If you’re already collecting workers compensation benefits, you may be wondering when they’ll run out. Once you’ve been out of work for a while, it almost makes it harder to go back. This is especially true if you suffered a serious injury. You start to worry that you won’t be able to do the same kind of work you did prior to your workplace accident. You even to start second-guessing your abilities the longer your claim stretches out. Our employment lawyers in Columbus, Ohio meet with people very week who feel the same way you do. At some point, you know your benefits are going to expire. You just don’t know when that day will come.
Here, we’ll discuss the different ways in which your benefits can end. We will also explain what maximum medical improvement is and why it’s so critical to your claim. If, after reading this article, you still have questions about your claim, give us a call. We can always schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
You Must First Qualify for Workers Compensation
Before you can worry about how long you can collect workers compensation benefits, you need to qualify for them. In Ohio, as in every other state, there are certain requirements you must meet in order to qualify for workers compensation. Some of these include the following:
- Your accident must take place on company time
- Typically, your injury must occur on company property
- If you work remotely or at home, your injury must take place while you’re acting within the scope of your employment
- You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time your accident
- You must report your injury to your manager or human resources right away
- You must submit to a drug test
- You must agree to be treated by a state- approved workers compensation physician
- You’re not allowed to work at another job while you’re out on workers compensation
- You must participate in your treatment
If you meet all these requirements, there’s a good chance your employment lawyer in Columbus, Ohio will be able to get you benefits.
If Approved, You’ll Receive Two Major Types of Benefits
Once your workers compensation claim is approved, you’ll be entitled to two main types of benefits. The first type of benefits you’ll receive is medical treatment for your injuries. As long as the treatment is for injuries suffered during your workplace accident, they will be covered by your employer’s insurance company.
The second main type of benefits you’ll receive are weekly replacement wages. These will be equal to 2/3 of your average weekly wages. Until you’ve been out of work for at least seven consecutive days, you will not be entitled to receive these benefits. However, once you’ve been out of work for 14 consecutive business days, your benefits will kick in and you’ll be paid retroactively for the first seven days.
You Can Collect Workers Comp Benefits for Up to 200 Weeks in Ohio
Anybody who’s approved for workers compensation in Ohio is allowed to collect benefits for up to 200 weeks. This is just shy of four years. While very few of our clients have ever collected benefits for that long, they are there if you need them.
Unlike most other states, Ohio is willing to extend the benefits period by 26 weeks if you are unable to find a job after the 200 weeks expire. If you’re not able to do the work that you did prior to your accident, you may need to look for a new job. Or, for personal reasons, you may choose not to return to the same employer that you worked for when you got hurt.
You’ll Have to Return to Work Once the Doctor Determines You’ve Reached Maximum Medical Improvement
At some point, the workers compensation doctor is going to determine that you have reached something called “maximum medical improvement.” This just means that your physician determines that further medical care is not going to improve your situation. Usually this happens once you’ve received any necessary surgeries and have attended physical therapy for a period of time.
Since every case is different, and since everybody responds differently to treatment, there’s no way to know for sure when this will happen. Is the doctor says that you’re ready to return to work and you disagree, your injury lawyer in Columbus, Ohio can get a second opinion. They’ll reach out to an independent doctor and ask them to examine you and determine if they feel you are indeed ready to return to work. If not, your attorney will discuss this with your employer and their insurance carrier and ask for an extension. If they refuse to grant this extension, you can always appeal it to the workers compensation commission or file suit.
Your Employment Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio Can Help if You’re Forced to Return to Work too Soon
As stated above, if you employer tries to force you to go back to work before you’re ready, your employment lawyer in Columbus, Ohio will fight to get you additional time. However, whether you’re ready to return to work or not, once you’ve reached the 200-week mark, your benefits will terminate whether you like it or not.
Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio Right Away
If you were hurt while on the job, you should be able to collect workers compensation benefits. The question is – how long can you collect them? As explained here, your benefits can end a couple of ways. You can either be deemed ready to return to work, or you’ll exhaust your 200 weeks of benefits. Your injury lawyer in Columbus, Ohio will work hard to get you the benefits you deserve. And, if you suffer a permanent disability, your attorney will try to negotiate a settlement of your claim.
We suggest that you call our office so you can schedule your free, initial consultation. Sit down with an employment lawyer in Columbus, Ohio who can review your claim and let you know what to expect. They can also help if your employer tries to force you back to work early. Even if you’re already receiving benefits, you should still have someone by your side to make sure your benefits aren’t terminated unfairly.
Since your initial consultation is free, you have nothing to lose.