Can Construction Workers in Ohio File for Workers’ Compensation?
Few jobs in Ohio are more dangerous than construction work. Each year, thousands of construction workers in Ohio miss days from work due to job-related injuries; and, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately one in five worker deaths each year occur in the construction industry.
If you are a construction worker in Ohio and you have been injured on the job, are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? Columbus workers’ compensation attorney Doug Malek explains.
Are You an Employee or Independent Contractor?
Under Ohio law, only employees are entitled to file for workers’ compensation benefits. This means that if you are employed as an independent contractor, you are not eligible to file a claim.
In the construction industry, many companies classify their workers as independent contractors. They do so for a variety of reasons—one of which is to avoid liability for workers’ compensation claims. But, just because your employer says you are an independent contractor, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is true. Your employer may have improperly classified you; and, if this is the case, you can—and should—file for benefits.
How can you tell if you are an employee or an independent contractor? If you receive a regular paycheck with FICA tax withholdings, you are almost certainly an employee. If you get paid based on the number of hours you work and you receive a 1099 at the end of the year, you might be an independent contractor. But, before you assume that you are ineligible for workers’ compensation, you should consult with an attorney who can determine if you truly qualify as an independent contractor under the law.
What If You Are Not Eligible for Benefits?
While many construction workers are eligible to file for workers’ compensation when they get injured on the job, let’s say you are not. What are your options if you are not eligible for benefits?
Even in this scenario, an attorney may still be able to help you recover financial compensation. From dangerous premises to dangerous tools and equipment, there are various non-employment-related issues that can give rise to personal injury claims for construction site accidents. As a result, even if you are concerned that you may not qualify for workers’ compensation, you should still schedule a free consultation to speak with an attorney about your legal rights.
Common Causes of Construction Worker Injuries
For construction workers in Ohio, many different issues can lead to injuries on the job. If you are an employee, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of how you got injured (with only limited exceptions for things like intentional injuries and alcohol intoxication). In many cases, these common issues will justify claims outside of workers’ compensation as well.
So, when can you file for workers’ compensation benefits as a construction worker in Ohio? Some of the most common causes of construction-related injuries include:
- Coworker Negligence – When construction companies hire inexperienced and untrained workers, they put everyone on the job site at risk for avoidable injuries.
- Electrocutions – Faulty wiring and failure to control hazardous energy sources present risks for everyone on a construction site.
- Falling and Flying Objects – Objects falling from overhead, flying debris, and other falling and flying objects can cause concussions, eye injuries and other types of serious trauma.
- Slips, Trips and Falls – This includes slips and trips on the ground, falls from ladders and scaffolding, falls from roofs, and falls involving inadequate safety precautions on the job site.
- Hand Tool and Power Tool Accidents – Whether your tool malfunctioned, a coworker was being careless or you simply injured yourself while working, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits for a hand tool or power tool accident.
- Inadequate Safety Precautions – Failure to supply safety harnesses and safety glasses, failure to install temporary railings, failure to install proper machine guarding, and various other safety issues are to blame for many construction site accidents.
- Vehicle-Related Accidents – This includes collisions between vehicles as well as being hit or run over by a vehicle on a construction site.
These are just examples. If you have been injured in any type of accident while working on a construction site in Ohio, you should speak with a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney about your legal rights.
How to Seek Workers’ Compensation After a Construction Accident in Ohio
If you are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits as a construction worker, there are some steps you will need to take promptly to protect your legal rights. One of the first steps you should take is to seek treatment from a physician of record (POR). You should also speak with a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
When you hire an attorney to represent you, your attorney will file your workers’ compensation claim on your behalf. In most cases, this will involve filing a First Report of Injury, or FROI-1, with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Once your attorney files your claim with the BWC, your attorney will continue to deal with the BWC for you; and, if it is in your best interests to do so, your attorney will negotiate for a settlement on your behalf.
If it is not in your best interests to settle, your attorney will work to secure medical and disability coverage on an ongoing basis. As your recovery progresses, you will want to stay in contact with your attorney, and you should consult with your attorney promptly if you stop receiving benefits unexpectedly. Unfortunately, this is a common issue, and many construction workers find that they are being pushed to return to work too soon.
Request a Free Consultation with a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Given the challenges involved in protecting your legal rights after a construction site accident, it is strongly in your best interests to get help from an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney. To discuss your situation with an attorney at Malek & Malek Law Firm, call 888-444-7440 or request a free consultation online today.