No one wants to think that they’ll get injured at work. If your job is generally considered safe, you may not give much thought to Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. However, since anyone can suffer injuries on the job or develop an occupational illness, you need to know the basics of filing a workers’ comp claim. Even though a Cleveland workers’ comp attorney can help you following your injury, you should still be aware of some of the mistakes you should avoid.
Thinking You Have a Long Time to File Your Claim
If your injury wasn’t classified as an emergency, you may put off filing your claim because you want to continue working or you have other things going on. However, you only have one year to file a workers’ comp claim for an accidental injury and the time goes by very quickly. Also, if you delay in seeking treatment and the matter goes to arbitration or litigation, you may be deemed negligent. This could have implications for your ability to claim compensation. Meanwhile, if you discover that you have an occupational illness at a later date, you only have six months from the date of your diagnosis to file your claim or two years from the date that your condition prevented you from working.
Waiting to See If Your Condition Improves
As soon as you suffer a workplace injury or get diagnosed with an occupational disease, you need to file your claim. Some employees get scared that they will lose their job, miss out on wages or upset their employer by filing for workers’ comp. Others think the process is too much of a hassle. In both cases, workers may decide to wait to see if the injury will get better before they even see a doctor. Workers who suffer serious injuries have to go to the doctor, but they may delay in filing their claim. This can be a costly mistake.
Not Filing a Claim Because Your Employer Advises You Not To
It’s illegal for employers to talk their workers out of filing a claim but many still do it. They may offer to cover your medical expenses themselves or provide paid vacation time. Alternatively, they may threaten to fire you if you go ahead with the claim. This is because their workers’ comp insurance premiums may increase if a payout has to be made. However, your employer must provide you with the paperwork you need to get your claim started. It doesn’t matter whether they find it to be inconvenient. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights.
Going to a Doctor Your Employer Chose
In Ohio, you have the right to choose the first doctor you see after your injury. You don’t have to go to a doctor your employer selects or recommends since this person may not be as independent as you would like. If you need to continue seeing a doctor, you’ll need to choose one approved by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. However, the choice of who treats you is still up to you.
Not Appealing the BWC’s Decision If You Don’t Agree
After you file your claim, the BWC will either approve it or deny it. Even if the claim is approved, you may not agree with the nature or amount of benefits you’ve been awarded. If you don’t agree with the decision, you can appeal. The instructions for how to do so will be on the notification letter and you’ll have 14 days to file your appeal. Within 45 days, you’ll have to attend a hearing. Your workers’ comp attorney can help you to prepare for this. If you don’t like the decision here, there are additional levels of appeal.
Going Back to Work Too Soon
Your employer should not rush you or threaten you to return to work prematurely. You also shouldn’t feel guilty about taking the time you need to recover. Your physician will advise you on when you can safely return to work. After you get 12 weeks of temporary disability benefits, you can still get two-thirds of your weekly wage for a longer period.
Let Our Cleveland Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help You with Your Claim
You don’t have to go through the workers’ comp process on your own. Contact our workers’ comp lawyers in Cleveland and get help with choosing the best doctor, meeting deadlines, and communicating with your employer. We can also assist with appealing denials and representing you at hearings. Call us to today to schedule a consultation.