Archive for January, 2016

Potential Problems That Occur During a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Ohio Workers’ Compensation should have little difficulty paying out on claims from people who get injured or become sick at work. Incidents that leave employees unable to do their jobs usually occur in front of witnesses, and the issue of whether the victim was engaged in job-related activities should be simple to decide.

The Cleveland workers’ compensation attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman know from decades of combined experience, however, that hurt and ill workers can encounter many problems when seeking to have claims for medical care and replacement income approved. Employers contest how, where, when, and why the worker became disabled. Questions are asked about whether claims were filed in a timely manner, and also if the disabling condition merits compensation. The workers’ comp office itself can rule that an applicant’s medical evidence is insufficient or unconvincing.


These barriers can be overcome with representation from a dedicated Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer, so let’s look at each.


Problem #1: Facts Are Disputed by Employers

Qualifying for workers’ comp requires showing that you suffered an injury or got sick while working. For instance, injuries from a car accident while driving from the office to a meeting would be what lawyers call compensable; falling at the bus stop while going in to the office in the morning would not be. Also, if you are doing something a supervisor explicitly told you not to do, you could not succeed with a claim for workers’ compensation.

Employers can generally be counted on to do everything possible to try to show that an injury happened offsite, off the clock, or when an employee was acting negligently or recklessly. The way to counter such tactics is to file a formal report with the company as soon as possible that clearly states all the facts. Supporting that filing with witness statements and expert evaluations of working conditions and other relevant factors can also help. Doing these things can be easier with assistance from a workers’ comp attorney.


Problem #2: The Statute of Limitations Always Looms

Employers and the workers’ comp office may also attempt to disqualify claims for being beyond the statute of limitations. This proves particularly effective when a person tries to collect disability payments related to an occupational illness. Under Ohio law, workers’ compensation claims must generally be made within six months of a confirmed physicians’ diagnosis of a disease that left a person unable to do his or her job. This automatically means that problems that can take decades to produce symptoms like cancer and mesothelioma almost never qualify a person for workers’ comp benefits.

The other statutes of limitations that apply are

  • Two years from the date of a work-related injury
  • Two years from the date when a work-related illness left the person disabled
  • Two years from the date of an on-the-job death when the victim’s survivor files

Since the window for filing a workers’ comp claim can be so small, debates can rage over when the clock starts. That is, employers and case officers will question the date of an injury, death, diagnosis, or disability.


Problem #3: Some Conditions Are Precluded

This set of challenges encompasses questions of how and what. First, state law precludes workers’ compensation for any condition found to be self-inflicted, the result of intoxication, or related to illegal activity. Second, with very few exceptions, workers’ comp is not available for psychiatric diseases, aggravation of preexisting physical illnesses, “natural” wear and tear on joints and muscles, or disabilities or deaths suffered while doing work under a waiver of liability. That is, if you sign a disclaimer regarding risks, you generally surrender your rights to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

Blaming the victim, making accusations of criminality, and digging for information that paints a workers’ comp applicant as irresponsible or uninformed are not uncommon.


Problem #4: Medical Evidence Must Be Indisputable

The final challenge facing an injured or ill worker is that Ohio Workers’ Compensation requests reams of medical records. The agency also subjects applicants to physical examinations and in-person assessment by doctors and employment specialists who it chooses. Putting together unassailable medical evidence can be impossible without guidance from a Cleveland workers’ compensation attorney who has navigated the system successfully.

Contacting Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman to request a free consultation may help you clear the hurdles to your workers’ compensation claim. You can reach out online or call us at (800) 678-3318.

How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?

You must meet three basic criteria to qualify for receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits:

  • Be eligible for Social Security payments of any kind
  • Suffer from a condition that has left you unable to work for a year or more or a condition that will prove fatal in the near future
  • Present extensive medical evidence for your disability


Applying for SSDI also requires filing reams of paperwork with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and having your application exhaustively reviewed by staff at the Ohio Disability Determination Services office (each state has its own).

Cleveland SSDI attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman have helped many Ohio residents navigate the federal long-term disability process. Each case has encountered different obstacles while also teaching valuable lessons about how to collect and present evidence in ways that increase our clients’ chances of securing the SSDI benefits they require to live as well as possible.

We would need to schedule a free consultation with you to learn how we could be of the most service. Here, we summarize just the most important things you must understand when considering whether you or a disabled dependent could qualify for Social Security Disability.


Social Security Eligibility Basics

Most U.S. workers participate in Social Security by having contributions to the federal retirement and disability program with held from their paychecks. A person’s Social Security benefits can also be conferred on his or her children, spouses, and other adults under their care such as elderly parents.

Significant numbers of Americans are not eligible for Social Security benefits, though. Teachers and government employees who earn state pensions may go entire careers without contributing to Social Security. Also, permanent U.S. residents who pay all their taxes to the countries where they retain citizenship do not earn Social Security benefits. People who live in U.S. territories also do not automatically qualify for Social Security, regardless of their tax situations.

If you are not sure if you have paid into Social Security, a knowledgeable Ohio disability lawyer will be able to assist you with figuring out if receiving SSDI benefits is a possibility. An attorney could also walk you through alternatives to SSDI, including workers’ compensation and private disability insurance.


Do You Suffer an SSDI Qualifying Condition?

Blind U.S. citizens almost always qualify to receive SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration also maintains official lists of conditions that it recognizes as permanently disabling and/or life-threatening for adults and children. You can review each by clicking here and here. The biggest difference is that the list of qualifying conditions for individuals under the age of 18 includes problems related to low birth weight and failure to thrive.

Your doctor can help you make sense of the lists. Communication between your health care team, you, and an experienced Cleveland SSDI attorney can clarify the applicability of a listed condition to your own situation.


Unassailable Medical Evidence Required

SSDI case reviewers pore over all the medical records submitted by each applicant. They will also speak with as many doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and therapists they believe necessary to confirm or discredit a finding of permanent disability. Case reviewers may even ask for additional evidence from health care providers. Additional medical evidence will definitely be needed to support an appeal of a denial of benefits.

A dedicated Cleveland, Ohio, SSDI attorney can help you compile all the required medical records and also put you in touch with skilled medical professionals who can care for you. Further, because your current work status, your work history, and your ability to continue earning as much money as you did previously at a different job will be considered, a lawyer who handles Social Security disability cases can assist you with collecting and presenting employment and employability evidence.


More Answers Are Available

In the likely event that this brief overview of how to qualify for Social Security disability benefits left you with even more questions, contact the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman today. You can call (800) 68-3318 or sketch out your challenges online.

As the SSA explains many times on its SSDI website, “You have the right to representation by an attorney or other qualified person of your choice when you do business with Social Security.” Do not miss your opportunity to exercise that right and raise your likelihood of receiving disability benefits.

Cleveland OH Workers Comp Lawyer
Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman
6100 Oak Tree Blvd., Suite 200, Cleveland Ohio 44131 USA
Tel: (216) 328-2125 Fax: (614) 221-7308 Map