Do I Have a Workers’ Compensation Case?
Knowing whether you have a valid workers’ compensation case can be confusing. According to the workers’ compensation laws laid out in the Ohio Revised Statute 4123.01, employees are generally entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim when they sustain a work-related injury or illness. It is important to note that Ohio has a “no-fault” rule when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. This means that an individual can generally pursue workers’ comp benefits even if the injuries happened due to their own negligence or carelessness.
However, not all workers are eligible for benefits. If you fall into the following categories, you are generally prevented from pursuing workers’ comp benefits:
- Independent contractors
Eligibility for workers’ comp benefits is not always as straightforward as it seems, however. Since regular employees are typically entitled to certain benefits and protections, it can suit employers to misclassify their employees as independent contractors. If a so-called “independent contractor” works full-time hours like a regular employee, receives an hourly salary rather than a project fee, and works under close supervision and instruction, they may be considered employees under Ohio state law. In this case, as well as in many others, having a workers’ comp attorney by your side can protect your legal rights as well as help you obtain the benefits that you deserve.
What Are Some Common Workers’ Compensation Claims?
There can be a multitude of reasons for workers’ compensation claims, ranging from fatal construction accidents to typical office worker’s injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, a nerve injury in the wrist. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), falls are one of the leading causes of death and injuries in the workplace. Some of the more common accidents seen in workers’ compensation claims can include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Struck by objects
- Caught in-between machinery or equipment
While accidents can lead to a variety of injuries, some of the more common injuries in workers’ compensation claims can include:
- Strains and sprains
- Cuts and punctures
- Head and brain injuries
- Fractures and crushing injuries
- Occupational diseases/cumulative injuries
If you are still dealing with the effects of any injuries, filing your workers’ compensation claim can seem overwhelming and stressful. However, timely action will be important for getting your due. Help is available and you do not have to go through this on your own. Your injury attorney at Schaffer & Associates, LPA can determine whether you have a valid worker’s comp claim and be by your side every step of the way.
When You Might Not Have a Workers’ Compensation Case
While generally all employees who suffer an injury at work or develop a work-related illness, can pursue a workers’ compensation claim, there can be instances where an injured worker does not qualify for workers’ compensation.
Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Ohio Code 4123-14-01 provides that all employers must pay monthly premiums to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) or alternatively comply with self-insurance regulations. While all of Ohio’s businesses with employees are generally required to carry workers’ comp coverage, there are instances where an employer allowed its coverage to lapse or never obtained the required coverage when starting the business. Employees are still entitled to coverage but the BWC will charge the employer directly for all costs of the claim. In these cases, individuals should imminently consult with a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney to assess their legal options as non-complying employers do not have immunity from being sued for negligence in causing the injury.
You Were Commuting to and from Work
Generally, individuals traveling for work are covered by workers’ compensation. This can include getting injured on a business trip, having an accident while working from a home office, or getting into an accident while running work errands. However, an employee traveling between home and work who suffers injuries in an accident will normally not be covered by workers’ comp.
Other Potential Ineligibility
If you got injured at work during an altercation or fight with another employee, or you intentionally hurt yourself, you may not be eligible for workers’ comp. The same applies if your injuries or accident happened due to alcohol intoxication or while being under the influence of illegal drugs. It is also crucial to note that there are general deadlines when it comes to filing workers’ compensation claims. If you file too late, you could be ineligible for receiving benefits.
There can be a variety of gray areas when it comes to workers’ compensation cases. If you have pre-existing conditions, for example, your case can get extremely complicated. While you might still be eligible for workers’ comp benefits if your work injury aggravated your pre-existing condition, you could potentially have your claim denied or minimized. Individuals might also struggle to recover the benefits they deserve when an employer disputes that an injury is work-related. Having an experienced work injury lawyer on your side can be essential, especially if your claim is a little more complex. Your attorney can help you protect your legal rights and fight for fair compensation on your behalf.
Schaffer & Associates Can Help with Your Claim
We understand that having to deal with a stack of forms and seemingly endless bureaucracy when you are still recovering from your injuries can feel exhausting. However, the dedicated and experienced team at Schaffer & Associates, LPA can take the weight off your shoulders and help ensure that your claim is handled efficiently and correctly.
In the first instance, we can offer you a free, no-obligation consultation to determine whether you have a valid workers’ compensation claim. Going forward, we can assist you with recovering the benefits that you and your family deserve. Call us now for a free review of your case at 419-350-8277.