Workers’ Compensation Benefits: Things to Be Aware Of

Getting workers’ compensation insurance is one important way employers ensure they have the resources to pay benefits to injured workers. Our Columbus workers’ compensation attorney can help you get all benefits available under workers’ comp if you suffer a workplace injury.

Before discussing the benefits available under workers’ compensation, we will give a concise but engaging explanation of what it means, its status in Columbus, Ohio, the different types there are, and finally, how you can benefit from hiring a workers’ compensation attorney.

Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits for employees that get injured in the line of duty. In simple terms, you are assured to enjoy insurance benefits under the workers’ comp system without having to sue your employer for negligence.

Understanding How Workers’ Compensation Works in Columbus, Ohio

In Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is responsible for providing medical and wage benefits in cases of work-related injuries, diseases, or death. Since Ohio uses the BWC, it is categorized among the states that use a monopolistic state insurance fund. The monopolistic state fund restricts the choice of an insurer to the government.

The three other states that use this workers’ compensation include Wyoming, Washington, and North Dakota. In these states and Ohio, companies have no option of buying workers’ compensation from private insurers.

Now, why should companies buy workers’ comp insurance?

As mentioned earlier, companies use work comp to pay benefits to workers who sustain an injury or contract an illness while on the job. Admittedly, some occupations like construction have more risk than others, but all Ohio employers with one or more employees must buy workers’ comp insurance.

Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws ensure that employees do not get fired for claiming benefits. Also, unlike motor vehicle accidents, the work comp system is not fault-based. Therefore, an employee does not need to prove negligence to be entitled to compensation.

As a result, you do not have to worry about whether the injury was your fault. However, note that if you intentionally caused the accident that injured you, you will not be entitled to work comp benefits. For example, suppose you work as a company driver and get behind the wheel while intoxicated.

In that case, your employer will not pay you compensation because drinking and driving is a willful negligence action, not a mistake. Similarly, if your employer intentionally causes an accident or event that harms you, you can file a lawsuit against them. A Columbus workers’ compensation attorney will provide more information on this.

Will Workers’ Compensation Cover All My Work Injuries?

Generally, workers’ compensation covers all workplace injuries, but there are some injuries it does not cover. This includes self-inflicted wounds, as discussed above. It does not also cover injuries that occur while employees play during working hours.

Therefore the injury must have happened during work hours or while performing a job-related function. So, suppose you were on your way to work, and your boss asked you to meet with a client before office hours began. If while at the meeting you suffer an accident, you can get workers comp.

Note that Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws can get complicated quickly without the help of a good Columbus workers’ compensation attorney assisting. Therefore, hire one.

Ohio workers' comp form and injured hand

What Benefits Can I Get Under Workers’ Compensation?

Several benefits are available to an injured worker under the Ohio work comp system. In broad terms, they can be categorized into:

  • Medical benefits
  • Disability benefits
  • Death benefits

Medical Benefits

Under workers’ compensation, you are entitled to 100 percent of the medical costs for your injuries. Also, cash payments are made for the lost work time after a three- to seven-day wait period.

While medical-only cases (injuries that require treatment but do not keep you from working) are prevalent in workers’ compensation cases, they represent only a tiny fraction of the total payments.

Disability Benefits

The çash benefits available under workers’ compensation vary by the severity and the duration of the worker’s disability. When a work-related injury prevents you from returning to the pre-injury job for some time, you will receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.

When a worker recovers and returns to work, the TTD benefits end. However, many injured workers return to work before full recovery and are faced with differential treatment or lower pay.

Therefore, we recommend waiting until you attain maximum medical improvement before resuming work. Also, returning earlier than your doctor recommends may cause your employer to conclude your injuries were not as severe as you claimed, affecting your benefits.

If the injury allows you to return to work but can not perform your regular job, you get temporary partial disability benefits (TPD). The wages you receive here would be less than what you get paid before the wound.

However, if you have attained maximum medical improvement but have a disability that completely keeps you from working, you are qualified to receive permanent disability (PTD) benefits. But if you can get another job in another industry despite the injury, you will receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

Death Benefits

When a work-related injury results in death, there are benefits available under workers’ compensation. Typically, it involves the provision of an amount for the funeral and burial expenses of the affected worker.

Other available benefits for Ohio injured workers are:

  • Mileage Reimbursement: Work comp pays for your travel expenses as long as it was for authorized medical treatment or tests not performed in your community. The mileage covers roundtrips of not more than 45 miles. Reimbursement also covers meals and accommodation in some cases.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: Ohio law also covers rehabilitation benefits to help you stay on your old job or get a new one. This compensation includes workplace accommodations and physical therapy.
  • Living Maintenance: You might receive living maintenance benefits while undergoing vocational rehabilitation. The payment lasts for six months but can be longer if the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has extended reasons.

A Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorney Will Help You Get Your Benefits

Suffering a workplace injury means you might be without employment for a while. As a result, you lose your salary and have medical bills to pay. This is why you should apply for workers’ compensation immediately.

While your employer should commence the payment process without hesitation, they sometimes delay or fail to. In such an instance, you need the help of a personal injury lawyer in Columbus, Ohio. Our lawyers have spent years representing injured Ohio workers and protecting their rights. We will do the same for you, so contact us today for a free case review.