannot work at all for an indefinite time
- Disabled Workers’ Relief Fund – To make up the difference in your disability payments and cost of living if your payments fall below the state minimum
- VSSR Compensation if you can prove your employer violated a specific safety requirement you may be eligible for additional compensation
Ohio Workers’ Comp Death Benefits
If a workplace injury leads to death, workers’ compensation pays up to $5,500 in funeral expenses. For family members who were wholly dependent on the deceased worker, workers’ compensation benefits are paid in the following manner:
Surviving Spouse: Sixty-six and two-thirds of the worker’s income, up to the statewide average weekly wage, for life. If the widow/widower remarries, two years of benefits in a lump-sum payment, and the case is closed.
Other Dependents: The payment described above until the dependent:
- Reaches age 18
- Reaches age 25, for full-time students
- If dependent is mentally or physically incapacitated, while the disability lasts
My Workers’ Comp Claim Was Denied. What Now?
Now would be a very good time to hire an attorney with experience in the Ohio workers’ comp claim process. You must file an appeal within 14 days. If your claim was denied, it could be because your employer is disputing your claim. Your employer could use any number of reasons to dispute your claim, but the real reason is probably because the company you work for does not want their insurance premiums to go up.
Most people would not try to represent themselves in a court case, even though they have the right to do so. The appeals process is complicated, and you really do need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to win your claim. There are three stages of appeals, and if you are approved at any of these stages, your employer has a right to appeal the decision to allow your claim.
You can present evidence and witnesses at the appeal hearing(s), and so can your employer. Be assured that if your employer is disputing your claim, the company will have legal representation. If your claim is allowed at any level, your employer can dispute it, taking the case to court in the event that all three appeals are used up.
If your workplace injury was caused by a defective safety device or malfunctioning machinery or in any number of situations where a third party played a role in causing your injury, the manufacturer or third-party may be held liable for damages. In these cases, you can file a workers’ comp claim and also file a lawsuit against the third-party for negligence or strict liability. Your knowledgeable and experienced Isaacs & Isaacs attorney will investigate your situation and determine what steps should be taken to recover your maximum compensation for your workplace injury or illness.
How Am I Going to Pay a Lawyer When I’m Unable to Work?
Isaacs & Isaacs workers’ compensation lawyers help clients on a contingency fee basis: if we don’t get you your money, we don’t get paid! We don’t think it’s fair that the process is so lengthy and complicated that you have to hire a lawyer in order to get the benefits you deserve. But since you do need to hire an attorney, we are determined to give you the best legal representation you can possibly get. We didn’t make the rules, but we make it our job to know them inside and out. We value and respect working people at Isaacs & Isaacs, and we are on your side.
Because there are strict deadlines to file your claim or appeal, and there are a lot of documents involved, we urge you not to delay getting the help you need to win. We are on-call around-the-clock in the case of a legal emergency. If you are not sure whether you have a valid claim, you can call our hotline anytime at 800-800-888, or fill out our online form to speak with an experienced and aggressive Isaacs & Isaacs Ohio workers’ compensation attorney.