Last updated May 30, 2017.
Workers hurt on the job in Ohio often misunderstand their rights to compensation for their injuries, especially when dealing with the Ohio workers’ compensation system and the intricacies involved in filing a claim.
Here are 10 common misconceptions about workers’ compensation that every Ohio worker should understand.
1. “I must first treat with the company doctor.”
In Ohio, injured workers have freedom of choice of physician so long as the doctor/physician is a certified provider by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Access to quality healthcare of one’s choosing is the best aspect of the Ohio workers’ compensation system.
2. “I must miss time in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation.”
Regardless of whether or not you missed time as a result of your injury, there are benefits you are likely eligible for. The Ohio BWC will set a reserve on your claim and charge your employer based on what they anticipate you will be awarded. They will not, however, advise you as to what benefits you are entitled to and when those benefits are available.
3. “All doctors/physicians are neutral.”
All claimants have a free choice of doctors. But when you avail yourself of a company doctor, be cautious. The company doctor’s diagnosis may seriously affect the amount of future compensation. Treatment by a company doctor does not mean the employer has assumed liability for the injured worker’s compensation claim. In a case where there is dissatisfaction with the diagnosis of the company doctor, it is wise to obtain the diagnosis of a competent doctor of the worker’s choice. Company doctors care about the company. Be sure to select a physician that looks out for you. Keep in mind that with company doctors, the name says it all.
4. “The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is always helpful.”
The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is essentially a state-run insurance company. The notion that the BWC is always helpful is far from true. More and more over recent years, the Ohio BWC has focused on collecting premiums and reducing benefits. Oftentimes, injured workers are led to believe everything is being taken care of. The reality is, they are taking care of the minimum necessary while in fact there is often more that you are entitled to. Failure to properly handle and set up your claim from the beginning can lead to denial of treatment, surgery, and benefits in the future.
5. “I can live with the pain from the injury.”
When people are injured, they often try to just deal with the pain and assume it will go away. More often than not, the pain continues to get worse and the condition becomes more serious. To add insult to injury, the delay in seeking medical care is then used to deny a claim for the injured worker. If you experience symptoms from a workplace injury, you should immediately seek medical care.
6. “I’m not the type of person who files a workers’ compensation claim.”
This is what we have been conditioned to believe: People who file workers’ compensation claims are looking for a pay day, are not really hurt and simply put, are lazy. The truth of the matter is that people who contact us are people who work hard every day to provide for their family. They have had an incident that has disrupted their ability to perform their job and make a living. Our clients are looking for help in getting healed and back to work while at the same time not losing everything they have worked for.
7. “I will be compensated for my pain and suffering.”
The law in Ohio does not provide for pain and suffering in workers’ compensation claims. While there are no actual benefits that compensate for pain and suffering, there are other benefits that help to ease some of the financial burden.
8. “I cannot continue treating once I have received a monetary award.”
Monetary awards are only one aspect of a workers’ compensation claim. Medical care and treatment is available for injured workers so long as they can demonstrate that it is medically necessary as a result of the injury that was sustained while working. The best way to ensure that your treatment will be authorized is to follow your doctor’s medical advice and report any and all symptoms as they occur.
9. “I cannot file a claim for a new/separate injury to the same body part.”
Regardless of prior injury to the same body part, a new claim can be filed if your physician believes that there is a separate and distinct injury to that body part. It can be an entirely new diagnosis or, should the doctor feel there is objective evidence, you can have a claim allowed for a substantial aggravation of a pre-existing injury.
10. “I can do this on my own without any assistance.”
The moment you get hurt in Ohio, your employer has an attorney representing their interests. You will receive contact from a third-party administrator. These companies will tell you that they are there to make sure you get everything you need. The truth is, they work for your employer, trying to ensure that your claim is minimized as much as possible. They employ attorneys who are seeking to limit the medical and compensation you receive. You need your own legal representation. Plevin & Gallucci helps Ohio workers get the compensation they deserve, and you only pay your attorney if they get benefits for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.