WORKERS' COMPENSATION - SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY - MEDICAL MALPRACTICE - PERSONAL INJURY - PERS

Deadlines for filing a Worker Comp claim

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for a Work-Related Injury?

When an employee in Ohio is injured on the job or becomes ill due to an occupational disease, the clock that governs eligibility to receive workers’ compensation begins ticking immediately.

While the technical deadlines for filing a claim provide between six months and two years – depending upon the nature of the case – there are many practical reasons to report the accident at once and to begin the claims process promptly.

Employees who wait too long to file a work-related injury report, or who fail to meet the specified response times once a claim has been filed, often lose their rights to any benefits, even when they are clearly deserving.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), which is the sole state government agency responsible for the workers’ compensation system, advises those who are injured on the job, or become ill due to work-related activities, to notify their employer and seek medical care immediately.  

With each passing day, claim applications face increased scrutiny and a higher burden of proof that the injury did actually arise on the job or as a direct result of the job. 

Insurance carriers and claims administrators work diligently to prevent fraudulent claims. As such, when there are delays between the time employees are hurt and when they report the incidents, investigators may be more likely to conclude that the injuries might not have occurred at work or may have arisen from other unrelated exposures.

It is far better to report an injury – even a mild one – at once and seek early medical evaluation than to wait to see “how bad it really is.”  As soon as an employee notifies his or her employer of an accident or illness, that establishes a legal foundation for filing a subsequent claim, should the need arise. Visiting a physician as soon as possible also helps document the timing and nature of the affliction. If it turns out that the injury does not result in any financial or health consequences, there is no harm in having reported it. 

Sometimes an injury can catch an employee by surprise, starting out as a minor nuisance and growing progressively more severe. Likewise, occupational diseases, such as asbestosis or illness related to workplace chemical exposure, often generate symptoms that snowball over time.

In such instances, the BWC may allow as much as two years after the date of disability to file a claim. In the case of occupational diseases, for example, questions such as when the affected worker first became aware of the disease and when the employee was first treated will be weighed in considering the definitive statute of limitations for filing a claim.

Many employees find their rights are best protected when they contact a workers’ compensation attorney very shortly after a workplace injury occurs, or an occupational disease is detected. When skilled workers’ compensation attorneys help prepare a claim, their efforts dramatically reduce the likelihood that the claim will be rejected out of hand because the application is incomplete, inaccurate or filed past the deadline. 

Moreover, should the initial application be denied, experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help prepare and present a well-documented appeal to the board for review.

All employees in Ohio are entitled to medical benefits and lost wages when they are injured or contract an occupational disease on the job. But employees who are hurt must exercise their rights on a timely basis and adhere to all of the complex claims procedures if they are to actually receive the compensation to which they are entitled.  



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  • Injuries Not Covered Under Workers’ Compensation

    Workers’ compensation exists to help individual who get injured or fall ill on the job. Therefore, only someone hurt or sickened at work or while engaged in activities directly related to fulfilling the duties of their job can claim workers’ comp benefits. The health problem must be significantly disabling, meaning the person has to stop working or accept a lower-paying position for several months. Also, the problem can affect any part of the person’s body or physical functioning. Losing a finger, going deaf or blind, having a heart attack, and developing a permanent lung disease are all examples of injuries and illnesses eligible for workers’ comp.

     

    Location Matters

    Distinguishing what counts as a work-related activity sometimes requires going to court. Clarifying the issue somewhat, general rules that have developed over time that indicate that driving a company vehicle during business hours qualifies, but taking your own car to the office in the morning before the start of the business day does not. Similarly, falling while putting on a safety suit in the factory locker room could be what lawyers call compensable, but tripping while dressing for work at home would not be. Parking lot injuries are whole separate category of worker’s comp case law.

    Questions about whether an offsite or near-site incident could make you eligible for applying to receive payments from the Ohio workers’ compensation program are best referred to a Cleveland workers’ comp attorney before going through the lengthy process of applying for benefits.

     

    Cause Matters

    The state-run program to cover injured and ill workers’ medical bills and temporary disability expenses does have a list of circumstances that automatically disqualify applications. It looks like this:

    • Self-inflicted injuries
    • Injuries suffered with under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    • Injuries suffered while engaging in clearly illegal activities, including trespassing or violating environmental laws
    • Injuries suffered while fighting with co-workers
    • Injuries suffered while purposely ignoring safety rules, which includes engaging in horseplay
    • Worsening of a preexisting disease even when workplace exposures cause flare-ups that make doing one’s job impossible
    • Strictly mental difficulties such as stress

    This list of workers’ compensation exclusions leave space for interpretation, especially since employers may attempt to convince the program administrators who investigate workers’ comp applications that a hurt or sick worker caused their own health problems. A skilled and caring workers’ comp lawyer in Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, can help a client gather and present evidence to counter such claims.

     

    Options Exist When Workers’ Comp Doesn’t

    Speaking with an Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman personal injury attorney could help you explore options other than workers’ compensation. While filing and succeeding with civil lawsuits against one’s employer has become increasingly difficult in Ohio, evidence of reckless indifference to employees’ health and safety remains actionable. Another possibility could be pursuing a defective or dangerous product claim against the manufacturer of a tool or device that inflicted an injury. That tactic can succeed when a machine malfunctions, a hand tool breaks, or a walkway railing or ladder collapses.

    To discuss workers’ comp and related issues at no cost, call Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman at (800) 678-3318 or schedule an appointment online.

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I want to thank you for representing me with my Worker’s Compensation claim. Obviously, I am very happy with the decision of Hearing Officer. I know that my employer can still appeal the decision but I hope that will not be the case. Regardless, I...

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