The Columbus workers compensation attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC live and breathe workers compensation. We have helped countless clients maximize their benefits and obtain the workers comp they deserve for their on the job injuries. Every case is different. However, our Columbus workers comp attorneys hear similar questions from almost every client. To provide you with important information before you fill out your paperwork, go to a hearing or come in for a free consultation with us, we drafted answers to these frequently asked workers comp questions below.
If you need further assistance, then please do not hesitate to contact a Columbus workers compensation lawyer at our office. We serve clients throughout the state of Ohio including Columbus, Zanesville, Newark and Portsmouth. Call Today.
I Was Injured At Work. What Should I Do?
After a work injury, you should immediately complete and file a written accident report with your employer. You should also file a First Report of Injury with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (the Bureau) as soon as possible. An injured worker may complete and file the First Report of Injury form and file it with a treating physician or the employer of record.
Once you file the First Report of Injury form, the Bureau generates a workers compensation claim number and assigns it to the case. The claim number establishes an electronic file for the injured worker. Just because a claim number has been generated, however, does not assure any benefits will be paid on the claim.
The vast majority of workers compensation claims are “medical only” claims. Employers often certify (accept) these claims and the Bureau routinely allows them. Many claims, however, are contested by either the employer or the Bureau. If a workers compensation claim is contested, then the Bureau will refer the matter to the Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC) for a hearing. The injured worker, the employer and their authorized representatives will receive a hearing notice. In some cases, a Bureau attorney will also appear on behalf of the Bureau at Industrial Commission hearings. If an injured worker receives a hearing notice, then his or her claim (or an issue arising under the claim) has been contested. In such cases, the injured worker may wish to retain legal counsel.
There are two general types of workers compensation claims. One involves an acute injury. These include things like a slip, trip or fall at work, an injury on a machine, etc. Another type of claim, known as an occupational disease claim, involves repetitive use injuries that occur over a period of time or exposure to substances (such as asbestos) that then results in an illness. You may also file a third type of workers compensation claim for an injury that arises over a few days or weeks. This can be done even though that injury involves neither an acute traumatic event nor repetitive use or a bona fide occupational illness.
Generally speaking, medical bills are payable in an allowed workers compensation claim. You must, however, obtain prior authorization for treatment.
Some Ohio employers are self-insured. In claims involving a self-insured employer, you must first file a request for benefits with the employer. If the employer disputes payment of medical bills or the necessity of the treatment requested, then the employer must refer the matter to the Bureau and the Industrial Commission.
If the employer participates in the Bureau’s state insurance fund, then you must submit requests for treatment to the employer’s managed care organization (MCO). The MCO is responsible for determining whether it will initally approve or deny the requested treatment. Appeals from the MCO’s initial decision are eventually referred to the Bureau for further evaluation. Appeals from Bureau denials are then referred to the Industrial Commission for a hearing.
An injured worker has the right to choose his or her own health care provider. The worker can change his or her physician of record at any time, so long as he or she files, in writing, the intent to change. Treatment requests and documents submitted by medical doctors (M.D.s), doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s), and chiropractors (D.C.s) are all considered in a workers compensation claim.
If an injured worker misses more than seven days of work as a result of their injury, then he or she may file a request for payment of temporary total disability compensation. If the worker is temporarily and totally disabled from working for less than twelve (12) weeks, then compensation is paid based upon the worker’s earnings in the week prior to the injury (or earnings in the six (6) weeks prior to the injury). Furthermore, if the injured worker is unable to work for more than twelve weeks, then the rate of compensation is based upon the worker’s average weekly wage for the year prior to the injury.
Once a claim is allowed, and depending on the circumstances, an injured worker may also be eligible to receive other benefits. These benefits may include wage loss compensation (working or non-working), living maintenance compensation, permanent partial disability and loss of use awards, and permanent total disability compensation. An employer and an injured worker may also agree to a full and final cash settlement. If approved, it will close the claim forever.
Following Industrial Commission hearings, either party can appeal the original allowance of a workers compensation claim or the allowance of an additional diagnosis to the Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the injury occurred. Such appeals generally involve attorneys representing the Ohio Attorney General, the employer of record, and the injured worker. The employer and the injured worker are responsible for retaining their own legal representation. If the parties do not agree to a settlement of the claim, then a jury trial will be scheduled.
There is a two (2) year statute of limitations applicable to a workers compensation claim. If you do not file a claim within two (2) years, then you may never be able to do so. Under no circumstances should any injured worker wait two (2) years to report an injury or file a claim.
Remember – the sooner you file your claim, the more likely you are to succeed.
The law offices of Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC have represented injured workers for over 80 years. We do not represent employers. Additionally, we do not undertake representation on matters outside of the workers compensation and Social Security disability areas. By focusing our law practice on helping injured workers, our attorneys have all developed a high level of knowledge, skill and experience within this area of law. We are carrying on the legacy of helping Ohio’s injured workers that Richard N. Larrimer started decades ago. We will work for your benefit.