If you’ve ever been injured at work, then you know how confusing the workers comp system can be. Many Columbus injury lawyers aren’t even comfortable handling filing a claim. Thankfully, the associates at our firm have decades of combined experience working with clients whose workers compensation claims have either been denied or closed. While this can be extremely frustrating, the best thing you can do is call one of our Columbus workers compensation lawyers. They’ll review your case and make sure your workers comp claim in Ohio is handled properly from the start.
Here, we’ll explain what you can do immediately after your workplace accident to protect your workers comp claim. We will also discuss the workers compensation process. Since the process can be overwhelming for many workers, it makes sense to have a legal professional by your side.
You Must First Qualify for Workers Compensation
Before you can worry about benefits, you have to make sure you qualify for workers compensation benefits in Ohio. Ohio is no different from most other states when it comes to workers compensation rules and qualifications. Basically, if you meet these basic criteria, there’s a good chance that your claim will be approved.
These qualifying criteria include:
- Your accident must take place on company property. If you happen to work remotely or on the road, you’ll have to show that you were acting on behalf of your employer when you got hurt.
- You must be on the clock when the accident takes place. Again, if you’re a salary employee, you’ll just have to demonstrate that you were acting within the scope of your employment when you were hurt.
- You must report your injuries to your manager, supervisor, or Human Resources department immediately. While most companies give you a few weeks or even a month to report your injuries, there is no good reason to wait. As soon as your injury takes place, find a way to let your employer know. If you’re too hurt to do this at the time of your accident, do it as soon as possible after the fact.
- You must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of your workplace accident. If your drug test comes back positive, your claim will be denied. If you’re lucky, your employer may offer to send you to rehab. However, they are not required to do so.
- You have to agree to be treated by a state-approved workers comp doctor. You aren’t allowed to see your primary healthcare provider for your medical care.
- You cannot work another job while you’re out on workers compensation.
- You must participate in your medical treatment. If you don’t show up for doctor’s appointments or refuse to do physical therapy, your benefits will terminate.
This may seem like a lot. That’s normal. However, if you think about it, there’s a good chance you meet these requirements. If not, then you may not qualify for benefits.
What Happens if Your Claim is Denied?
If your workers comp claim is denied, you don’t want to waste any time calling a Columbus injury lawyer. Let them know what’s going on and show them your denial letter. They can reach out to the insurance company and find out exactly why your claim was denied.
If it was denied for clerical reasons, such as forgetting to fill out a form, they can usually fix this rather quickly. If the insurance company claims you didn’t file your claim in a timely fashion, your attorney will advise them that you did and that you’re willing to press the issue further if necessary.
Keep in mind – if your claim was denied because you were drunk or high at the time of your accident, we can’t help you. There’s no way an insurance company is going to pay out a claim for someone who was intoxicated on the job. The same is true for people whose claims were denied because the injuries didn’t take place at work. If you truly were hurt outside of work, then there’s no way our Columbus workers compensation lawyers can convince the insurance adjuster to pay your claim.
What Benefits Will You Receive if Your Claim is Approved?
If your workers comp claim is approved, you’ll start to receive benefits right away. From the moment your injury takes place, your medical care will be covered. As far as weekly replacement wages are concerned, you do have to miss at least seven business days before your financial benefits will start. If you end up being out of work for more than 21 days, you will likely receive backpay for the first week.
Your weekly benefits will be equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. This means that people who normally earn $1,000 per week will receive $666 per week under workers comp. In Ohio, the maximum amount you can receive in any given week is $1,085. This means that, if you normally earn more than $1,625 per week, you will only qualify for this maximum rate of $1,085.
The other thing about Ohio’s workers comp benefits is that they only continue for a period of 200 weeks. This comes out to be just shy of four years. After that, your benefits will terminate.
If your injuries are permanent, your Columbus injury lawyer will negotiate a settlement for your permanent, partial disability. While the process for doing this may be convoluted, it is essentially based on the body part that you injured. So, a back injury will be worth more than a wrist injury. Partial or total blindness will be worth more than an injury to your finger.
Let an Experienced Columbus Workers Compensation Lawyer Help
If you’ve been seriously injured at work and aren’t sure what to do next, don’t worry. Our experienced Columbus workers compensation lawyers have been helping workers in Ohio for years. We understand the law and also understand how the insurance companies operate. We’ll work hard to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. And, if your injuries happen to be permanent, we will do our best to get you a fair settlement of your claim.
All you have to do is call and schedule your free, initial consultation. Knowing that you may not be in the best position to come into the office, we can conduct your consultation by phone or Skype. Just let our friendly staff know when your first call. Since this consultation is free of charge, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.