What You Need To Know About Workplace Injuries In Columbus, OH
Did you know that anyone can experience workplace injuries, regardless of occupation or workplace?. In 2021, there were 78,000 work-related injuries reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Ohio alone. Of those, roughly 41,200 required at least one day away from work, job restrictions, or a transfer.
Most people don’t expect to be injured when they go to work. Workplace injuries can happen to anyone, no matter their occupation. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation works to help employees get the help they need so they can return to work.
Employers in Ohio are required to carry Workers’ Compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages for injured employees.
Unlike a personal injury claim, Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system that doesn’t require an employee to prove that they were injured on the job. The injured employee reports the claim to the employer and files a claim with the Ohio BWC online. Their medical bills are covered from there, and they receive part of their regular salary. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Steps to Take After Experiencing Workplace Injuries
After a workplace accident, your priority should be getting immediate medical care for your injuries–the sooner, the better. Some injuries, such as a concussion, aren’t immediately obvious, so seeing a doctor immediately is important. You may prefer to visit your doctor or a nearby urgent care center for less serious injuries.
Were your injuries caused by a hazard or danger that should have been remedied? If you can, get as many pictures as possible of the area where you were injured, or ask a witness to get them for you. If you wait, the hazardous condition may be repaired and no longer visible.
You can see any doctor you like for your first visit; subsequent visits must be with a doctor certified by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Notify the doctor and staff that you’ve experienced a work-related injury. They will need the name of your MCO (managed care organization) to file a claim.
If you delay visiting your doctor or going to the emergency room, your employer may not believe your injuries were serious enough to warrant payment. Your claim could be denied in spite of your injuries.
Once you’ve been issued a treatment plan, follow the doctor’s instructions explicitly. For instance, if you are told to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity, do that. Failing to follow a doctor’s orders can threaten your claim.
After you’ve received medical attention and begun treatment, you’ll need to notify your employer within one year of the date of the injury. (Doctors are required to report the injury within 24 hours.) The sooner you can notify your employer, the better.
While your supervisor may already know about your injury, you should still formally notify management, preferably in writing, as soon as possible. Include as much detail about the accident as you can and details of the injuries you sustained. Fill out all forms and reports they request, and follow their instructions.
File your claim with BWC at www.bwc.ohio.gov, or ensure that your doctor has filed it for you. Reporting your accident is important for both your claim and your employer.
If you are prescribed medications, notify the pharmacist that you’ve experienced a work-related accident and the prescription is for an Ohio workers’ compensation claim. You’ll be asked for your Social Security number, the date of your injury, and your case number (if you have one.) You can still get a 10-day supply of medications before your case number becomes available.
When you’ve received a claim number from the BWC, you’ll need it to access files and speak with BWC or your MCO about your claim. You’ll also need to give this number to all doctors treating your work-related injury.
Your Legal Rights In Ohio
Understanding your legal rights regarding workplace injuries in Ohio is crucial to a successful Workers’ Compensation claim. Your rights as an injured worker include the following:
- Worker’s Compensation for sustaining either a work-related injury or an occupational illness
- Immediate access to a quality BWC-certified healthcare provider of your choice, funded through the Ohio Workers’ Compensation system
- Having your medical bills paid and not being billed anything additional
- Receive benefit payments timely
- Being considered for all benefits and rehabilitation services, you may be eligible for
Additionally, you have the right to:
- Retain an attorney at your own expense
- Represent yourself or be represented by your attorney at hearings and appeals with the BWC, your MCO, or the Ohio Industrial Commission.
- Contest your claim through the court system.
Note that if you accept Worker’s Compensation, you may be unable to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. Speak with our office to learn more.
When To Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer
Because you have the right to retain a lawyer, we’re happy to have a conversation with you and discuss your rights and legal options. For several reasons, we suggest meeting with us right after your accident, including filling out the paperwork correctly.
Scenarios like these mean it may be time for a personal injury attorney:
- Even if you’ve followed your employers instructions and your doctor’s treatment plan, you may find your employer is stalling or even trying to prevent you from getting Workers’ Compensation. Knowing that you aren’t represented, they may deny your claim outright so that you’ll give up trying to file, or force you back to work before you’re ready.
- One tactic companies use to deny claims is to claim that an employee was not in the course of employment at the time of the injury, or involved in “horseplay” on the job. This is intended to deflect attention from any fault they may have, such as a dangerous condition or an OSHA violation.
- Another defense is to claim that you had a pre-existing condition unrelated to the injury in an attempt to reduce the amount of Workers’ Compensation you’re paid.
- If you’ve been told that you will be permanently disabled, the employer may attempt to push you into a quick settlement that won’t cover your medical expenses and other needs. Don’t agree to this scenario–speak with us immediately.
- Your employer and the BWC have legal counsel on their side, working to deny or minimize your claim and end it as quickly as possible. They will not explain your legal rights under Ohio Workers’ Compensation law. Shouldn’t you have an attorney protecting your rights as an injured worker?.
- What if your employer was not at fault for your accident, but a third party was? Instead of Worker’s Compensation, you may be able to recover compensation in a personal injury claim. If a third-party caused your accident, they would not be held responsible under Workers’ Compensation the way an employer would. We can also help with your third-party claim to recover the compensation you need for your recovery.
You have rights as an injured employee, and we can help you get the compensation you need to heal and return to work when you’re ready.
Let Attorney Kevin Kurgis Help With Workplace Injuries in Columbus, Ohio
If your employer is not helping you following a workplace injury or stalling your application for Workers’ Compensation, it’s time to get help. Kurgis & Associates can help you understand your legal rights and options, and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation at (877) 453-8464 or send us a message online.