If you’ve been injured on the job, you probably have lots of questions about filing for workers’ compensation. One of these questions may be, “Is it worth it?”
Is it worth going through the trouble of filing a workers’ compensation claim? Or are you better off accepting what happened and moving on? While dealing with the process can be frustrating, it will be best to hire a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney in most cases.
There are several reasons why.
Why You Should Talk to a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney After Getting Injured on the Job
To understand why it will make sense to file a workers’ compensation claim in most cases, it is first important to understand how workers’ compensation works in Ohio. Here are some key facts about Ohio’s workers’ compensation system:
1. Workers’ Compensation Pays “No-Fault” Benefits to Injured Employees
In Ohio, workers’ compensation benefits are available to eligible employees on a “no-fault” basis. This means that you can file a claim regardless of whether your employer is responsible for your injury—no proof of fault is required. The “no-fault” nature of workers’ compensation is intended to ensure that employees who get injured on the job are able to collect the benefits they need during the recovery process.
At a minimum, these benefits include coverage for the costs of medical treatment. If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you are entitled to medical benefits from the moment you get injured. If you miss work for seven days or more, you may be entitled to disability benefits as well.
2. Most Workers Can File Their Claims with the Ohio BWC
In most states, injured employees need to file their workers’ compensation claims with their employers. Their employers then hand their claims over to their insurance companies. But, in Ohio, this is not the case.
Here, most employees can file their claims with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). The Ohio BWC is a government agency that is responsible for managing the state’s workers’ compensation system. Most employers participate in the Ohio BWC’s state insurance program, and this means that most employees receive their benefits through the BWC.
There are some exceptions. Many large companies, like Amazon, are “self-insured” for workers’ compensation. Additionally, even though you may be dealing with the Ohio BWC instead of your employer’s insurance company, it is still up to you to prove your eligibility. As a result, while it is important that you assert your right to benefits, it is also important that you have an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney on your side.
3. Employers Cannot Retaliate Against Employees Who File for Workers’ Compensation
Another important fact to know about workers’ compensation in Ohio is that the law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who file for benefits. In other words, you cannot legally be fired because you chose to file for workers’ compensation. While many employees wonder, “Is it worth it?” because they are worried about losing their jobs, this isn’t a concern in most cases.
With all of this in mind, when doesn’t it make sense to file a workers’ compensation claim? You may not be eligible for benefits if:
- You are an independent contractor instead of an employee (independent contractors aren’t covered under workers’ compensation in most cases).
- Your injury isn’t job-related (workers’ compensation only covers injuries suffered within the scope of employment).
- It has been more than a year since you got injured (Ohio has a one-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in most cases).
But, even in these situations, an attorney may still be able to help you. For example, if you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may have a personal injury claim. You may also qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) or other government benefits. An experienced attorney will be able to go over all of your options and help you file for any compensation to which you are legally entitled.
What To Expect When You File for Workers’ Compensation in Ohio
Let’s say you’ve been injured on the job, and let’s say you hire a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney to help you. What can you expect once you file your claim?
- Your Attorney Will Deal with the Ohio BWC (or Your Employer) for You – If you need to file your claim with the Ohio BWC, your attorney will take care of the necessary paperwork and deal with the BWC for you. If your employer is self-insured for workers’ compensation, your attorney will deal with your employer’s workers’ compensation department on your behalf.
- Your Attorney Will Calculate the Disability Benefits You Are Entitled to Receive – If you are eligible for disability benefits, it is extremely important to make sure you are seeking the full benefits you deserve. Your attorney can accurately calculate your disability benefits for you.
- Your Attorney Will Help You Decide Whether to Seek a Settlement – In many (but not all) cases, it will make sense for injured employees to seek a workers’ compensation settlement. Your attorney can help you decide whether it makes sense to seek a settlement, and if so, your attorney can negotiate for a fair settlement while you focus on your recovery.
- Your Attorney Will Address Any Issues On Your Behalf – Whether you can file with the Ohio BWC or your employer is self-insured, various issues can arise during the workers’ compensation claims process. Your attorney can address these issues for you while helping you avoid mistakes along the way.
- Your Attorney Will Help With Any Other Claims You May Have – Finally, even if you have a workers’ compensation claim, you may still have a personal injury claim, SSD claim, or one or more other types of claims as well. Your attorney can help with all of your claims to make sure you are seeking the maximum compensation available.
Talk to a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Free
Were you injured on the job in Ohio? If so, we encourage you to contact us for more information. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney at Malek & Malek Law Firm, call 888-444-7440 or tell us how we can reach you online now.