Should I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Should I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?

For any worker injured on the job, it can be difficult to know if you should file a workers compensation claim and when to do it. You may be asking yourself,

“Is my injury severe enough to file a workers comp claim?”
“Will my employer fire me for filing?”
“What bills are covered when I file for workers comp?”

In this article, I’ll answer those questions and more.

What Benefits Are Available through Workers Comp?

By law, injured workers are entitled to the benefits they need in order to get better, pay their bills, and compensate them for a permanent or long term injury. If you’re ever hurt at work, you’ll need to know about these three benefits.

    1. Medical Treatment
      The first and probably the most important benefit is payment for any medical treatment as a result of the injury. That includes emergency room bills, MRIs and X-rays, diagnostic testing, physical therapy and surgery, even psychological testing to help deal with the emotional repercussions that can often come from sustaining a serious injury. Workers compensation covers all associated costs, including co-pays and deductibles.
    2. Reimbursement of Lost Wages
      If your authorized doctor says you can’t work due to your injury, you will receive weekly benefits from workers’ compensation covering your wage and rate. Those payments will continue as long as you continue to receive authorized care, while awaiting surgery or recovering, until your doctor gives written consent that it is safe for you to return to work. Protecting your right to wage replacement is just another reason to file a claim. 72% of lost wages for the first 12 weeks, 66 ⅔% thereafter.
    3. Long-Term Monetary Losses
      Let’s say you experienced a heavy lifting injury that resulted in a herniated disc in your spine. Hopefully, you make a full recovery, get back to work, and have little or no lasting side effects from that injury. Unfortunately, there are many people who go on to have long term physical limitations despite having the best care. That doesn’t mean you can’t work ever again or enjoy life, it just means that you have to be more careful and possibly change the line of work you are in to compensate for any range of motion limitations or other lasting side effects. How much you receive in workers comp payments depends on the injury, occupation, job function as well as personal lifestyle. You are unlikely to receive compensation for a permanent injury without filing a workers comp claim. Our website homepage lists available benefits with more detail.

When Should I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?

IMPORTANT: You have one year from the date of your injury to file a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).

Even if you don’t immediately think you’ve been badly injured, report your injury to your employer. That slight pain in your back could make you unable to get out of bed in a few days. Leaving your injury unreported can jeopardize your compensation. If you find yourself unable to perform your job to the best of your ability, you should file a claim immediately – we are here to help.

Can My Employer Punish Me for Filing a Workers Comp Claim?

Let’s be clear, it is absolutely illegal for an employer to fire you solely for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is illegal to punish an employee in any way simply for them filing a workers comp claim.

Under Ohio Workers Compensation Laws, a worker does not need to prove fault to bring a claim.

If you feel your job was terminated solely for filing a workplace injury workers’ compensation claim, you might have additional protections under the workers’ compensation law. You may also have a civil claim against your former employer for wrongful termination.

Have you or a loved one been injured at work? Workers’ compensation claims are complex. Call or email me today to discuss your injury. Workers Compensation is all we do. We have proven success, your consultation is free, and I don’t get paid until you do.

What Happens if I lose my job while receiving workers comp benefits?

What Happens if I lose my job while receiving workers comp benefits?

While receiving workers comp benefits, I was fired or laid off.

Generally, if you were receiving benefits when you were fired or laid off, you will continue to do so. However, if you were fired for disciplinary issues, you could lose them.

It may help if you understand that Workers Compensation is an insurance policy much like your home or auto insurance. Every Ohio business with employees must provide this insurance coverage. Like your home or auto insurance, your employer pays premiums for it. Maintaining an accident-free workplace typically results in lower premiums.

Let’s be clear, it is absolutely illegal for an employer to fire you solely for filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Non-union employees are typically hired on an “at-will” basis, with some exceptions. Employers are not required to give any explanation when firing, and can simply restructure and eliminate your position and there is nothing you can do about it. There is an exception: If you are under contract, the contract might list acceptable reasons for firing you.

If you feel your job was terminated solely for filing a workplace injury workers’ compensation claim, you might have additional protections under the workers’ compensation law. You may also have a civil claim against your former employer for wrongful termination.

While receiving benefits, my employer went out of business or filed for bankruptcy.

This shouldn’t affect your benefits, as they are paid out by the Bureau of Workers Compensation.

While receiving benefits, my position was replaced.

Your employer does not have to hold your position open. If your role is essential to the functioning of the company, they have the right to replace you.

I was injured on the job, filed for benefits, and was denied.

You may be able to file an appeal.

Workers’ compensation laws are complex and updates are frequent, you are probably qualified for more benefits than you think. Filing incorrectly or incompletely can result in claim denial and/or abbreviated benefits.

If you have already filed, and your claim was denied or terminated, call attorney Tom Marchese for a free, no-obligation discussion.

When should I file an appeal for a denied workers comp claim?

When should I file an appeal for a denied workers comp claim?

The workers’ compensation system provides certain benefits to workers who are injured while on the job. In a similar way to your personal auto insurance, businesses pay premiums for workers’ compensation insurance that will provide medical and wage payments to the injured party and provide a layer of protection to the businesses themselves.

Like any insurance claim, the rules are complex. You have filed for benefits and your claim was denied. Meanwhile, your medical bills may be arriving and your income may be lost while you are off work. What now?

Why was my workers’ comp claim denied?

The most common reasons are:

  • the injury didn’t occur while you were at work or performing a work-related task
  • the injury was the result of a preexisting injury or condition
  • if there is a dispute as to exactly when or where the injury occurred
  • a health professional concluded that you aren’t disabled as a result of your work injury and are therefore still able to perform your work duties
  • there is a dispute whether you sustained injuries at all

How can I appeal a denied workers comp claim?

While the exact methods of appealing the denial can vary among the states (unless you are a federal employee), there are a few things that everyone can do when seeking a review of a denied claim:

  1. Hire a workers’ compensation attorney to handle the appeals process.
  2. Don’t wait. In Ohio, you must file a formal appeal within 14 days of the receipt of the denial.
  3. Contact the BWC.

How can a Workers’ Compensation lawyer help me?

Workers’ compensation is all we do. As your lawyer, I will determine the reasons for the denial of your claim and gather documentary evidence, including contacting possible witnesses to your injury and retaining experts from the medical field as well as your work industry if needed.

Most workers’ comp claims are denied based on medical issues. I will have your injury or disability evaluated by an independent medical specialist and/or review your specific case with your present health care provider to determine if a more detailed medical report should be drafted. I will also determine if any additional proof is needed to demonstrate a disability or directly related injury.

Don’t wait to fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact Workers’ Compensation Attorney Tom Marchese today.  Call now.

If you’ve been injured at work, read this.

If you’ve been injured at work, read this.

A seemingly normal day at work can quickly become the start of a nightmarish ordeal if you get injured. A slip and fall (read about the difference between slip and fall vs. trip and fall here), machinery accident, lifting injury, and more can deter your life in a matter of minutes and leave you wondering how you’ll pay your bills and provide for your family now that you’re unable to work. In this situation, having a worker’s compensation lawyer to walk you through the steps of filing a claim is essential.

Let’s discuss three important things that you should know about a worker compensation claim.

1. You don’t need to prove your employer is at fault.

This is actually a very common misconception. The reality is that you don’t have to prove anything to be eligible for compensation as workers comp is regarded as a no-fault system in the US. In addition, the amount of compensation you’ll receive is not affected by your carelessness in performing your job, that is unless you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the injury occurred. In that instance, it’s important that you consult a professional compensation attorney before filing a claim.

It is also important to note that reporting your injury is not “punishing” your employer or jeopardizing your job. All employers pay into the Ohio state workers’ compensation system to make sure that anyone injured on the job can seek compensation to cover those and injuries, missed income, and related medical expenses.

2. Report your injury immediately.

This is extremely important. Don’t wait to report your injury, even if you don’t immediately think you’ve been badly injured. That slight tweak in your back could have you unable to get out of bed in a few days, and you can seriously hurt your case of getting compensation if you do not immediately report your injury to the employer.

In some cases, workers choose not to report an accident because they think the work either doesn’t fall within their scope of employment, or they weren’t on duty when the injury occurred. This conversation should be discussed with your lawyer to decide since things are not always that clear-cut when it comes to workers’ comp claims.

3. You can still file a negligence lawsuit.

While it’s true that filing a workers comp claim does mean you waive your right to sue your employer, this does not mean that you can’t file a negligence lawsuit against a third party. For example, suppose your injury occurred due to a defective piece of equipment, in this situation you can bring a case to court against the equipment manufacturer. Any amount you receive in this case will be in addition to the compensation received from your employer.

Hire a workers comp lawyer to guide you.
Getting injured on the job can result in serious consequences. You can greatly increase your chances of getting adequate compensation by hiring a workers comp lawyer. Thomas Marchese is a highly experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you file a claim and fight for what you deserve. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

Can working from home cause a repetitive stress injury?

Can working from home cause a repetitive stress injury?

When you think of work-related injuries, you probably think of visible traumatic incidents that cause injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, or spinal cord trauma. What you probably don’t think of, are repetitive stress injuries.

What is a repetitive stress injury?

Perhaps the repetitive stress injury (RSI) most people are familiar with is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a repetitive stress injury that occurs when the “carpal tunnel,” located on the lower side of a person’s wrist, is compressed for extended periods of time. This syndrome is most commonly associated with those who work at a computer and type on a regular basis. Something which we’re all doing more and more since our work lives has shifted to home.

Usually, employers provide training and enhanced ergonomic office equipment to employees in an effort to mitigate the risks that workers face in these situations. However, COVID-19 has significantly changed the workplace landscape. While working from home has been a welcome change for many people, particularly those who no longer have to battle Columbus traffic, most employees who now have to work from home don’t have the appropriate office setup to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

We can expect to see a rise in workers’ compensation claims related to carpal tunnel and employers need to seriously consider purchasing or lending their workers the equipment they need to perform their job safely. This can include ergonomic desks and chairs, as well as modified keyboards and other equipment designed to reduce the risk of developing carpal tunnel.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms usually start off as mild symptoms that gradually become worse. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Tingling or numbness. You’ll most likely notice this in your fingers or hand, usually in the thumb and index, middle, or ring fingers. You may feel a sensation like an electric shock in these fingers as well, that can travel from your wrist up your arm. You’ll most likely notice these symptoms while holding a steering wheel or your phone, or they might wake you in the middle of the night.
  • Weakness. You might experience weakness in your hand or notice that you’re dropping objects more than usual. This could be due to the numbness in your hand or weakness of the thumb’s pinching muscles.

Can I get workers comp for carpal tunnel?

  • If you or somebody you care about has sustained a repetitive stress injury and are having trouble receiving compensation, contact Tom Marchese today. Workers compensation in Columbus is all we do, and we work to secure the following on your behalf:
    Coverage of injury-related medical bills
  • Lost income if you’re unable to work while you recover
  • Possible long-term disability benefits

COVID-19 has significantly altered the way many people work. However, that does not lessen the responsibility that employers have to keep their workers safe. When you need a Columbus workers compensation attorney, contact us for a free consultation.

What Happens to my Workers’ Comp Benefits if I Lose My Job due to COVID-19?

What Happens to my Workers’ Comp Benefits if I Lose My Job due to COVID-19?

If you are an injured worker receiving workers’ compensation payments, you may also be worried about losing your job during the pandemic budget cuts.

Note: This article is a general overview of possible outcomes and should not be considered legal advice. Your situation is unique and should be discussed.

If you were already receiving benefits when you lost your job, you’ll continue receiving them since you were injured while working and approved for benefits while still employed. However, if you were fired for a cause, such as a disciplinary issue, you could lose your benefits. The same applies if your doctor determined you were fully recovered before you were fired, which in that case, your benefits would have stopped anyway.

If your layoff is due to your employer going out of business or filing for bankruptcy, this shouldn’t affect your benefit payments since they are paid out out of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

At-Will Employment

Most employees are hired on an at-will basis, which means employers don’t need a reason to fire them. A company can simply restructure and eliminate your position and there is nothing you can do about it. An exception to this is if you’re under contract, and the contract lists acceptable reasons for firing you. If you’re fired for some other reason, you may have a claim for breach of contract.

Can I Be Terminated for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Let’s be clear. It is illegal for an employer to fire you simply for filing a workers’ comp claim and your employer must provide another justifiable reason for your termination, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

If you feel you were terminated solely for filing your claim, you might have additional actions you can take under the workers’ compensation law. In addition to this, you may also have a civil claim against your former employer for wrongful termination.

If you or someone you love was injured at work and was denied workers’ compensation benefits, you might be able to file an appeal. Call Tom Marchese today for your free consultation. Let’s get started.