Workers’ Compensation: What Is It?

Columbus employees expect to perform their duties without any accident or injury. They also want their workplace to be free of hazardous conditions. However, workplace accidents happen, and workers sometimes develop occupational diseases or illnesses.

Ohio law mandates employers to pay workers’ compensation benefits to the injured worker when this happens. This article discusses what this settlement means and what to expect.  If you or a loved one suffer a workplace injury or illness, contact a Columbus work injury lawyer immediately.

Workers’ Compensation Under Ohio Law

Workers’ comp is an insurance policy held by employers that pays settlement to workers who suffer work-related injuries or contract an occupational disease. The coverage keeps business owners from paying out-of-pocket when their employees get injured at work.

Workers’ compensation insurance is quite helpful considering the number of injuries sustained by employees yearly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private industry employers reported 85,300 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in Ohio in 2020. This resulted in an incidence rate of 2.4 cases per 100 full-time equivalent workers.

Under Ohio law, employers with one or more employees must carry workers’ comp insurance. However, there are exceptions. The following people are not covered under workers’ compensation:

  • Domestic workers like cooks, gardeners, housekeepers, and babysitters who earn less than $160 per calendar quarter;
  • Most volunteer workers; and
  • Business owners like sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, and members of limited liability companies.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is the state agency responsible for work comp claims. Unlike other states in the U.S., workers’ compensation in Ohio is not provided by private insurance companies. Instead, the state handles it, and employers can purchase a policy by completing the BWC Form U-3 Application for Workers’ Compensation Coverage online.

What Injuries Are Compensable Under Ohio Workers’ Comp?

As mentioned earlier, injuries sustained in the course of employment are compensable. This applies whether the wound occurred in or outside the business premises. So, for example, if a driver gets into an accident while making deliveries, they will receive workers’ compensation.

The law considers that the employee was working for the company and not on a personal errand. The following are injuries covered under workers’ compensation:

  • Injuries from falls, broken staircases, falling objects, icy sidewalks, and other unsafe work conditions
  • Wounds caused by a moving object or people like in a hospital or nursing home
  • Injuries resulting from a co-worker’s negligence
  • Wounds or illnesses from toxic exposure
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, and other repetitive stress injuries

Some wounds that fall within the above categories are brain injuries, back injuries, broken bones, soft tissue injuries, limb loss, etc. It is essential to hire a work injury lawyer to help you get the maximum benefits.

Ohio work injury lawyer meeting man with broken arm

What Injuries Are Not Compensable?

Workers’ compensation insurance does not cover some injuries. The following wounds are not covered by Ohio work comp law:

  • Injuries sustained due to drug or alcohol use
  • Wounds from behaviors that violate company policy, e.g., fighting injuries
  • Pre-existing injuries or illnesses unless the work accident worsens the pre-existing condition
  • Short-term or common injuries like the flu or cold
  • Self-inflicted wounds (especially in an attempt to commit work insurance fraud)
  • Injuries that occur outside the workplace or work hours, e.g., when driving from or going home from work

If the injury resulted from a third party’s negligence, for example, a parts manufacturer, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Here, you will receive a financial settlement in addition to the workers’ compensation from your employer.

What Benefits Are Covered Under Ohio Work Comp Law?

To receive work comp benefits under Ohio law, you must inform your employer and get medical treatment. Once you’ve done this, follow up to ensure your employer files a report with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. If there is no contention, you will receive one or more of the following benefits:

Total Temporary Disability (TTD) Benefits

If your injury keeps you completely away from work, you’ll receive TTD benefits. But it won’t start until you’re away from work for two straight weeks. The amount you’ll receive is dependent on your average earnings before injury. However, the maximum and minimum amounts are determined by the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) at the injury time.

Wage Loss Benefits

You’ll receive wage loss benefits if you sustain a temporary partial disability. This applies when you cannot continue your previous employment because of an injury or illness but can still work in some capacity. The wage loss benefit covers two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury weekly wages and your weekly earnings up to the amount of the SAWW.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD) Benefits

After attaining maximum medical improvement (MMI), you’ll undergo a test to determine if you have a permanent disability due to the injury or illness. A person is permanently and totally disabled if they cannot:

  • Use both hands, arms, feet, legs, eyes, or any combination of two or more body parts; or
  • Cannot hold any long-term gainful employment.

With PTD, you’ll continue to receive weekly payments at the TTD rate for the rest of your life.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits

If there’s permanent disability, but it is not total, you’ll get PPD benefits. Ohio law calculates this disability based on:

  • Loss of certain body parts;
  • A percentage of overall disability; and
  • Presence of serious disfigurement.

The BWC will consider what’s fair and the SAWW before awarding compensation.

Other benefits provided under Ohio workers’ compensation law are:

  • Medical Benefits: Workers’ comp pays for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the injury or illness.
  • Mileage Reimbursements: You’ll receive reimbursement for travel expenses incurred from traveling for medical treatment.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: Ohio offers vocational rehabilitation services to help injured workers stay on their old job or get new employment.
  • Living Maintenance: If you get enrolled in a vocational rehabilitation program, you may receive living maintenance benefits for up to six months. It can be longer if the BWC chooses to extend it.
  • Survivor Benefits: When an employee dies from a work injury or illness their dependents get survivor benefits. The amount depends on the extent of their financial dependence, usually two-thirds of the deceased’s average weekly wage, up to the maximum or equal to SAWW.
  • Funeral Expenses: Work comp pays up to $7,500 in reasonable funeral expenses for the deceased worker.

Book a Free Consultation With Us Today!

The workers’ compensation process is easier when working with a Columbus personal injury attorney. Contact us today for a free case review.