Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Workers’ Compensation in Ohio?
You got injured or sick on the job. Do you need to hire a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer? Technically, the answer is “No”. You are not legally required to hire a lawyer, and you can file a workers’ compensation claim on your own if you choose to do so.
But, just because you can file your own workers’ compensation claim, this doesn’t mean that you should seek benefits without legal help. A Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer can help you in many different ways, and it is strongly in your best interests to have experienced legal representation when dealing with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
10 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your Ohio Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you need to file for workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio, hiring an experienced lawyer significantly improves your chances of collecting full benefits without the need to file an appeal. Here are 10 specific ways a lawyer can help with your Ohio workers’ compensation claim:
1. Determining Whether You are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation
Before you start the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits, you first need to determine whether you are eligible to file. While most employees are eligible for benefits in Ohio, some are not.
If you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you will need a lawyer to advise you regarding the other options you have available. Additionally, while you need to report your injury or illness to your employer in order to file for benefits, if you have a claim outside of workers’ compensation, you might not necessarily want to notify your employer.
2. Making Sure You Report Your Injury or Illness on Time
As we just mentioned, one of the first steps for seeking workers’ compensation is to report your injury or illness to your employer. Under Ohio law, you only have a limited amount of time to do so. If you wait too long to report your medical condition, this could result in the loss of your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. A lawyer can advise you regarding how much time you have left and can help you report your injury or illness immediately if necessary.
3. Making Sure You Receive Appropriate Medical Care
Ohio law also requires employees to see certified medical providers when filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Some certified providers are better than others; and, if your provider is not providing adequate care, you are entitled to the treatment you need to recover to the fullest extent possible. A Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer can explain where you need to go for treatment and help make sure you receive appropriate medical care.
4. Making Sure You File Your Claim Correctly
Once you report your injury or illness to your employer and see a certified medical provider, you then need to file your claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). This means fully and accurately completing the First Report of an Injury, Occupational Disease or Death (FROI) form. While this form requires some basic information that you can fill in on your own, it also asks some difficult questions that you will want to discuss with an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer.
5. Seeking All Available Types of Benefits
There are various types of workers’ compensation benefits that are available to eligible employees in Ohio. When you file your claim, you need to make sure you request all of the benefits to which you are legally entitled. Depending on your personal circumstances, these may include:
- Medical benefits
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Permanent partial or total disability benefits
- Scheduled or percentage losses for loss of function or permanent disfigurement
- Facial disfigurement benefits
6. Accurately Calculating Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In addition to seeking all of the types of benefits to which you are legally entitled, you also need to make sure you are seeking the maximum benefits available in each category. If you don’t know how to calculate your benefits, you won’t know if you are receiving the full benefits you deserve. An experienced Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer can make sure you are seeking the maximum benefits available.
7. Avoiding Costly Mistakes
When you have a workers’ compensation claim, mistakes can be incredibly costly. In fact, some mistakes can cause you to lose your claim entirely. When you hire a lawyer, your lawyer can help you avoid these mistakes, and your lawyer can handle most aspects of your claim on your behalf.
8. Avoiding Unnecessary Delays and Denials
Even though workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system in Ohio, employers regularly dispute their employees’ claims for benefits, and the Ohio BWC will deny claims for a variety of different reasons. A lawyer can help you avoid unnecessary issues when dealing with your employer and the Ohio BWC.
9. Negotiating for a Lump-Sum Settlement
Many employees prefer to receive a settlement rather than receive benefit payments on an ongoing basis. If you are interested in pursuing a settlement, this is something that you will want to discuss with a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer. Your lawyer can help make sure this is your best option; and, if it is, your lawyer can negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
10. Taking Legal Action if Necessary
Sometimes, injured and sick workers need to take legal action in order to collect the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. If the Ohio BWC denies your claim, you will want to work with an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer during the appeals process. Also, keep in mind that you could have a claim outside of workers’ compensation; and, if you do, you will need a lawyer to handle this claim as well.
Talk to a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Free
If you would like to know more about the benefits of hiring a lawyer to handle your Ohio workers’ compensation claim, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Malek & Malek Law Firm. To speak with one of our experienced Columbus workers’ compensation lawyers in confidence, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can contact you online today.