A Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help After a Work Injury
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of insurance designed to pay benefits to workers who were injured or became ill while performing their job duties. Unlike a personal injury claim, injured Ohio workers can pursue a workers’ compensation claim despite who was at fault for the accident and even if they were injured due to their own negligence. An experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney at Malek Law Firm can review your claim and help you move forward.
Ohio workers’ compensation pays benefits to replace your lost income and cover your medical expenses caused by your injury or illness. These benefits can be a lifesaver for injured workers who are unable to work (or work in a restricted capacity) and need medical treatment.
Under the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Act, most employers in the state of Ohio are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance to cover benefits to injured workers. While there are exceptions, the majority of businesses – even those with just one employee – may be required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. As a result, if you have been injured while on the job, you may be entitled to benefits.
What are the Workers’ Comp Laws in Ohio?
When you hire an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney to represent you, your attorney will help you protect your rights under Ohio law. The workers’ comp laws in Ohio include:
- The Right to “No Fault” Workers’ Compensation Benefits – In Ohio, workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. This means that you can file a claim without proof that your employer is responsible for your job-related illness or injury.
- The Right to Choose Your Own Doctor – Under Ohio law, you have the right to choose your own doctor when you have a workers’ compensation claim. Even if your employer tries to get you to see an “approved” or “preferred” healthcare provider, you should still see a doctor of your own choosing.
- The Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation Claims – Ohio has a one-year statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims. This means that generally speaking, you must file your claim within a year of suffering your job-related illness or injury. But, calculating the deadline can be confusing in some cases, so it is best to speak with a Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
- The Requirement to File with the Ohio BWC (In Most Cases) – Under Ohio law, most employees must file their workers’ compensation claims with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). This is different from other states, where filing for workers’ comp typically means dealing with your employer’s insurance company. However, some large companies self-insure for workers’ comp claims in Ohio, and if you work for one of these companies, you will need to deal with your employer directly.
- The Right to Coverage for Your Medical Expenses and Lost Wages – If you have a workers’ compensation claim, you are entitled to coverage for your medical expenses immediately, and you are entitled to coverage for your lost wages if you miss enough time from work. To determine the specific benefits you are entitled to receive, you will need to work closely with an experienced Columbus workers’ compensation attorney.
Can You Be Terminated While on Workers’ Comp in Ohio?
Many employees in Ohio have concerns about losing their jobs if they file for workers’ compensation. Technically, you can be terminated while on workers’ comp in Ohio. If your employer would have terminated your position regardless of your job-related injury or illness (or your workers’ compensation claim), then your employer can fire you without violating your legal rights.
However, your employer cannot terminate you because you chose to file for benefits. It is your right to file for workers’ compensation after suffering a job-related illness or injury in Ohio, and you cannot be fired for exercising this right.
How Long Does an Employer Have to Hold a Job for Someone On Workers’ Compensation in Ohio?
Since your employer can terminate your position at any time for reasons unrelated to your workers’ compensation claim, your employer does not have to hold your job for any length of time. But, again, your employer cannot legally fire you based on your decision to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Are You Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you and your Columbus workers’ compensation attorney need to be able to prove the following elements:
- You are an employee;
- You were injured in an accident or became ill; AND
- Your illness or accident occurred in the course of your employment.
The challenge for most claimants is the second element. For example, you would not be entitled to workers’ compensation if you were injured while cleaning the gutters in your home. However, you would be entitled to workers’ compensation if you were unable to work due to injury or illness you suffered as a result of your job. The following injuries or illnesses may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Any kind of physical injury that is not idiopathic in nature. (An idiopathic injury would be where you faint or pass out due to high blood pressure. The high blood pressure has no relation to your work activity.)
- Lifting injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Injuries caused by working with heavy equipment or machinery
- Car accidents
- Illness or disease contracted as a result of handling or exposure to hazardous materials
- Repetitive motion/repetitive use injuries (RMI/RUI) such as carpal tunnel syndrome
It is important to note that there are some exceptions. For example, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you were engaged in illegal activities or were injured due to fighting with another employee.
Why You Need a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney
You are not required to be represented by a workers’ compensation lawyer to file a claim, but it is highly recommended as working with a lawyer makes the process easier for you and increases the likelihood of your claim being approved. Malek Law Firm can help by:
- Collecting the documentation you need to prove your claim
- Preparing and filing the necessary paperwork for you to receive compensation or medical treatment
- Speaking on your behalf with your employer, your medical providers, or any other related parties
- Representing you at Industrial Commission hearings
- Appealing your claim to court if it is denied
Malek Law Firm has been representing injured workers in Columbus and throughout the state of Ohio since 1972. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation and medical benefits for our clients. We are the go-to Columbus workers’ compensation attorney for thousands of folks.
We manage every aspect of your claim for your work injury. Hire us and we will take care of all the tasks related to your Ohio workers’ comp claim. If the workers’ compensation system is a sponge, we will squeeze that sponge to maximize all the compensation and medical benefits you are entitled to.
As your Ohio workman’s comp lawyer, we will walk with you every step of the way. We will represent you at hearings. We will represent you at jury trials. We will communicate with your medical providers, managed care organizations, your claim rep, your employer’s attorney, and whomever else we need to manage your claim.
Bottom line, Malek Law Firm is a family-run firm, so we understand how devastating a work injury can be not only for you but also your family. We truly care and wish the best for our clients.
Receiving Payment for Lost Wages After an On-the-Job Injury
Workers’ compensation is a compromise between injured workers and employers; the workers comp system removes the employee’s requirement to prove negligence on the part of the employer, and shields the employer from massive lawsuit payouts through personal injury lawsuits. On the one hand proving negligence on the part of the employer or overcoming a claim of contributory negligence would be a high burden for most claimants to overcome. On the other hand if an employee was seriously injured and the employer was at fault, the economic, non-economic, and punitive damages could bankrupt an employer.
Workers’ compensation is intended to supplement some of your lost income caused by a work-related injury or illness. It will not cover all of your lost wages, but it will help you pay medical bills related to your allowed work injury and keep you and your family above water, rather than face financial ruin as a result of being unable to work.
As a general rule, workers’ compensation will pay two-thirds (66%) of your lost weekly wages up to the maximum statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) for the year of the date of injury. If you are able to work on a part-time basis or at a different job that pays lower wages, your lost wages benefit would be calculated based on the difference between your current income and your pre-injury/illness income.
There are two types of lost wages benefits available in Ohio:
- Working wage loss benefits are paid when you return to work but earn less income due to your injury or illness. These benefits are available for up to 200 weeks.
- Non-working wage loss benefits are paid when you are released to return to work with restrictions but cannot find employment. To qualify for these benefits, you will need to demonstrate that you are making a good faith effort to secure employment. These benefits are available for up to 52 weeks, but receiving benefits past 26 weeks can affect your working wage loss benefits.
While the basic idea behind lost wage benefits is simple, the details can quickly become complicated in how they apply to your case. A Columbus workman compensation attorney at Malek Law Firm can help you figure out what benefits you are entitled to after an injury or illness.
Medical Benefits Explained by a Columbus Work Compensation Attorney
One of the principal benefits of workers’ compensation is coverage of your medical expenses. Workers’ compensation will pay for any reasonable and necessary treatment related to your injury or illness. These benefits can be critical when you have no health insurance coverage or you have a high-deductible plan. Oftentimes medical providers will not cover medical treatment for a work injury through your personal insurance. You’ll need to pursue the treatment through your worker’s comp claim before the medical provider will provide the treatment through your personal insurance.
Generally speaking, workers’ compensation should pay all medical expenses related to a work-related injury or illness, but they must be deemed “reasonable and necessary” by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). The caveat is that the treatment must be directed at the allowed conditions in a claim.
If you imagine a house as a workers comp claim, when you get injured the door to the office is locked. Once the claim is allowed you are allowed to go into the first floor of the house. Each on the first floor represents different treatments for the conditions allowed in the claim. For a soft tissue condition, this might be physical therapy, diagnostics, and a surgical consult. You’re not allowed to go up to the rooms on the second floor where treatment like injections, surgery, and pain management exist until more significant conditions are added to your claim like herniated discs and torn rotator cuffs.
If you are having trouble getting your medical expenses approved, you should speak with a Columbus work compensation attorney right away because the process can be quite complicated and frustrating for those inexperienced in that matter.
About Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits
Disability is one of the core benefits provided by workers’ compensation. There are four different types of disability benefits that workers’ compensation may provide for workers who have suffered an illness or injury at work:
- Temporary total disability (TTD) are benefits paid when you have suffered a work-related illness or injury and are unable to return to work at all. They are temporary benefits because you are expected to recover or your future has not yet been determined.
- Working Wage Loss are benefits paid when you have suffered a work-related injury or illness but are able to return to work in some capacity, either at another job or on a part-time basis.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD or C92 Award) is an award of compensation analogous to a pain-and-suffering award for your allowed conditions which you can apply for 26 weeks after the date of injury or 26 weeks after the last receipt of compensation, whichever is later.
- Permanent Total Disability (PTD) is the type of benefit paid when you are unable to return to gainful remunerative employment and have been deemed permanently and totally disabled by the Industrial Commission.
Determining which benefits you qualify for isn’t easy. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will determine fairly early on whether you qualify for temporary benefits, but determinations regarding permanent benefits happen much later in the process. A Columbus work compensation attorney can help you navigate the process to ensure you get all of the benefits you qualify for.
Frequently Asked Questions Answered by a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The workers’ compensation claim process can be complicated to navigate, especially when you’re injured and trying to focus on your recovery. Here are some of the questions we typically receive from clients:
Who Files My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A workers’ compensation claim is typically filed by the injured employee. However, other parties may file your claim on your behalf:
- Your physician
- Your employer
- Your Columbus workers’ compensation attorney or otherwise authorized representative
- Your spouse
How Do I File My Own Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The first step is to file a First Report of Injury, Occupational Disease, or Death (FROI) with the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC). The FROI can be filed online or via mail or fax. You can also call the BWC and a customer service representative will take your information to complete the form.
Once your claim has been filed, you will receive a letter in the mail confirming receipt of your claim and a BWC ID card.
How Long Do I Have to File My Workers’ Compensation Claim in Ohio?
The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can begin receiving your benefits. However, you have up to one year to file your claim from the date of injury. In the event of death, your spouse or other claimant must also comply with this deadline. If you do not file your claim within one year, you will lose all of your rights to compensation.
Please note, however, that this deadline is more complicated in the event that you are an emergency worker or you are suffering from an occupational disease. If either of these categories applies to you, we recommend you discuss your case with a Columbus workman’s comp attorney as soon as possible.
Why Should I Hire a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
While the process may sound straightforward, not every claim is approved. A Columbus workers’ compensation lawyer can help in the following situations:
- Your employer disputes that you were injured on the job.
- You cannot get the medical treatment you need.
- You have been denied benefits.
- You are unable to work.
- Your claim or your benefits appear to be in limbo.
Many people hire a workers’ compensation lawyer simply because they are overwhelmed by the claim process during this difficult time in their lives. An experienced attorney can handle the entire process start to finish on your behalf so that you can focus on getting better.
What If I Can’t Afford to Hire a Work Compensation Attorney?
Good news! You don’t pay a Malek Law Firm lawyer an hourly fee to represent you for your work injury. We are paid on a contingency fee basis. It doesn’t matter whether we work 10 hours on your claim or 100’s of hours. You only pay us a percentage of money that we obtain on your behalf.
Contact a Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney at Malek Law Firm
We understand the challenges you face when you are unable to work—you need medical treatment and you have to support your family. Fortunately, you don’t have to face this situation alone. If you are unable to work due to an injury or illness suffered on the job, a workers’ compensation lawyer at Malek Law Firm can help you get the benefits you deserve. We work through the tough cases and get results so that you can move forward. If you’d like to speak with a Columbus workers’ compensation attorney who will fight for your benefits, call us at 888-444-7440 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation today.