How Much Does it Cost to File for Workers’ Compensation in Ohio?
If you’ve been injured on the job in Ohio, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Most workers in Ohio are covered under workers’ compensation, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) provides coverage for all eligible employees (unless their employers opt to self-insure).
As an injured worker, you may have lots of questions and concerns about filing for workers’ compensation. For example, you may have questions about how to file, and you may be concerned about the costs involved. Fortunately, filing for workers’ compensation costs nothing out of pocket—and this is true even if you hire an attorney to represent you.
Understanding the Workers’ Compensation Process (and the Costs Involved) in Ohio
When you have a workers’ compensation claim (or when you think you may have a workers’ compensation claim), it is important to make sure you are relying on accurate information. You need to make informed decisions, and you need to avoid making assumptions that could stand in the way of recovering the benefits you deserve. With this in mind, here is an overview of the workers’ compensation process (and the costs involved) in Ohio:
1. Filing a Claim with the Ohio BWC
After suffering a job-related injury or illness, you should file a report with your employer as soon as possible. This is a relatively informal process (and very informal in some cases), but it is a key step for protecting your legal rights.
Once you report your injury or illness to your employer, your next step is to file a claim with the Ohio BWC. Unlike most states, Ohio has a state-run workers’ compensation insurance system, which means that the Ohio BWC handles all claims except for those filed directly with self-insured employers.
It costs nothing to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Ohio BWC (or with your self-insured employer). There is no filing fee, and there are no other costs involved. Workers’ compensation is a benefit system that is in place to help injured and sick workers, and you do not have to pay anything to assert your legal rights.
2. Obtaining Medical Treatment for Your Job-Related Injury or Illness
In addition to reporting your injury and filing your claim, you should also obtain medical treatment as soon as possible. Under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, you have the right to choose your medical provider—this isn’t the case in all states. However, when choosing a doctor, it is important to make sure that your doctor accepts workers’ compensation coverage.
As long as your doctor accepts workers’ compensation coverage (and you qualify for benefits), you shouldn’t have to pay anything for your diagnosis or treatment. Instead, the Ohio BWC (or your self-insured employer) should pay your medical provider directly. These are the “medical benefits” that are available through workers’ compensation. As long as you qualify for benefits, you are entitled to have your medical care fully covered, and you should not have to pay any deductibles, copays or other out-of-pocket costs for your job-related injury or illness.
3. Hiring an Attorney to Handle Your Claim (and Perhaps Negotiate a Settlement)
Even if you are clearly entitled to benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation law, obtaining the benefits you deserve can be difficult. As a result, it is best to have an experienced attorney on your side.
You can also hire an attorney to represent you at no out-of-pocket cost. Most workers’ compensation law firms in Ohio (including ours) represent injured and sick workers on a contingency-fee-basis. With contingency-fee representation:
- Your Initial Consultation is Free – You can get started with a free initial consultation. This initial consultation is confidential and risk-free, and you are not obligated to hire the attorney to represent you if you feel uncomfortable for any reason.
- You Do Not Pay a Retainer – You do not have to pay a retainer when you hire a lawyer to handle your workers’ compensation claim on contingency. As we said above, you do not have to pay anything out of pocket for your legal representation.
- You Do Not Pay Monthly Legal Bills – With contingency-fee representation, there are no monthly legal bills. Your legal fees (if any) are calculated at the end of your workers’ compensation claim.
- You Do Not Pay for Help Securing Medical Benefits – Since your medical benefits get paid directly to your provider, no attorneys’ fees are deducted from these payments.
- Your Legal Fees (if Any) are Calculated as a Percentage of the Disability Benefits Your Attorney Helps You Recover – If your attorney helps you obtain disability benefits (including negotiating a settlement on your behalf), your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of the amount your attorney helps you recover. These fees are capped under Ohio law.
4. Dealing with Issues, Delays and Denials
As you go through the workers’ compensation claim process, you may encounter various issues, and you may experience unexpected delays. You may even find that your claim is denied even though you are entitled to benefits under the law. Your attorney will deal with any issues, delays and denials for you—all of this is covered under your contingency fee arrangement.
5. Filing an Appeal if Necessary
If your workers’ compensation claim gets denied, the next step in the process may be to file an appeal. While appeals aren’t too common, there are no guarantees when it comes to collecting the benefits you deserve. If you need to file an appeal, your attorney will handle this under your contingency-fee arrangement as well, and your legal fees (if any) will still be calculated as a percentage of the amount your attorney helps you recover.
Get a Free Consultation About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Ohio
If you would like to know more about the process of filing for workers’ compensation in Ohio, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a free initial consultation at Malek & Malek Law Firm, please call 888-444-7440 or request an appointment online today.