In theory, the Ohio workers’ compensation system eliminates–or, at least, significantly tones down–the adversarial nature of pursuing compensation after an injury. Unlike a personal injury case, a workers’ compensation claim doesn’t require a showing of negligence. So the injured employee doesn’t have to show that the employer was negligent. And, with limited exceptions, the employer has nothing to gain by trying to prove the employee caused or contributed to his own injury.
Often, this system does its job, making it quicker and easier for an injured worker to access critical compensation like coverage of medical expenses and replacement income. That’s especially true in low-dollar cases where the injury is temporary and any disability is time-limited. But the situation often becomes more complicated when the injury is serious, requiring ongoing medical care and perhaps long-term disability.
While you don’t necessarily need an attorney for every Ohio workers’ compensation claim, having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can sometimes make a significant difference. One study found that injured workers who were represented by an attorney received, on average, 30% more than those who were unrepresented.
7 Signs You Should Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Do you need to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney? If you’re uneasy, uncertain, or encountering difficulties with your workers’ compensation claim, the answer is yes. Many workers’ compensation law firms, including Plevin & Gallucci, offer free consultations to injured workers. That means there’s no downside to seeking out information if something doesn’t seem right.
While this list isn’t comprehensive, here are some examples of situations when you should hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney:
1. Your claim isn’t moving forward
One of the intended benefits of workers’ compensation is that you’ll be able to get the medical care and replacement income you need in the aftermath of a work injury. If your claim isn’t being processed or obstacles are being raised that are preventing you from receiving those benefits in a timely manner–especially necessary medical care–it’s time to get help.
2. Your employer claims the injury didn’t occur in the course of employment
Usually, it’s pretty clear whether an injury happened on the job. But there are some gray areas, such as when an employee is on the premises but not working, or is engaged in “horseplay.” If the injury wasn’t sustained in the course of employment, workers’
compensation won’t cover the claim. So if this suggestion is raised, it’s in your best interest to speak with an Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer right away.
3. The injury aggravated a pre-existing condition
Demonstrating that a pre-existing condition was aggravated by a work-related injury and should be covered in the workers’ compensation claim can be complicated, and many employers will attempt to separate out anything related to the underlying condition, minimizing the payout and leaving the injured worker without adequate compensation.
4. You’re being pushed to enter into a quick settlement
It may seem that a quick offer of settlement is a good thing, especially if you’ve been seriously injured and are in need of compensation. But settling a workers’ compensation claim too quickly can be a mistake. Once you settle your claim, you typically can’t receive any additional compensation. That means that if you discover you need additional surgeries or other major medical care or find that you are unable to return to work as expected, you will usually have to absorb those expenses on your own. Employers and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) know this and may push to close out a claim before those additional losses are discovered.
5. Your ability to work is temporarily limited and you’re not getting appropriate compensation or accommodation
Workers’ compensation is designed to use a combination of replacement income and alternative work assignments to keep your income stable as you recover from a work-related injury. But employers don’t always provide alternatives that are appropriate to the worker’s restrictions, and may deny benefits if an employee declines work that is too strenuous. A workers’ compensation attorney can help enforce your rights.
6. It appears that you may have permanent limitations
If your injury has left you unable to work or unable to perform the type of work you previously performed, you may need compensation that will support you or supplement your income for many years. In this situation, there’s a powerful incentive for the employer to minimize the payout. But accepting a lower settlement may leave you struggling later in life. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will know how to properly value your claim and fight for fair compensation.
7. A third party caused the injury
Though workers’ compensation is meant to be an exclusive remedy as to the employer–meaning you typically can’t sue your employer for a work-related injury–you may have a claim against someone outside the company who caused the accident or contributed to your injury. The compensation available in a personal injury or product liability case may be more extensive than the benefits available through workers’ compensation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help determine this.
An Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
If you were injured on the job and find yourself in one of these situations, or if something else is causing concern about how your workers’ compensation claim is being handled or whether you’re being offered fair compensation, talk with an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney right away.
Plevin & Gallucci offers free workers’ compensation consultations so you can gather the information you need to make good decisions about your next steps. You can schedule yours right now by calling 855-4PLEVIN, filling out the contact form on this page, or clicking in the bottom right-hand corner of the page to chat with an agent.