You fell off a ladder, twisted your back lifting a heavy load, or slipped on spilled fluids in a patient's room. What do you do now? First, get the medical care you need. Second, report your injury. How should you do that? Read on to discover.
Injuries Must Be Reported to the BWC
In Ohio, unless your employer is self-insured, your workers' compensation matter will be handled by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), so you must notify them of your work injury to start the claim process. You do this by completing and submitting to the BWC a form called "First Report of Injury" or FROI-1.
These forms are available online at OHIOBWC.com, at your doctor's office or hospital, and from your employer's human resource department. The FROI-1 may be completed by hand and submitted to your local BWC office in person, to your employer's benefits department, where it may be forwarded to the BWC via fax, or online at OHIOBWC.com. Health providers may also submit the injury report electronically or via fax to your employer's Managed Care Organization (MCO) or to the BWC.
What Information Do I Need to Provide on the FROI-1?
The information required on the FROI-1 is similar to that needed for a short- or long-term disability application or an application for Social Security Disability. You must describe how and where the accident occurred and indicate the part of the body injured. You will also explain when you reported the injury to your employer and when and where you sought medical treatment.
The BWC may contact the treating doctor or hospital for additional diagnostic information and for copies of the treatment records if this information is not submitted with the injury report. Once you receive medical attention, if you haven't already, let your employer know you have filed a claim.
What to Do If Your Employer Is Self-Insured
If your employer is self-insured, it must report to the BWC all claims for workplace injuries resulting in seven or more days lost wages. Regardless, it is still a good idea to follow up with the BWC to make sure the claim application has been filed so an official record of the injury is in the system and a claim number may be assigned.
Although the BWC is not a party to disputed claims involving self-insured employers, it is still responsible for assigning claim numbers to injuries (a number you must provide to all health providers who treat you for your on-the-job injury) and maintaining at least a minimal electronic file on your claim.
What Kinds of Injuries Should Be Reported?
Any injury beyond a paper cut should be reported to your employer. Most workplaces have a policy requiring this. If you need medical attention for an injury, fill out the FROI-1 form, regardless of how serious you think the injury is. It does not matter if the accident that caused your injury was your fault or the fault of unsafe conditions. Common workplace injuries that lead to workers' comp claims include:
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Occupational diseases
- Many more
If your employer discourages you from reporting your injury to the BWC, you might need to talk to a workers' comp lawyer. In addition, if your claim is denied, a lawyer can help with a successful appeal.
Call Monast Law Office for Help
Usually submitting your FROI-1 form and following up with medical care is all you need to do to get the worker's comp benefits to which you are entitled. However, when something goes wrong, it's best to consult a lawyer to make sure you have the strongest claim for benefits. I have been helping injured Ohioans with workers' comp applications and appeals for over 30 years. If you are getting pushback from your employer or have been denied by the BWC, call my office for help.