More Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Workers’ Comp in Ohio
When you get injured on the job in Ohio, you need to be careful to protect your legal rights. Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is unique, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up without the benefits you deserve.
A couple of years ago, we published an article that covers five mistakes to avoid when filing for workers’ compensation in Ohio. Here are some more tips for protecting your legal rights after suffering a job-related injury:
What Not to Do When You Have a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Ohio
1. Do Not Wait to Report Your Injury
In our previous article, we noted that you need to report your injury to your employer to protect your right to benefits. We also noted that while you have up to one year to file a report (or two years for an occupational disease), delays can be costly.
This latter point is critical. When you get injured on the job, any delay in reporting your injury can make it more difficult to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Even a delay of a couple of days can lead to problems when it comes to proving how and when you got injured. As a result, if you think you may have a workers’ compensation claim, you should not wait to file a report but instead, notify your employer of your injury immediately.
2. Do Not Assume Your Employer Will File a First Report of Injury (FROI)
Once you notify your employer of your injury, your employer should generally complete a First Report of Injury (FROI) or provide this form to you. Unless your employer is self-insured, it should then file the completed FROI form with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
But, while this is what should happen, you should not assume that your claim is being handled appropriately. You should follow up with your employer to make sure your FROI has been filed, and if you cannot confirm that it has been filed, you should check with the Ohio BWC. If the Ohio BWC doesn’t receive your completed FROI on time, this could also jeopardize your claim for benefits.
3. Do Not Continue to See Your Primary Care Physician After Your First Visit
In Ohio, you have the right to see your primary care physician (or any other doctor of your choosing) for your first visit following a job-related injury. But, after your first visit, you must see a BWC-certified provider in order to remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If you continue to see your primary care physician, “you will be responsible for all medical costs related to your workplace injury.” While your health insurance might kick in after your deductible and copays, you could also run into issues with your insurance company if it determines that workers’ comp should be paying for your treatment.
4. Do Not Assume You Will Receive the Full Benefits to Which You are Entitled
While the Ohio BWC (or your self-insured employer) should pay the full benefits to which you are entitled, you should not assume that you are being appropriately compensated for your injury. Instead, you should make sure you have a clear understanding of the benefits you are entitled to receive, and you should keep track to make sure you are receiving them.
At a minimum, if you are eligible for workers’ compensation, you should receive medical benefits that cover the costs of your treatment. But, if you miss time from work, you may be entitled to disability (partial wage replacement) benefits as well. These benefits are calculated based on your income and the number of days you miss from work—and it is not uncommon for them to end prematurely.
5. Do Not Ignore Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Given the various issues that can arise, it is important not to ignore your workers’ compensation claim. To protect your legal rights, you need to be proactive about dealing with your employer and the Ohio BWC. Follow up regularly, make sure you know how much you are entitled to receive, and do not give in if you struggle to obtain coverage for your job-related injury.
6. Do Not Ignore the Possibility of Filing a Claim Outside of Workers’ Comp
Filing for workers’ comp is a way to obtain financial compensation when you suffer a job-related injury. But, it is not the only way to obtain financial compensation in many cases. Oftentimes, injured workers will have claims outside of workers’ comp, and filing these claims can significantly increase the amount that these workers are able to recover.
As a general rule, employees cannot sue their employers when they get injured on the job—as long as their employers comply with Ohio’s workers’ compensation law. But, employees can sue other companies such as property owners, tool and equipment manufacturers, and auto insurance companies (among others).
7. Do Not Try to Handle Your Situation on Your Own
To give yourself the best chance of obtaining the financial compensation you deserve, you should not try to handle your situation on your own. It is too complicated, and there is too much that can go wrong. Instead, you should hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you.
When you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, your lawyer will help with all aspects of your claim. This includes everything from making sure your FROI gets filed to making sure you receive the maximum benefits available to you. Your lawyer can determine if you have a claim outside of workers’ comp as well, and if you do, your lawyer can use this to seek additional compensation for your lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other injury-related losses.
Speak with a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Columbus for Free
Were you injured on the job in Ohio? If so, we encourage you to contact us for more information about how to protect your legal rights. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call 888-444-7440 or request an appointment online today.