Essential Information on Qualifying for Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: August 28th, 2018 |

Following are nine things that everyone who works in Ohio should know about qualifying to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

We cannot cover every fact about the program in a single blog post, however. We also leave out almost all the details about completing and filing applications.

If you have specific questions about your own situation or need help with a case, contact the Jones Law Group to schedule a free consultation with a workers’ comp lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. You can reach us by calling (614) 545-9998 or by completing this online form and sharing some of your story.

Workers’ comp is not just for injuries.

Any injury or illness that results from work-related activities can potentially qualify a person for workers’ compensation. This includes occupational diseases that do not cause symptoms and disability until after a person leaves a job. For instance, working with chemicals that cause cancer years or decades later can qualify a person for worker’s comp benefits as long as proof exists that on-the-job exposures contributed to the development of the cancer.

You must apply quickly.

Except in very rare circumstance, a person must apply for workers’ comp benefits within one year of when an injury occurred, an illness developed, or a definitive diagnosis of an occupational disease was made. Consulting with a knowledgeable Columbus, Ohio, workers’ comp lawyer will help you understand when the clock on this extremely tight statute of limitations started ticking.

An injury or illness must happen while you are working.

To qualify for coverage under workers’ compensation, an injury or illness

  • Must happen or develop while the applicant is engaged in work-related activity.
  • Cannot happen or develop while the applicant is drunk, stoned, or engaged in illegal activity.
  • Must produce a disability or disfigurement.

Many things satisfy the definition of “work-related activity.” For instance, driving a company vehicle or traveling to a meeting fall under work-related activities. On the other hand, commuting from one’s home to the office does not count.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the work-related activity must be part of the worker’s comp applicant’s regular job, being done according to the policies and procedures of the employer and be carried out with authorization from the employer.

You should file a report with your employer.

Filing an accident or incident report after an on-the-job injury or occupational disease diagnosis is not required by law but doing so establishes an official record and opens an investigation. Building a paper trail can help greatly with preparing and succeeding with a workers’ compensation application.

You must seek medical care.

The Ohio Workers’ Compensation office will demand medical evidence for the injury or illness that the applicant claims. Actual hospital records, doctors’ notes, prescriptions, and physical therapy plans provide excellent evidence to support an application for workers’ comp benefits.

The injury or illness must keep you out of work for a significant period.

Workers’ comp benefits will not be awarded to a person who needs just two days to recover and return to the job. An absence of a month to half a year is generally required to get approved for workers’ compensation. Disabling conditions that last for more than a year should prompt an application for permanent disability benefits through Social Security or a pension plan like the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

An exception to this rule is an accident that results in amputation, loss of vision, loss of hearing, or permanent scarring. The injury itself might not keep a person out of work for long, but the injury does qualify the victim to file for workers’ comp benefits.

Family members can receive workers’ comp benefits after a worker gets killed on the job.

While workplace accidents usually do not give Ohio residents grounds for filing wrongful death lawsuits against employers, the survivors of employees who lose their lives in work-related incident can apply to the workers’ compensation program for death benefits.

Denials of claims can be appealed several times.

Applicants who do not get approved to receive benefits can go through three rounds of appeals with the workers’ comp program. Should all appeals prove unsuccessful, an applicant can hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit.

Applicants have an undeniable right to seek advice and representation from a Columbus, Ohio, workers’ compensation lawyer.

An injured or ill worker, as well as family members who lost a loved one in an on-the-job accident, can contact an attorney before filing any paperwork with the workers’ comp program. A caring and dedicated lawyer can help gather and organize medical evidence, conduct an investigation into the cause of the incident, assist with preparing the application, and pursue appeals on his or her client’s behalf.

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