If you suffer an on-the-job injury in Ohio that requires medical attention, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. It’s not always easy to get the reliable information you need about filing a claim. Supervisors, HR reps, doctors, and friends might all be giving you conflicting advice about what to do. It’s important that you understand the process of filing a worker’s comp claim so that you can improve your chances of getting the wage replacement and medical benefits you need.
State-Funded vs. Self-Insured Employers
A little background: In Ohio, most workers’ compensation matters involve the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Some involve self-insured employers. Regardless of whether an injured Ohioan is employed by a state-funded employer (i.e., an employer who pays into and obtains coverage for work injuries through the BWC) or a self-insured employer (large employers who must apply and be granted the privilege of administering and paying claims directly), claims are filed the same way.
Who Can File a Claim?
Claims can be filed by the injured worker, his employer, the treating physician, an authorized representative (i.e., an attorney or union representative), or another designee. Managed care organizations (MCOs) and medical providers can also file claims. The party filing the claim completes a First Report of Injury (FROI) and mails it or delivers it in person to any BWC service office. The FROI can also be completed on the BWC website.
According to the BWC, most Ohio workers’ compensation claims are filed by the MCO after being notified of the work-related injury or occupational disease by the healthcare provider (i.e., the hospital emergency room, your treating physician, or urgent care facility) or the employer. A claim may have been filed by the healthcare provider if treatment has occurred. To determine whether a claim has already been filed, you may contact the BWC.
What Happens Next?
Once the BWC has received the claim, you will get a notification letter with the claim number and the name of the BWC Customer Service Specialist assigned to the claim. You should get this letter within a few days of filing the claim. The BWC then begins investigating the claim and obtaining information. The BWC has up to 28 days to decide whether to allow or deny a claim. Denied or disputed claims may be appealed and scheduled for a hearing before the Industrial Commission of Ohio.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Generally speaking, the sooner your claim is filed after your injury, the better it is for you. It is never a good idea to wait weeks or months to submit a FROI; however, the BWC does allow you some time. For injuries occurring on or after September 29, 2017, you have one year to file a notice of injury with the BWC or Industrial Commission. Statutes of limitations for an occupational disease are a little more complicated. If you are suffering from an illness caused by exposure in the workplace, you have two years from the most recent of the following:
- The date you were first diagnosed with an occupation-related disease
- The date you first received medical treatment for such the disease
- The date you first stopped working due to the disease
It can sometimes take time for an injury or illness to become apparent, which is why you have a year or two to file. However, as soon as you are aware of an injury or occupational disease, you should file right away. If you are having any issues with your employer, medical provider, or the BWC, it’s probably time to call a workers’ comp attorney.
When You Should Speak With a Workers' Compensation Attorney
You always have the option to seek out expert legal advice to ensure that your Ohio workers’ compensation claim runs smoothly. At Monast Law Office, our legal team can handle every aspect of your work injury claim, from helping you file to making sure your paperwork is complete and correct to speaking with your employer and the BWC on your behalf. Contact our Columbus workers' compensation lawyer today for guidance on your workers’ comp claim.