Last updated May 30, 2017.
On-the-job fatalities have been on the rise since 2008. They can occur for any number of reasons, including improper handling of materials and equipment in manufacturing facilities, or because a worker inhaled environmental toxins, later causing a respiratory disease. However, workers’ compensation claims are down in Ohio — largely because the process is titled against workers.
Ohio is one of just a few states that limit the ability to recover from a workplace injury by using a workers’ compensation fund. Unfortunately, fraud happens, and unpaid premiums by employers are in the millions. So, what can you do?
There are many things one should know if they’ve been injured on the job in Ohio. We’ve covered workers’ compensation extensively here on the blog of Plevin & Gallucci, but here are five quick tips about workers’ compensation and your rights to keep in mind should an injury occur.
1. Report any injury IMMEDIATELY, no matter how minor.
Report EVERY symptom, ache, or pain you experienced as a result of the workplace injury. It is your right. If you’re employed in Ohio, you have workers’ compensation coverage — even if you’re a temporary employee, though you have to be a legal employee and can’t be taking cash under the table. It is important to note, however, what an injury means in Ohio. Your injury or illness (or death) needs to be work related, and it does not include psychiatric conditions, any voluntary participation in an employer-sponsored recreation or fitness activity if a waiver is on file, or any pre-existing condition related injury or that caused by natural deterioration of any part of the body.
2. Complete an Incident Report at your workplace.
Make sure to keep a copy of your Incident Report, as well. Record-keeping is very important when it comes to being injured, and one of the reasons your workers’ compensation claim could be denied is because you didn’t provide enough information about what happened from the start. Begin making a checklist of information as well for an attorney, including the time and date of injury, when you reported it and to whom, who was present, and the type of medical care you received.
3. You, the injured worker, have the RIGHT to select your own doctor.
This is a big one: While your employer can have you examined at a facility or by someone, you DO NOT have to use the company doctor to treat your injury. It’s actually really smart to choose your own doctor, as a company doctor is generally going to side with the company in any disputes to your workers’ compensation claim. You want your medical records to be as accurate and thorough as possible, and to support your claim. Make sure you also don’t just see your general practitioner or family doc — get checked out by a specialist if your injuries warrant it.
4. You are ENTITLED to benefits even if you did not miss time from work.
Benefits include wage loss, temporary total compensation, living maintenance, and permanent disability. If someone dies on the job, there’s also death benefits for the family. However, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will NOT tell you about all benefits to which you are entitled. Some benefits are confusing, such as in cases of partial or permanent total disability. And if you’re a firefighter in Ohio, new to 2017 is the ability to file workers’ compensation claims for work-related cancer — but you’re going to need an experienced attorney in your corner to research and fight for your claim.
5. Contacting a lawyer immediately to represent YOUR interests will ensure your rights are protected.
It’ll also save you money in the long run. Be aware that EVERY employer has an attorney handling the claim from the employer’s side from the moment you are injured. Even if they’re self-insured. Many employees in Ohio don’t understand their rights and will accept a settlement without consulting with a lawyer — which will lose them the opportunity to claim any more compensation should additional complications arise. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Plevin & Gallucci help Ohio workers get the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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