Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits Lawyers
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC or BWC) provides medical expenses and wage compensation benefits for workers who were injured on the job, have a work-related disease, or died in a work accident or from a work-related disease. The BWC was founded in 1912 and has assets under management of about $28 billion. The Ohio BWC is the largest state-operated provider of workers’ compensation insurance in the United States. The lawyers at Schaffer & Associates, LPA, in Toledo, OH are experienced in helping injured workers in need of medical treatment and lost wages to navigate the too-often difficult BWC claims process.
Ohio BWC underwrites insurance coverage for work-related injuries and illnesses, both for public employers and private sector employers. The BWC helps those injured on the job to cope with those injuries by paying medical benefits and lost wages through its management of all medical and lost-time work accident claims. Some very large Ohio employers are self-insured meaning that they pay benefits directly to injured workers and medical providers. However, they are bound by Ohio laws regarding injuries and do not make the final decision in claims. Rather, the Industrial Commission of Ohio makes final decisions in contest self-insured claims as well as in issues appealed from BWC decisions.
Eligibility for Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you have been injured in a work-related accident in Ohio, you will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits through the BWC or the self-insured employer. Many workers fail to receive these important benefits because they may not entirely understand the process. The claim process can seem overwhelming, or an error could be made in the application process that results in an unfair denial of benefits.
Before the BWC, injured workers were forced to sue their employers for a workplace accident; however, employers typically had lawyers on staff and many defenses that left injured employees empty-handed. On the flip side, if an injured worker did prevail in court, the company could be bankrupted. Ohio’s workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning an injured worker does not have to show who caused the accident.
Virtually any injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation if they are hurt on the job. Yet, while the laws seem relatively straightforward, it can be complicated once specifics are applied. There are instances when an employer is determined not to pay benefits and will dispute a claim. There are also times when the benefits awarded do not cover the medical expenses and lost wages. In either of these cases, having an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney from Schaffer & Associates on your side can truly make a difference.
What Are the General Workers’ Comp Benefits You Could Be Entitled to Receive?
If you have been injured on the job or have a work-related illness in the state of Ohio, you may be wondering what benefits you are entitled to receive through the BWC. Before you can receive any workers’ comp benefits, you will be required to report your work injury to your employer, then see a doctor about your injury or illness. Your doctor or employer should file a report with the Ohio BWC.
If you are unable to return to work at all as a result of your work-related injury or illness, you are entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits, although you will not receive benefits for the first week unless you are unable to return to work for at least two weeks in a row. The dollar amount of your benefits will be based on an average of your earnings before the time you were injured or became ill with a work-related disease.
For the first twelve weeks of work-related disability, your benefits will equal 72 percent of your pre-injury wages; then after 12 weeks, the benefits will drop a bit to two-thirds of your pre-injury wages. The maximum weekly benefit in 2020 is $980. You can continue to receive these wage benefits until a) you can return to work at your former job, b) you are offered another available position with your employer that is within your restrictions, or c) when your doctor says you have improved as much as possible.
While you are receiving temporary total disability benefits you may be required to undergo a medical exam to determine whether you have permanent limitations resulting from your injury or illness.
If you have a) completely lost the use of both hands, legs, feet, arms, eyes, or any combination of two of these body parts, or b) you are unable to hold long-term gainful employment using skills you already have or could reasonably develop, you are entitled to keep receiving weekly payments for the remainder of your life.
You may also be eligible for the following BWC benefits:
- Expenses related to any reasonable, necessary medical treatments related to your injury or illness
- Reimbursement for travel expenses required to obtain authorized medical treatments that are not available locally
- Vocational rehabilitation services that would help you keep your old job or find new employment
- Living maintenance benefits while you are enrolled in an approved vocational rehab plan
- Survivor benefits—when a work injury or illness results in an employee’s death, the employee’s surviving dependents may be entitled to death benefits.
- Funeral expenses up to $7,500 for a deceased worker
What Are Common Mistakes Made in Applying for Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
You, like many Ohio workers, may not be familiar with the workers’ compensation system. Despite your best efforts, you could make a mistake that adversely affects your claim. Some of the most common mistakes include:
- Failing to report your injury within a year from the time the injury occurs—Even though you have a year to report your work-related injury or illness, it is almost always better to do it immediately.
- Failing to seek medical care for your work–related injury or illness or failing to follow your doctor’s orders—Either of these could completely derail your workers’ compensation claim.
- Speaking to a Third–Party Administrator without discussing it with your attorney. Accepting a workers’ comp settlement before letting your attorney review the documents.
- Failing to hire an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney.
Getting the Help You Need from Schaffer & Associates Toledo Team
The attorneys at Schaffer & Associates, LPA, have many years of experience assisting Ohio workers injured on the job or have developed a work-related illness. We will ensure you get the medical treatment you need for your health and your future, as well as wage replacement compensation to lessen your financial strain. If you suffered a severe on-the-job injury that has caused a permanent impairment, we will fight for the lost wage compensation you need and deserve. If your work-related injury was the result of a negligent third party, our attorneys will obtain compensation above and beyond what your Ohio workers’ compensation provides. Contact Schaffer & Associates today for a comprehensive evaluation of your workplace injury or work-related illness.