Each year, tens of thousands of Ohioans sustain work-related or on-the-job injuries. Fortunately, most workers injured on the job require only a trip to the emergency room for stitches or other treatment and result in no loss of wages or lost time from work.
Many workplace injuries, however, result in temporary or permanent disability. They may require ongoing medical treatment and result in temporary or permanent wage loss. Even injuries that seem minor at first may persist and worsen to become more than merely an inconvenience but instead very debilitating.
1) Report your Injury:
A common mistake people make often is failing to report their work injury soon after it occurs. I’m talking about injuries that aren’t life-threatening or where bones are jutting out of the skin, in which case the priority is getting to an emergency room or hospital soon.
More common is the situation where someone feels sudden back pain after lifting, for example, and figures it’ll just go away by the next morning or in a day or two. When it doesn’t, they may finally mention something to their supervisor or to a co-worker. Although Ohio law provides a year (and sometimes longer) to file a workers’ compensation injury claim, most company policies specify that a work injury be reported (usually via a written incident report) right away. A delay of even a few days will likely result in your employer contesting the claim under the theory that, had the injury occurred at work as opposed to elsewhere, it would have been reported right away under their employment policies which, they will say, they’ve gone over with you often.
Don’t count on a supervisor remembering that you told them about your injury; supervisors often have a way of conveniently forgetting any such conversations. Prepare the incident report and get it signed on the day of the work-related accident. Every day that passes before the First Report of Injury (FROI-1) or employer incident report is completed increases the speculation that your injury didn’t happen on the job.
2) Get Medical Treatment When Possible:
Seek medical treatment soon after the injury occurs. Depending upon the severity of the injury, you may make an appointment with your family doctor, go to an Urgent Care or Occupational Health facility or to the nearest emergency room. Provide as detailed history of injury as you can to the emergency squad, nurse and/or doctor. Tell them what happened, what hurts and where. Tell them that the injury happened on the job as the health providers will know to submit the proper paperwork directly to the Ohio BWC or to your self-insured employer. As for follow-up care, know that not all family doctors treat work-related injuries as they must be Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) certified health providers.
3) Include Appropriate Paperwork When Possible:
File appropriate paperwork soon. Although the FROI-1 is often filed by the health provider, it is best to follow up with your employer’s benefits department and/or human resources personnel and with the BWC to make sure it has been filed. The employer is required to complete a portion of the FROI-1, although this may be done after the FROI-1 is filed with the BWC. The sooner you file, the sooner you will likely receive your benefits. After your claim has been filed, the BWC will send you an identification card with your claim number as well as other items.
You should keep a folder for all correspondence and medical records concerning your claim and carry the ID card in your wallet or purse. You will need to provide the information on the card to your health provider and pharmacy. As an attorney certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in the practice of Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law, I have handled thousands of injury claims since being licensed in 1985. Call The Monast Law Office today to discuss your injuries.