The Legalities of Suing for Work-Related Injuries in Ohio

Ohio’s workers’ compensation system offers a safety net, and you normally cannot file a personal injury case against your employer. However, there are rare cases where you can sue for work injuries.

This blog serves as your compass, demystifying the legalities of suing for work-related injuries in Ohio. Don’t hesitate to contact our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers for help with your claim.

When Can You Sue for Work Injuries in Ohio?

Ohio Law outlines two specific situations where you can sue for work injuries.

Intentional Torts

Ohio law recognizes a narrow exception for “intentional torts” (Ohio Revised Code § 2745.01). Here, you can sue your employer even if you’ve received workers’ compensation, but the burden of proof is monumental.

You must demonstrate, with clear and convincing evidence, that your employer acted with deliberate intent to injure you or with the belief that injury was “substantially certain” to occur. Generally, the victim has the burden of proving the employer’s actions were intentional.

Third-Party Liability: Sharing the Burden of Blame

If a third party, like a subcontractor or equipment manufacturer, played a role in your injury, you may have a separate claim against them in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. However, the BWC wields the power of “subrogation,” allowing them to recoup the benefits they paid you from any settlement or judgment you receive from the third party (Ohio Revised Code § 4123.74).

Navigating this complex interplay of claims and potential reimbursement requires legal expertise to ensure you maximize your recovery while protecting your rights.

Personal Injury Damages Vs. Workers Comp Benefits

There are main types of workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Total or partial disability benefits, which replace a portion of your income.
  • Medical benefits, which pay for medical care and other services.
  • Death benefits for certain surviving family members if you are killed on the job.

Workers’ compensation doesn’t pay for intangible losses like pain and suffering. However, these non-economic damages can be a significant part of the compensation in a personal injury case.

you can sue your employer only in very specific cases

The Deadline for Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury

If you have been injured in an accident at work, a claimant must file a First Report of Injury or Death with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation or the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) within one year. Failure to meet this deadline may result in your workers’ comp claim being denied.

Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10 dictates that you have two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, seeking damages beyond workers’ compensation, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of earning capacity.

This seemingly straightforward rule, however, is riddled with nuances that demand careful consideration.

Seeking Legal Guidance: Your Ally in the Labyrinth

Understanding the intricate web of time limits, legal jargon, and exceptions is no easy feat. Consulting with an attorney specializing in work-related injuries is not just advisable, it’s crucial. They can:

  • Assess your specific case: Your attorney will meticulously evaluate the details of your situation to determine if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Navigate the claims process: From filing the initial complaint to gathering evidence and interacting with the BWC, your attorney will be your trusted guide, ensuring you meet all deadlines and procedural requirements.
  • Appeal if Your Workers Comp Claim Is Denied: The process of appealing a workers’ compensation claim is complex, but your attorney will guide you at every step.

Don’t let time become your enemy. Seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your injury, especially if you suspect an intentional tort or third-party liability.

Call Our Ohio Workers Comp Lawyers Today

Ohio’s workers’ compensation system offers a safety net, and you normally cannot file a personal injury case against your employer. However, there are rare cases where you can sue for work injuries. For example, you may have a case against a third party who manufactured faulty equipment.

Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be complex and overwhelming. With the assistance of a skilled attorney from Ohio Workers Compensation Lawyers, you can obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.