Millions of workers each year sustain serious injuries or illnesses on the job in workplace accidents. In 2018 alone, more than 2.8 million workers sustained workplace injuries or illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fortunately, many injured workers can receive workers’ compensation benefits to help them through this difficult time in their lives. But how does the system work? How are workers’ compensation cases settled? How much can sick or injured workers receive in benefits?
Below, you can find the answer to these questions and many more, courtesy of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at our law firm. We know the answers to these questions because we have handled many complex cases throughout Ohio.
How does workers’ comp work in Ohio?
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage that most employers are required to have in the event of a workplace injury or illness. If someone gets hurt or sick on the job, they are often eligible to receive financial compensation for lost income, medical bills and other expenses thanks to workers’ compensation.
Each state has its own unique workers’ compensation system. That’s why it’s important to talk to someone who understands how the system works in your state. Otherwise, you might not be aware of the unique rules and regulations for your specific state.
What you need to do
In Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) manages the state’s workers’ compensation system. If you get hurt or sick on the job in Ohio, there are several steps you often need to take to apply for benefits:
- Tell your employer you got hurt or sick at work. It’s important that you tell your employer as soon as possible that you sustained an injury or illness on the job. If you do not do this step early on in the process, your workers’ compensation claim may likely be denied.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Your health matters most. This is also an important step since you will likely need proof of your workplace injury or illness.
- Get approved medical care. If your injury is not life threatening, it’s important to make sure the care you receive is approved by your company’s workers’ compensation program. Each company in Ohio often has its own managed care organization (MCO), which coordinates medical care covered by workers’ compensation.
- Filing a claim. In most cases, your employer will file a claim with your MCO, who will then file a claim with the BWC. If you do not want to deal with your company’s MCO, you can file a workers’ compensation claim yourself with the BWC. You will need to submit a First Report of Injury (FROI). The BWC then has 28 days to accept or deny your claim.
- File an appeal. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal your claim. You have 14 days from the date when your claim was denied to file an appeal. If you miss that deadline, you will likely have to start the process over again.
- Negotiate a settlement. Sometimes, companies decide to settle claims with injured or sick workers in the form of a lump sum financial settlement. Depending on the circumstances of your case and your injury, this may be the best approach for your case.
How much can I receive?
Depending on your salary, workers’ compensation benefits are normally 72 percent of your pre-injury salary up to a maximum amount. The maximum amount of money injured workers in Ohio can receive varies. It is often adjusted over time to account for inflation and cost of living increases.
In 2019 in Ohio, the maximum amount injured workers could receive in workers’ compensation benefits was $950 a week. As a result, if you make more than $68,611 a year, you would not receive more than $950 a week, which works out to 72 percent of $68,611.
How long can I receive workers’ comp benefits?
In most cases, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for up to 260 weeks or five years in Ohio. However, in order to obtain benefits, you will need to prove that you are injured and cannot work due to your injury or illness.
This might seem straightforward but the workers’ compensation process can get extremely complicated. That’s why it’s important to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights. Schedule an appointment right away at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A. We can guide you through the process and help you every step of the way. Contact us today. We have four offices in Ohio – Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy.