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.

What you need to know about workers comp and Telehealth.

What you need to know about workers comp and Telehealth.

There’s no doubt, life has dramatically changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Businesses have been forced to change the way that they operate, some restaurants are relying solely on take-out and curbside service, there’s now a limit on the number people allowed to grocery shop at one time, and doctors are now evaluating patients using “Telehealth.”

If you’ve been injured on the job, and are seeking restitution for missed work and mounting medical bills, it is vital to have your injury and treatment diagnosed. Most medical practices have adapted to COVID restrictions by offering Telehealth appointments. Using your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or computer, you and your doctor can see each other just as if you would in a face-to-face appointment. You explain how your injury happened, what your symptoms are, and any medical treatment that you have received for your work injury.

How can a doctor diagnose me through Tele-health?

The doctor is unable to physically touch you, but he/she can still conduct an examination. For example, if you’ve injured your back, the doctor might ask you to walk a few steps to watch for a limp, touch your toes to gauge your range of motion or lift your legs while sitting to see if you feel pain in your back or legs. Although the doctor can’t test your reflexes, he/she can still gain valuable information from this modified exam.

Your doctor may provide you with treatment recommendations, which could include physical therapy, medications, or order a more thorough diagnostic, like an MRI. Most medical facilities have remained open during this pandemic and have continued to operate on a modified schedule to allow for the proper precautions to be taken. Staff members wear masks and gloves, wipe down equipment, and enforce social distancing.

How important is it that I see a physician after an injury?

If you injure yourself at work, the Industrial Commission of Ohio will give great weight to the reports of your doctors and the results of your diagnostic studies when determining whether to accept or deny your claim. If your claim is denied, a lawyer can file a petition on your behalf which will be heard by a workers’ compensation judge. An Industrial Commission Hearing Officer then carefully considers what conditions your doctor’s diagnosed and referenced studies. So, if your doctor orders an MRI and it shows herniated discs at two levels of your spine, there is a much better chance that they will conclude that you are truly disabled and therefore are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Here at Marchese Law, we can help you file to fight your denial. SInce 1985, defending the rights of Ohio workers is all we do. The business restrictions of the pandemic have added another layer of complexity. We fight the BWC on your behalf to get you paid. If you sustained an injury at work, call us.

Critical Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury

Critical Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury

A workplace injury can have devastating consequences for you and your family, not only in lost wages but depending on the severity, an injury at work could result in expensive medical bills, lengthy recovery times, physical therapy, and even emotional distress. That is why worker’s compensation is so important. However, it’s not always easy to get the benefits that you deserve. That’s where we come in. Here is a list of critical steps to follow to help you get the maximum benefits that you and your family deserve.

If you’re ready to fight for your worker’s comp benefits, give us a call. We’re here to help and the call is free. 

You are a healer who suffers constant pain. Can workers comp benefits help?

You are a healer who suffers constant pain. Can workers comp benefits help?

As a medical professional you spend hours on your feet every day, and perform intricate tasks with your hands day in and day out. You may also routinely squat and stretch to reach tools and supplies, and spend hours typing inpatient data. These tasks put you at risk for repetitive stress injuries (RSI).

Repetitive stress injuries are common in the medical profession. You may assume that most job-related injuries occur on construction sites, factories, or warehouses. They do, but a significant percentage of on-the-job work injury claims involve wear and tear. When you are experiencing pain and physical limitations, you need to remember to take care of yourself while you are caring for others.

 

Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits for RSI

It is a misconception that only traumatic on-the-job injuries are eligible for workers’ comp payments. Repetitive stress injuries are often covered as well.

Common RSI injuries that are common among nurses, therapists, and other health care professionals include the following:

● Carpal tunnel syndrome
● Stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger finger)
● Osteoarthritis
● De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
● Degenerative conditions
● Disc abnormalities
● Rotator cuff injuries

Interesting facts about workers’ comp claims and medical professionals.

1. The “No-Fault” Nature of Workers’ Comp
In Ohio, workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system. Employees can seek benefits for all injuries sustained within the scope of their employment, regardless of the cause. So, if you’re in pain because you are a devoted employee and you love doing what you do, you are within your rights to file a claim for benefits.

2. Provide Written Notice
In order to file for workers’ comp, you need to first provide written notice of your injury to your employer. Most employers have some kind of “Accident Form” that you fill out for this exact reason, but really you can use whatever form your employer provides you, even if it’s not considered an accident-related injury.

3. See the Company Doctor
One aspect of Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is that it gives employers the right to require employees to see their “company physician.” Once you’ve provided written notice of your injury, your employer should tell you where you need to go to seek a diagnosis and treatment. This won’t necessarily be your only option, but it’s where most employees need to start.

4. Thorough Documentation
Thorough documentation is key. You will need to be able to demonstrate that your injury developed at work rather than at home. Make note of when the pain began or when you first noticed symptoms. Document when the symptoms would flare (ex: after a long shift, when lifting a patient onto a gurney). Every detail can help with your claim.

5. Preparing for the Claims Process
Your case management will involve a review of workers’ compensation coverage including wages, medical coverage, work-related medical conditions, loss of function, and injuries that may not show up until years after you have left a job.

If you have questions about eligibility or would like help filing your claim, contact us now. Your confidential consultation is completely free.

Workers compensation attorney Tom Marchese has 35 years of workers comp experience, having successfully handled thousands of litigated workers’ comp cases. It’s all we do.

How Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Workers’ Comp Claim

How Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Workers’ Comp Claim

In this time of social isolation, staying connected is more important than ever. The New York Times reported that Facebook and Instagram have enjoyed a 50% increase in usage as a direct result of the coronavirus. The average user spends 58 minutes per day on social.

Chances are, you’re probably included in this statistic, and like most people you also likely use social media accounts to share details about what’s going on in your life. It’s understandable why so many people have grown to rely on social media. After all, it offers the benefits of keeping us up to date with what is new with our friends. However, if you’re in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim, it is likely a good idea to limit or avoid social media altogether. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at exactly how social media usage can negatively affect your workers’ compensation claim.

The Role of Workers’ Comp Insurance in Ohio

In Ohio, every employer is required to carry workers compensation insurance. If you are injured on the job, this insurance is designated to pay your medical bills, injury compensation, death benefit, amputation or loss of use benefit, temporary disability, permanent partial disability benefit, change of condition, vocational rehabilitation, and multiple injury compensation.

Some claimants seek to take advantage of the system through fraudulent activity. Studies show that 1- 2% of claims are fraudulent, which costs insurance carriers billions of dollars.

Preemptively, insurance carriers often perform detailed investigations of claims. This includes monitoring of social media accounts. If an investigator believes that you lied, faked, or exaggerated your injury to obtain compensation, you could be denied compensation coverage.

Realize What Investigators Might Find on Social Media

Even if your social media account settings are set to private, there are still methods that investigators use to see what you post.

Are there pictures or videos of you engaging in a physical activity (sports, playing with a child or pet, working on a home improvement project, etc) after filing a claim for a personal injury?

Were you on vacation during the time that you were supposed to be recovering from an on-the-job injury?

Don’t post to Social Media

Before sharing or commenting, stop and reflect on how your words and pictures might be viewed by either your employer or the applicable insurance carrier. Even if you believe that what you are posting is okay, know that social media posts create misunderstandings on a routine basis.

Speak With an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; remember that?

The workers’ compensation process is complex. Let’s work together to make sure that your application to receive benefits is complete. If you have already filed and you have been denied, contact workers comp attorney Thomas Marchese now to start the appeal and get your benefits.

Under Ohio Workers Compensation laws, do not need to prove fault to bring a claim. Call today.

9 Reasons why your workers comp claim could be denied.

9 Reasons why your workers comp claim could be denied.

If your workers comp claim was denied, you should know you don’t have to take no for an answer.

The Workers’ Compensation system is complex, and your claim could be turned down for any number of reasons, but what you may not know is that if your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal this decision.

1. Your injury didn’t happen at work

To be eligible for workers’ comp benefits, your injury must have happened while you were performing your job duties.

For example, if you work in a restaurant and twist your knee while taking dishes to the kitchen, it’s likely you’re owed benefits. On the other hand, if you were injured while you were on your lunch break or on your commute to work, then you’re most likely not eligible to make a claim.

However, there is a grey area around this rule. If you were not at your jobsite but you were at a work assignment or event, such as a company retreat, you might have a claim.

You should keep in mind that insurance companies, and even your employer, might work very hard to try to prove that you were not at work when your injury happened, even if you know you were.

In a case where there are no witnesses or security camera footage, it can be difficult to challenge this decision. However, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be a powerful force in having this decision reversed.

2. You didn’t notify your employer of your injury within the required time

There are certain time limits in the workers’ compensation claim process. After you’re injured, it’s extremely important that you inform your employer about the injury as soon as you are able to. If you don’t report your injury as soon as possible, a number of things can happen.

Firstly, your employer will not be able to carry out an accident investigation, which is vital for the success of your claim.

Secondly, your employer, and the insurance company, can try to claim you were not really hurt at work, arguing that if you were hurt at work you would have reported the issue sooner.

Finally, the insurance company can try to claim your injury didn’t happen due to your job duties and argue that they were the result of a pre-existing condition or something that happened while you were off the clock.

3. You were intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Workers’ compensation is not about finding someone to blame. However, if alcohol or drugs were involved in your accident, you are not entitled to make a claim.

When you go to the doctor for a work injury, your boss has the right to require that you are tested for alcohol and/or drugs. If tests show that you were under the influence when the injury happened, then your claim will typically be denied.

4. You were not treated by an approved medical provider

Under the workers’ comp system, your boss and the insurance company have the right to provide you with an approved list of doctors you can visit to receive treatment.

In some instances, this may be a negative thing because these doctors can try to downplay your injuries, which means you could receive lower benefits.

Although you have to see an approved medical provider to be entitled to compensation, having the help of a workers’ comp lawyer will guarantee you the best chance of getting the treatment you require and the benefits you are entitled to.

5. You never received medical treatment

While you don’t have to see a doctor for every small scrape or bruise you get at work, if you think your injury is entitled to a claim, you will need the medical records to prove it. Without the supporting medical records, the insurance company can say you faked your injury to claim benefits, resulting in a denied claim.

Make sure you give your claim the best shot of being successful and visit a doctor.

6. You never filed your paperwork or failed to do so on time

There are specific time limits and deadlines for when you have to file your Workers’ Compensation claim. Even for injuries that develop slowly over time, like carpal tunnel syndrome, time limits apply.

If you do not file your papers on time, you are giving your employer and the insurance company another reason to deny your claim.

If you work with a Workers’ Compensation attorney they will be able to make sure you have all of your papers in order and that they are filed on time.

7. Your injury was the result of horseplay, roughhousing or practical jokes

If you’re goofing around at work and ended up getting hurt, it is unlikely that your injuries will be covered. In the eyes of the law, you are not considered working while you are roughhousing. So what can seem like fun and games can end up causing major stress later.

Similarly, if you start a fight at work and you get hurt, you generally will not be eligible for benefits.

8. Your injury is from a pre-existing condition

If you had an injury or illness before starting your job and your job did not make it worse, you are typically not eligible for workers’ compensation. The insurance company can and will fight very hard to get your claim rejected using this argument.

However, workers’ comp claims are complex and there is a lot of gray area. Some employees who are entitled to benefits see their claims rejected and do not fight back. Do not make this mistake.

9. Your employer disputes your claim

Your employer can, and most likely will, dispute your claim. They may be afraid that the cost of their workers’ comp coverage will increase if there is a claim on their policy. To combat this they could argue that the details of the case are incorrect or that you were not at work when you got injured.

This point can be especially true if there are no witnesses or surveillance footage to support your claim. If you were hurt and no one saw it, make sure you tell your employer and co-workers what happened as soon as possible.

10. You did not have a workers comp attorney

You do not have to have a workers’ compensation attorney to file a claim, but having one will definitely increase the chances of your claim being successful.

An attorney will be able to guide you through the process and advise you on the different steps and documents you need to give your claim the best chance of being successful.

If your claim has been denied, call Thomas Marchese. We can give you advice and we will improve the likelihood of your appeal being successful.