Workers’ Compensation FAQ’s

What is Workers’ Compensation?

To take the uncertainty out of the circumstances following a work related injury or industrial illness, the Ohio Workers’ Compensation system provides a reliable procedure for resolving resulting problems. If the injury occurs in the course of and arising out of employment, regardless of whether the employer was negligent or otherwise at fault, the worker should receive benefits that include wage replacement, residual disability award, medical coverage or other assistance. Generally, under the Ohio Workers’ Compensation law and the Ohio Constitution, an employee is not allowed to sue the employer in negligence for the injury if that employer is current on its premium payments into the Workers’ Compensation system.

What type of injuries or diseases are covered?

Virtually, all types of work-related physical injury and industrial illnesses are covered by Workers’ Compensation. The injury may be sudden as by a fall, twisting or jerking while lifting/carrying, heavy equipment accident, construction accident, machinery accident, defective equipment, scaffolding accident, or struck by an object. In some cases, the injury may occur over several hours or several days such as by performing an unusual amount of lifting, pushing/pulling or some other physical activity where the symptoms gradually worsen. Commonly covered injuries include strains, sprains, torn cartilage, torn ligaments, fractures, low back sprains, herniated (ruptured) discs, traumatic injuries, bruises, cuts, amputations, burns, wounds or bodily reactions to substances. A heart attack may be covered in certain situations. Occupational diseases may be caused by chemical exposure, toxic exposure, dust exposure, or repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. Psychological conditions which develop from work-related physical injuries may be covered. Pre-existing conditions which are substantially aggravated by on-the-job physical trauma may also be covered. Death claim benefits, in certain cases, may be paid to the employee’s dependents.

What to do if you are injured on the job?

The first step you should take is to promptly notify the employer and, if at all possible, complete and accident/incident report and try to obtain a copy for your records. If there are any witnesses to your accident, you should seek written statements as soon as possible from such witnesses. Thereafter, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible (preferably immediately following your injury) even if you do not believe you have a serious injury. You may have a more serious injury than you first realized. It is important that you tell a doctor, as soon as possible, about each and every part of the body which you injured at work so as to document these injuries if you continue to have problems, require additional treatments, or suffer temporary/permanent disability. Temporary total compensation for more than 7 days lost time from work cannot be paid unless medically substantiated by a doctor for the work-related injury. Whether you see a private doctor, go to an emergency room or to an urgent care clinic, it is vital to give a full account of how you were injured on the job. If the physician’s records do not show a specific accident or injury, it may result in a delay or denial of your claim.

What else shall I do?

First, as soon as you are able to do so after the accident, you must notify your employer you were injured on the job. You must tell your supervisor or boss exactly what happened on the job that caused your injury or medical condition.

Will my employer file a claim for me?

You are responsible for your own claim. If management promises to file a claim for you and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation never receives your claim application, you can lose your rights to any benefits under the Workers’ Compensation law. Sometimes, claim applications are filed with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation by the first treating healthcare provider. If a claim application has been filed, you should receive correspondence from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation notifying you of your claim number, assigned managed care organization, and other basic information. If you have a self-insured employer, the claim application may not be filed by the employer if you have not missed more than 7 days from work due to your on-the-job injury.

When I receive a claim number, will my benefits immediately be paid?

Many people think that Workers’ Compensation benefits are an automatic entitlement. While you are entitled to file a claim application and receive a claim number, this does not automatically entitle you immediately to benefits. Your claim may be denied by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) or by the self-insured employer. Medical evidence or documents may be incomplete. You may have pre-existing conditions to a part of the body claimed to have been injured. There may be issues as to whether the injury occurred in the course of and arising out of employment.

What if my on-the-job injury was not caused by my employer but by a person not working for my employer?

If you are harmed in the course of and arising out of your employment, you are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. You may be able to proceed or sue against a third party who caused your injury such as a manufacturer, distributor or seller of faulty equipment that caused the injury. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, or the at-fault party does not work for your employer, you may have a separate personal injury case against that individual party. If you are injured at a job site by an employee of another company, you may have rights to seek monetary recovery against that individual and his/her employer. If you suffer enhanced or additional injuries caused by negligence of a healthcare provider treating your work related injuries, you have the right to seek additional monetary damages against those individuals and/or their employers. If you took prescribed medications for your injuries which cause significant damages due to dangerous, defective or unsafe drugs or medications, you may have an additional monetary recovery or lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company.

Disclaimer: Material provided in this website is for informational purposes only. Visiting a website does not establish an attorney-client relationship between you and any lawyer in our law firm. The information on this website does not constitute legal advice and does not intend to address any specific case.


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