What is the Ohio BWC?
The Ohio BWC is the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. While the federal government does offer its own workers’ compensation insurance for federal employees, each individual state has its own workers’ compensation program. The Ohio BWC provides medical compensation and lost wages for work-related injuries. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) was founded in 1912, and today is one of the largest state-operated workers’ compensation providers in the United States.
With a central office in Columbus, and 16 customer service offices located across the state, the BWC has more than $28 billion in assets. About two-thirds of Ohio’s workforce is covered by the BWC, while the remaining workers receive coverage directly through their employers. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is the “insurance part” of Ohio’s workers’ compensation program, while the Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC) provides the claims part of workers’ compensation.
Those who want to contest an Ohio workers’ comp claims decision would go through the IC. A knowledgeable Toledo, Ohio workers’ compensation attorney from Schaffer & Associates can help ensure your claim is approved.
What Does the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Do?
Injured workers and employers are able to cope with workplace injury thanks to OH BWC. The BWC pays medical benefits and lost wages to those who are injured in a work-related accident, as well as those who contract an occupational disease while on the job. If death results from an Ohio accident, survivors of the worker are entitled to death benefits throw BWC.
Under Ohio law, employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation for all their employers and must either be state-funded or self-insuring. State-fund employers—other than state agencies—are private and public employers. These state-fund employers pay insurance premiums to the BWC.
Self-insuring employers (those with 50 or more employees who request to be self-insured) do not pay an insurance premium to BWC, rather take their own financial risk to pay employee claims resulting from work-related injuries. If a self-insured employer refuses to pay benefits, the IC has the power to decide the issue and require the employer to pay benefits. All employers with one or more employees must have workers’ compensation coverage and must regularly update their policy information.
How Do I File a Claim with the BWC?
If you are injured while on the job in the state of Ohio, you should report your injury or illness as quickly as possible through the BWC. You must complete a First Report of an Injury, Occupational Disease or Death (FROI) form, usually obtained from your employer, although you can also complete the form online or download a copy.
If you need assistance completing the FROI form, your treating physician can help you. It is essential that you meet all the deadlines associated with a BWC claim. You must file within:
- One year of when your workplace injury occurred or an occupational disease left you unable to work, or
- Six months from the date your doctor diagnosed you with a work-related condition.
You should receive a decision from the BWC within 28 days of when you submitted your FROI form.
What Benefits Can I Expect from an Ohio BWC Claim?
Of course, the benefits you may expect from your BWC claim will depend on your exact work-related injuries. You should receive all necessary medical treatments related to your workplace industrial injury or illness. This includes visits to your doctor, surgery, physical therapy, prescriptions, and more. New or experimental treatments are rarely covered under workers’ compensation.
You are allowed to see any doctor that has approval from the BWC; your current primary care physician could be certified by the BWC, or, if not, can provide you with a list of doctors in your area who are. Be sure to let every doctor you see know you are receiving treatment as a result of a BWC claim.
You may also receive BWC benefits for a temporary disability (if you are unable to work for seven or more days due to your work-related injury or illness). Temporary disability provides 72 percent of your weekly wage for the first 12 weeks, and two-thirds of your average weekly wage after that.
If your workplace accident or illness leaves you permanently disabled, you could receive compensation for residual damage based on a “rating” system. Permanent partial disability benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are deemed to be permanently and totally disabled, you may receive payments for the remainder of your life, calculated on your wages at the time of your injury or illness.
What Is the Difference Between Lost Wages and Medical Payments?
If your workers’ compensation claim is approved by the BWC, then all treating physicians will submit their bills to the MCO (Managed Care Organization) who will review and forward them to the BWC. The BWC pays the MCO who disburses the payments to providers. These medical payments should cover all medical treatments related to your workplace injury. The lost wages portion of BWC will pay you a portion of your lost wages—usually about two-thirds—depending on how disabled you are.
What Are Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Death Benefits?
The surviving dependents of a worker killed on the job are entitled to BWC death benefits, paid every two weeks. The death benefits are equal to about 2/3rds of the wages or salary of the deceased, subject to a minimum and maximum weekly amount. These death benefits are allocated by the BWC among eligible dependents. Spouses, children, or elderly live-in relatives typically receive priority for these death benefits.
How Can a Toledo Law Firm Help with My BWC Claim?
An Ohio BWC attorney from Schaffer & Associates LPA can be of significant help during this difficult time. Under certain circumstances—if your injuries are not clearly work-related, if you will be off work for a very long time, if you expect to be permanently disabled, or if you will require extensive medical treatment—it is even more imperative that you speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from Schaffer & Associates LPA. We will be the strong advocate in your corner that you need. Contact Schaffer & Associates LPA today!