Answers to Workers’ Compensation Questions From a Columbus Attorney

Could you be fired for filing for workers’ comp? Can an employer refuse to provide workplace injury compensation? Get fast answers to your injury questions by browsing our work injury FAQ page.

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  • General Workers' Compensation Claim FAQs

    Columbus employees and workers throughout Ohio who suffer injuries on the job normally have many questions running through their mind. Here we have provided many answers to common questions we are asked regarding general claim information. We have also provided many questions and answers regarding medical treatment and receiving compensation.

    Who files an Ohio workers’ compensation claim?

    You do! When an injury occurs at work, immediately report the accident to your employer.  They are supposed to help you file the claim with the company’s Managed Care Organization (MCO). Reporting the claim online at ohiobwc.com is the Bureau’s preferred way of filing a claim. When you file a claim online, you will immediately receive a claim number. Learn more about filing a claim if you have already seen a doctor.

    Do I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?

    Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. Workers' compensation laws are very complex and it is sensible to work with an experienced Columbus workers compensation attorney. It really does depend on your individual situation. Please call our office at (614) 334-4649.

    What kind of injuries are covered by workers’ compensation?

    In Ohio, workers’ compensation covers physical injuries sustained in the course of and arising out of employment. Pre-existing physical conditions substantially aggravated by a work injury/incident may also be covered. Psychiatric/psychological conditions that develop from or, if pre-existing, are substantially aggravated by physical injuries are also covered. Ohio is one of a minority of states that does NOT recognize as compensable psychiatric/psychological conditions that develop without a corresponding physical injury.

    Do I need an attorney for my workers’ comp case in Columbus?

    Not all claims involve serious injuries and not all claims need attorney involvement. If an injury is relatively minor, requiring maybe a trip to the emergency room and a stitch or two with no residual impairment, it may go through without a hitch. It’s likely you will want to talk with a Columbus attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation claims if your injury is serious, will likely involve lost-time from work, and/or is being contested by your employer and/or the BWC. Learn more

    How do I claim workers' compensation in Columbus? 

    Ohio workers' compensation form

    First, report the injury to your Columbus or Ohio employer in writing. While reporting in writing isn’t a legal requirement, doing so documents your actions and lessens the possibility that your claim will be contested. Second, seek medical attention from an urgent care facility, hospital emergency room, company nurse, or doctor soon. Provide a complete history of what you were doing, how you were injured, and where it hurts. Third, if you are claiming workers’ compensation, file your claim promptly. The time you have to file a claim is limited by the statute of limitations. Your hospital or employer may furnish necessary paperwork and even file the claim for you, but it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your claim is filed with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and a claim number is assigned.

    How long does it take to process a workers’ compensation claim?

    Within 28 days, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will allow or deny your claim. By responding to any inquiries from them or from your managed care organization (MCO), you will speed up the decision process and receipt of benefits.

    What types of benefits will I receive?

    Injured workers in Ohio are eligible to receive medical treatment for their work-related injuries and compensation for their lost time from work. This compensation, known as Temporary Total Disability (TTD), is paid if the injury results in more than a week off work. If the lost time is less than a week, no compensation is payable. If it’s between one and two weeks, only the period during the second week is compensable. If over 2 weeks, it’s all paid.

    Temporary Total Disability compensation is paid based on a percentage of the worker’s earnings for one week, 6 weeks or 52 weeks prior to the injury, depending on how long the period of disability lasts. Injuries resulting in some permanent impairment may permit an additional award of compensation known as permanent partial disability.

    What is a C84?

    The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation requires Form C84 as proof of ongoing temporary total disability. The injured worker must complete the form, verifying the period of disability and that she has not worked and has not received other wages during the period of temporary total disability. These forms must be periodically updated for compensation to continue. Your doctor must complete a separate form certifying temporary total disability. Both forms are required before compensation can be paid.

    What’s a MEDCO-14?

    A MEDCO-14 is a Physician’s Report of Work Ability. Your doctor completes this form to certify that you are temporarily and totally disabled due to your work injury or to identify any restrictions on your ability to perform your job duties due to the injury. A MEDCO-14 must be submitted every time you submit a C-84.

    What is permanent partial disability?

    Permanent partial disability (PPD) is a form of compensation that may be payable following a work injury. It is paid by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or a self-insured employer following an exam (or sometimes multiple exams) at which a physician is asked to provide an opinion regarding lost bodily function that has resulted from an injury or occupational disease. It is workers’ compensation’s version of a damages award for an industrial injury. Time limitations may apply in requesting an award of PPD. In addition, the percentage of disability resulting from an injury may be disputed by the injured worker, the employer, and/or the BWC. In such situations, the Industrial Commission conducts a hearing to determine a proper award. This is differs from a settlement of your claim.

    If my injury happened at work, why is my employer denying treatment?

    Treatment may be denied by your employer, your managed care organization (MCO), or the BWC if excessive, inappropriate, or not cost-effective. MCOs may deny treatment they consider too expensive, even if it is treatment your doctor believes is beneficial. You may appeal decisions denying treatment that your doctor believes appropriate.

    What if my employer tells me not to file a workers' compensation claim?

    Penalties may be assessed against employers who fail to provide workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer tells you not to file a claim for a work-related injury, maybe s/he tried to cut costs by not obtaining the mandatory workers’ compensation coverage. Reporting the injury would notify the BWC of the employer’s non-compliance. It could also be the employer has had so many claims filed against them they fear the BWC will increase their insurance premiums.

    Injured employees are still covered by the workers’ compensation system even if their employer is non-complying, so it is still best to file a claim. Learn more

    Can I appeal a denied workers' compensation claim?

    The BWC has 28 days to allow or deny your claim. If you or your employer disagrees with BWC’s decision, either party can file an appeal with the Industrial Commission (IC) within 14 days.

    There are three hearing levels for workers’ claims at the IC:

    District level hearings — These take place in locations throughout Ohio within 45 days of filing an appeal. The district hearing officer will decide within seven days. The IC sends both parties a written notice of the hearing officer’s decision. Each party has 14 days from receipt of the district hearing officer’s decision to file an appeal to the next level.

    Staff level hearings — These take place within 45 days after an appeal of the district hearing officer’s decision is filed. The staff hearing officer will decide within seven days. The IC will send each party a written notice of the staff hearing officer’s decision. Each party has 14 days from receiving the staff hearing officer’s decision to file an appeal to the next level.

    • The commission level — After studying the staff hearing officer’s decision, the commission either agrees to hear the appeal or refuses to permit further appeal. If the commission accepts the appeal, a commission hearing will occur within 45 days. The commission will decide within seven days. If the commission refuses to hear the appeal, depending upon the issue, you may appeal the matter to the court within 60 days after receipt of the commission order. Learn more about your options if your workers' comp claim has been denied.

  • Medical Treatment FAQs

    Woman receiving medical treatment for work injury

    It only takes a split second for an accident at work to turn a person’s life upside-down as the medical bills roll in. We've aimed to answer all of your questions regarding receiving the medical treatment you need. If you still have questions about workers' compensation or receiving medical treatment, please contact our office at (614) 334-4649. We've also answered many FAQs regarding general claim info and receiving compensation.

    Who approves treatment?

    Requests for treatment are submitted by your doctor to the MCO assigned to your case. If your employer is self-insured, requests are sent to your employer’s TPA (third-party administrator). The MCO or TPA may request additional information from your doctor or a medical review before approving the treatment. Denials of treatment may be appealed.

    Can I go to my family doctor?

    An injured Ohio worker may be treated by a doctor of his choice, as long as the doctor is a BWC-certified healthcare provider. Often, family doctors do not treat job-related injuries because they are concerned about the paperwork involved and/or the hassles associated with claims procedures. Your family doctor refer you to a BWC-certified provider. You can also ask for recommendations from co-workers, your union representative, your attorney, or other people who have received treatment for a work injury. The BWC and your MCO also maintain lists of physicians who treat industrial injuries.

    I want to change doctors. How?

    You may decide to change physicians for a variety of reasons, ranging from the retirement of the provider, travel distance, or a desire for a different treatment option. Injured workers who wants to change physicians should notify the MCO and submit BWC Form C23. If your employer is self-insured, this form should be sent directly to the employer or its TPA.

    I can’t get my prescriptions filled. What should I do?

    Your pharmacist can explain why payment for a prescription is denied. It may be a coding error or a concern that the medication is inappropriate. Your doctor can provide additional information regarding the need for and the propriety of the medication. If the bill was denied pending the allowance of the claim, you will be reimbursed once your claim is allowed. Keep all receipts for medications and treatment related to your injury if you need to request reimbursement.

    What is MMI?

    Temporary total disability (TTD) compensation is payable following an on-the-job injury until the injured worker is released to return to her former job, actually returns to that job, or is determined to have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI indicates that the injury has reached a treatment plateau under the current treatment regimen, meaning it has gotten about as good as it will get! Although temporary benefits are no longer payable if the condition is no longer improving, other forms of compensation may be available for injured workers whose TTD has been terminated after a finding that their condition has reached MMI.

    Why do I have to wait for treatment? I just want to get back to work!

    During the initial processing period (i.e., when the Ohio BWC or your employer is deciding whether to allow or contest the claim), physicians may be reluctant to provide treatment, as there is no guarantee they will be paid. Some doctors will provide treatment, pending the allowance of the claim, expectating the claim will be allowed or that you have other means of paying (for example, other insurance) should the claim be disallowed. While your claim is considered, avoid large unpaid medical bills you may have to pay should your claim be disallowed. Once the claim is allowed, providers (other than pharmacies) who have treated you for the job-related injury should submit their bills to your MCO.

    What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

    An independent medical examination (IME) is a medical evaluation scheduled by the BWC or employer's representative to opine about various medical issues related to your claim, including, but not limited to, whether treatment or testing is necessary, the degree of your permanent impairment and whether you have reached MMI. When scheduled by an employer, I believe it more accurate to describe this as a DME: Defense Medical Exam. Employers hire the same doctors over and over to render medical opinions on their behalf--they are not "independent".

    How will I know if a doctor is certified by BWC?

    The simplest way is to ask your doctor when you make the initial appointment. You may also call the employer's MCO, the BWC at 1-800-644-6292, or research BWC certified providers (by name, location and/or specialty) at the BWC's website.

    How do I get my medical bills paid?

    Medical bills should be payable in an allowed claim. Give your claim number to all of your medical providers who treat you in your claim. They will then request authorization for the medical treatment they request from the MCO.

    What should I do if I get medical bills?

    You should forward the bills to your MCO or self-insured employer. Unpaid bills can be appealed to the BWC for further investigation.

    Can I get reimbursed for prescriptions?

    Like medical bills, prescriptions for allowed conditions in your claim should be payable in an allowed claim. Inform your pharmacist that the prescription is for a workers' compensation claim.  You may need to pay for the initial prescription, but if the BWC determines the medicine was for the allowed conditions, you will be reimbursed.

    Obviously, you are responsible for any bill or prescription that the BWC determines is not related to your claim.

     

  • Compensation FAQs

    Workers who suffer injuries on the job normally have many questions running through their mind. Here we have provided answers to the questions we are commonly asked. We have also provided many questions and answers regarding medical treatment and general questions.

    When will I get paid? How much will I be paid?

    Filing a claim doesn’t guarantee payment of compensation or benefits. Your claim may be denied or disputed by the BWC or your employer. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has 28 days from claim filing to accept or deny a claim. Learn about your options if your claim has been denied. Compensation won’t be paid until a claim is allowed.

    The amount you are paid depends in part on how long you cannot work. The Ohio BWC or a self-insured employer will calculate your earnings prior to your injury, and you will be paid a percentage of those wages. The wage calculation and rate of payment often change, depending upon how long you cannot work. Wages may be set too low, and in these cases we can request an adjustment to consider special circumstances, periods of unemployment, or additional wage information, including wages from a second job.

    How long will I be paid for the work I miss?

    Generally, you could be compensated until you are released to return to your former job, actually return to that job, or are determined to have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

    How is the money I am paid determined?

    Your benefits are based on the money you earned working for the year prior to injury. Your Full Weekly Wage (FWW) is determined by the greater of your gross wages (including overtime) earned over the 6 weeks prior to injury, divided by 6; or your gross wages (excluding overtime) for the 7 days before the injury. The first 12 weeks of temporary total disability (TTD) compensation will be paid at 72% of your FWW. Benefits after the first 12 weeks of TTD will be paid based on your Average Weekly Wage (AWW), which is generally calculated by taking your earnings from all employers for the year prior to the injury and dividing that amount by 52 weeks. Those benefits are paid at 66⅔% of your AWW.

    Can I ask for a settlement?

    This is an issue you should consult an attorney about. There may be factors you are not aware of, and an experienced attorney can help secure the maximum settlement amount. At a minimum, wait until you are sure you will have no further complications from your work injury. Most employers will not settle with an employee while they are still working there, as the risk of re-injury and a new claim is present.

    What happens if I go back to work after being deemed permanently and totally disabled?

    You will lose any permanent total disability (PTD) benefits and likely be charged with fraud if you collect PTD compensation while working (unless you are receiving statutory PTD). If you believe you have medically recovered to the point of returning to work, consult an attorney about options before you do.

    Do I still get any benefits when I return to work?

    There are other benefits that may be available after returning to work. For instance, you may be entitled to a Working Wage Loss if your injury prevents you from making the same salary as you did prior to the injury. This is something you should consult with an attorney about.

    Is any tax taken out of my benefits check?

    No. Workers' compensation benefits are tax-free.

    Why do my Worker's Comp checks come in for different amounts?

    The first 12 weeks of TTD compensation are paid at 72% of your FWW. After the first 12 weeks, it is paid at 66⅔% of your AWW. It is possible that, because of the day of the week a check is originally issued or other factors, a check may only cover a portion of the standard 2-week pay period. The period covered will be listed on the payment. You will receive the amount you are entitled to, and eventually, the checks will be for a consistent amount and released on a consistent basis.

    How long does it take for me to receive my benefits check?

    Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. It may take many weeks (and sometimes, months) before compensation is received after it is awarded.

  • How Long Does it Take to Get A Workers' Comp Settlement?

    I’m reminded of the old Scottish proverb “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” when reflecting on settlement timeframes. If wishing could only make things happen sooner….[Note: I am NOT equating injured workers with beggars, though I know the system sometimes makes you feel like one!]

    I mention the proverb because, at first blush, the timeframes for settlements of claims should seem fairly straightforward. And, sometimes, they are: once a settlement is reached and the paperwork filed with the BWC, the parties have to wait 30 days before the settlement is final and the check issued a few days later.

    That part about “once a settlement is reached”, now that’s the rub. I’ve written about determining fair settlements before. I’ve had settlements where an agreement is reached, all the documents signed and filed, and the check issued within 45-60 days. But, as my old Pappy used to say, those are “as rare as hens’ teeth”. (Actually, researchers say they have found a naturally occurring mutant chicken called Talpid with a complete set of ivories. But, I digress…).

    Workers' Comp Settlements Can Take Many Months

    More often, settlements take months…sometimes, many, many months. And, in my experience, larger settlements take longer because there’s lots involved. The more serious the injury, the more likely the need for ongoing medical treatment. Who’s going to pay for that treatment? Medicare doesn’t want to pay for treatment of work injuries once you’ve settled. They will require you establish a Medicare Set-Aside trust account [MSA] and put some of the settlement proceeds in that account. The set-aside amount has to be determined, usually by hiring a company to evaluate future costs of a claim over your lifetime and then submit that figure (presuming the parties agree with it) to Medicare for approval. This takes from 3 months on up. (Actually, it’s quicker now than a few years ago where approval could take 9 months).

    PERS and SERS don’t yet require set-aside amounts, so settlement of claims involving folks who worked for public employers or the school system don’t require this step. However, the BWC will still insist on allocating a portion of the settlement proceeds to medical and prescription treatment. [Does this seem asinine? It is…].

    Another consideration is the time to negotiate a settlement. With the BWC, the players change depending upon the settlement amount. For example, BWC Claims Service Specialists may settle claims for up to certain dollar amounts. Above this, their supervisor has to sign off. Settlements up to $175,000 require approval by appointed BWC attorneys. Settlements above this amount have to go a special committee that meets only once a month.

    There’s a similar dynamic with self-insured employers, meaning you move further up the chain of command the higher the settlement. And large businesses sometimes have “excess carrier” coverage, meaning after a certain dollar amount has been spent, the excess insurance carrier gets involved in payments and, hence, any potential settlement. Large settlements are sometimes paid through annuities over many years, if the parties agree to this. It takes time to set these up.

    And all this presumes you have some basis for submitting a particular settlement demand. For example, a twenty-something with high wages, a devastating injury that will likely remove her from the workforce and require extensive ongoing treatment (frankly, a case I’d rarely recommend for settlement) is worth lots of money. But (1) the BWC will never offer as much as the case is actually worth and (2) much of the settlement will end up in an MSA. However, if the employer is self-insured and the client insists on pursuing a settlement, there will be time delays because

    1. the initial settlement evaluation must be done and a demand submitted;
    2. the other side responds with its offer;
    3. the parties go back and forth. If they tentatively agree on an amount,
    4. an MSA must obtained. This involves getting copies of medical records and bills for the past few years to project future costs. The MSA analysis, once done, is
    5. submitted to the Center for Medicare Studies (CMS) for approval. After approximately 90 days, CMS responds whether they believe the MSA adequately protects Medicare’s interests. If so, then...
    6. settlement paperwork is drafted, reviewed, agreed upon and sent to all parties for signatures. It’s then...
    7. filed with the Industrial Commission which has 30 days to review and dismiss the settlement. If they don’t act or object to the settlement as unfair, payment is made after the 30 days expire. While there’s no enforceable rule on how soon the settlement check is to be released after expiration of the 30 days, it’s typically one to two weeks.

    So, how long does this settlement process take?

    Well, I’ve had some settlements take one and a half years for the process to run its course.

    The point is the part leading to filing the paperwork usually takes lots of time. In simpler cases (generally smaller ones involving the BWC, as opposed to a self-insured employer where an MSA analysis by an outside company is involved), the settlement process typically takes around four to six months from initial settlement workup, to filing paperwork, to BWC analysis and offer, negotiation and final agreement, to submission of final paperwork, the thirty day waiting period, and issuance of the check. The process is often quicker if an agreement has been reached with a state-funded employer where the claim is still in its experience-rating period as the BWC usually approves these if not obviously fishy. Still, look for two to three months.

    In court settlements, there is no thirty-day requirement. However, getting paperwork prepared, signed by all parties and filed by the parties is often ridiculously slower than it should be. In my experience, finalization of the settlement in these cases, which should take less than 30 days between agreement and issuance of a check, takes three months or more.

    The quicker you get your part of the process completed, the quicker the settlement will be finalized… presumably. But the other parties (the BWC and the employer) may not move as fast (they move faster at certain times of year, such as when premiums are being recalculated). While this is frustrating, eventually the matter will be resolved. Patience is essential. Remember another saying: The best time to plant an Oak tree is 50 years ago; the next best time is now.

  • I was injured while doing volunteer work. Am I covered by workers’ comp?

    workers' comp for volunteersUnfortunately, despite the generous gift of your time and effort, you're not covered by workers’ compensation while performing non-emergency volunteer services for a private company or a non-profit organization, including a church.

    In Ohio, employers are required by law to carry workers’ comp for their paid employees, but not for voluntary workers.

    There's One Exception

    The only exception to this rule is for volunteer emergency services providers who work for a public employer, such as a school, township, or village. This includes volunteer firefighters, police officers, or emergency medical technicians.

    Public employers must purchase workers’ comp insurance for any volunteer emergency service providers working for them, and may also elect to buy coverage for volunteers performing non-emergency services or for workers completing community service hours instead of a fine or jail sentence.

    If you're injured while volunteering for a public employer, ask about its workers’ comp policy.

    However, volunteers who provide emergency services to private employers aren't covered by workers’ comp. Private employers and non-profit organizations may purchase additional coverage for volunteers under their general liability insurance policy, but this isn't a form of workers’ compensation.

    Something Else Volunteers Should Think About

    Another question I sometimes get is whether you can volunteer work while collecting workers’ comp benefits. The answer to this depends on your medical restrictions.

    If you're on temporary total disability or permanent total disability because you're unable to work due to a job-related injury or illness, you shouldn't perform physical labor of any kind—including as a volunteer. Doing so could jeopardize your benefits. Just because you're not paid for the work doesn't mean you're cleared to do it.

    Call Me With Questions

    If you have questions about workers’ comp coverage in Ohio, please call my office. We're happy to talk to you about your status as a volunteer or to discuss what volunteer work you may be able to do while receiving workers’ comp benefits.

     

  • Am I entitled to benefits if my loved one died at work?

    Workers' comp survivor benefitsUnfortunately, workplace fatalities happen in Ohio. In 2016, 164 workers died on the job here. Transportation accidents, violence, falls, and exposure to harmful substances combined to account for 85 percent of on-the-job deaths.

    If you lost a spouse or parent due to a workplace accident, you might be entitled to compensation through the workers’ compensation system.

    Types of Compensation Following a Worker’s Death

    The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) offers two types of benefits, depending upon the circumstances of death. If your loved one passed away while collecting temporary total or permanent partial disability, you might be owed accrued compensation. If your spouse or parent dies on the job, or even years later as the result of a work injury, you yourself may be eligible for workers' comp death benefits. 

    Here’s how each type of compensation works:

    • Accrued compensation. If your loved one is collecting workers’ comp because of an allowed injury or occupational disease and dies—no matter what the cause of death is—the BWC will pay his or her dependents the unpaid portion of his compensation award. This money may be paid to dependents, providers of services related to the death, or the deceased's estate. An application for accrued compensation must be submitted to the BWC within two years of the death date.
       
    • Death benefits. Ongoing death benefits are available to the surviving spouse and children under age 18, full-time students, and mentally or physically disabled dependents. The BWC divides the available benefits among all eligible dependents, and benefits continue for as long as these dependents qualify. Medical and funeral expenses are also covered up to $5,500. Dependents must apply to the BWC for these benefits.

    Your loved one worked hard to take care of you during his or her lifetime. These benefits are available to help a deceased individual continue to provide for family members.

    How I May Be Able to Help

    As a workers’ compensation attorney in Ohio, I help injured workers get the benefits they deserve when they're injured or become ill at work. I also help their eligible survivors receive financial support when their loved one has died. For more information and a personalized assessment of your claim, contact us to begin your initial consultation.

    We understand this is a challenging time for you, but we think you'll find we're easy to talk to and will help you navigate your legal situation, even if it turns out you don't need a lawyer. Meanwhile, request our free guide to Ohio workers’ compensation. Read this before you hire anyone.

     

  • How are automotive assembly workers injured?

    Workers' comp for automotive employeesJobs at automotive assembly plants—such as the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio—pay well and offer excellent benefits. Because of this, these jobs are often highly sought after. However, individuals doing this work for some time know on-the-job injuries are relatively common.

    If you're one of the 14,000 autoworkers at Honda or an employee for another automotive manufacturer, learn about how injuries occur and when you might be eligible for workers’ compensation.

    Common Assembly Plant Injuries

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of four out of every 100 autoworkers is injured badly enough each year to require days away from the job, restricted duty, or transfer. At Honda in Ohio alone, that would mean approximately 400 workers each year.

    The most commonly reported injuries in auto plants include:

    • Sprains, strains, and tears
    • Bruises and contusions
    • General soreness and pain
    • Cuts and lacerations
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Fractures
    • Traumatic injury

    The most common accidents in auto plants include contact with an object, overexertion, slips, trips, and falls, and repetitive motions.

    When Do You Qualify for Workers’ Comp?

    If your injury occurred in the course and scope of employment, workers’ comp covers the costs of medical treatment. If your injury forces you to miss at least 14 consecutive work days, you also may be eligible for wage replacement benefits.

    Certain types of injuries—such as soft tissue injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome—are harder to document and prove than others. If your employer is making you feel like you're faking an injury, or their "line side review" concludes your condition just can't be work-related, you may need the help of an experienced workers’ comp attorney.

    At Monast Law Office, we understand the stress and strain of automotive assembly jobs and will help you get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. If dedicated service to your employer has caused a severe injury, call us today to schedule a free consultation in our Upper Arlington office.

     

  • Can I get workers’ comp if I was injured at a temp job over the holidays?

    Yes. Under Ohio workers’ compensation law, employers required to carry workers’ comp insurance must provide coverage to all of their employees, including those who work part-time or who were hired on a temporary basis.

    workers' comp for part-time employeesAt certain times of year, many Columbus-area companies bring on additional workers to manage an increased workload, and the jobs they do can be stressful and demanding.

    Whether you're a college student working over winter break or someone taking on an additional job to earn extra money, if you're injured in the course of your employment, you may collect workers’ comp benefits.
     

    Seasonal Workers Are at Risk of Injury

    Given the reasons companies hire seasonal workers, not surprisingly, individuals are at particular risk for on-the-job injuries. Crowded malls and stores, increased online orders, expanded deliveries, and special seasonal sales push employers to add to their workforces in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In this rush, companies often fail to adequately train their temp workers, putting them at risk of injury.

    Typical seasonal jobs include working at:

    • Order fulfillment centers. Companies such as Amazon add hire over 100,000 seasonal employees across the U.S. to help with holiday demand. Individuals in fulfillment centers can work long hours doing strenuous tasks.
    • Christmas tree lots. Seasonal workers cut down trees, transport them, and load them on top of cars often in cold temperatures. They can suffer sprain and strain injuries, and more severe falls and power tool accidents.
    • Stockrooms. Major retailers such Target and Wal-Mart must keep inventory moving from delivery trucks to the store floor. They often do this by hiring temporary night staff to unload products and stock shelves.
    • Restaurants. Wait staff members and kitchen workers are pushed to their limits during the busy holiday season, and untrained temp workers may be brought in to help. Inexperienced restaurant workers can experience slip and falls, knife accidents, and back injuries.
    • Stores and malls. Temporary retail workers are often given the worst jobs during the holiday season, including stocking shelves, working door security, and cleaning after closing. These tasks can lead to severe injuries.

    Don’t Be Bullied by a Temporary Employer

    If you're injured while working a temporary seasonal job, it’s vital that you report the injury to your employer and seek medical care. If you encounter any resistance—including being told that you can’t file for workers’ comp because you're a temporary employee, or being accused of faking an injury—contact me soon. Don't stand for employers lying to you or about you.

     

     

  • Why was my workers’ comp claim for a hernia denied?

    When a workers' comp claim for hernia is deniedWhen a workers’ comp claim is denied in Ohio, it's usually because the applicant failed to prove the injury happened at work, and that it's severe enough to warrant benefits.

    This could be a particular problem if you're applying for benefits for a hernia injury because the symptoms of a hernia are often vague enough it can be difficult to connect it to a workplace incident.

    However, if your hernia occurred while you were on the job and you're unable to work because of the injury for at least 14 consecutive days, you qualify for workers’ comp in Ohio. Let’s take a look.

    What Is a Hernia?

    A hernia is a general term for when an internal organ or fatty tissue squeezes through an opening or weak spot in the muscle or connective tissue that usually contains it. Hernias usually occur in the abdominal cavity, but can also happen in the groin, upper thigh, or belly button area.

    You may experience symptoms such as the following:

    • A bulge or lump in the affected area.
    • Pain or discomfort.
    • Weakness or pressure in the abdomen.
    • A burning or aching sensation at the site of the bulge.

    Doctors can usually diagnose a hernia with a physical examination. If a hernia is growing larger or causing pain, surgery to repair the tissue may be required.

    When Did Your Hernia Happen?

    The sticking point regarding qualification for workers’ comp benefits due to a hernia is whether the injury happened performing your job duties. Similar to heart attacks and strokes, it's challenging to make a direct connection between the injury or illness and your job.

    Because hernias are often caused by physical strain, it's possible that yours happened suddenly when you lifted a heavy object; or was produced over time by repeated strenuous activity. It will be essential to your claim to do these things:

    • If you feel a sharp pain in your abdomen or groin while lifting something at work, report it to a supervisor and see a doctor.
    • If you first notice the bulge or lump when you're not at work, try to recall what you were doing at work that may have caused a hernia.
    • See a doctor soon for a thorough exam. Tell him or her you believe the injury is work-related.
    • Complete an incident report at work and explain what happened.

    As with any workplace accident, it's vital that you report the injury, see a doctor, and document everything.

    We Can Answer Your Questions

    If you were denied workers’ comp for a hernia, or are having trouble getting accurate information from your employer, call us at Monast Law Office. We've handled lots of hernias (so to speak), can answer your questions and help you get on the right path to workers’ compensation approval. 

     

  • I got hurt on the job working for a subcontractor without workers’ compensation coverage. What do I do??

    Construction worker on Columbus job siteOhio Revised Code §4123.01(A) treats general or prime contractors as the employer of workers hired by subcontractors or independent contractors who have failed to obtain coverage as required by law or who have permitted their coverage to lapse, unless the employees or their legal beneficiaries elected to regard the subcontractor as their employer.

    This means the general contractor is considered, as a matter of law, to be the employer of the injured employees of the subcontractor who failed to maintain coverage (unless the employees affirmatively elected to have the non-complying subcontractor treated as their employer). Claims for these injuries by the sub’s employees would be covered by the general.

    The Ohio Supreme Court upheld this provision as constitutional in 1932. This provision applies presuming both the general contractor and the subcontractor must have coverage. The few exceptions to the general requirement that all employers must provide workers’ compensation coverage are found in §4123.01.

    The general contractor’s risk includes the cost of claims brought by the subcontractor’s employees just as if they had been employed directly by the general contractor. S/he also remains liable for the subcontractor’s unpaid premium based on the subcontractor’s payroll. This provides an obvious incentive for general contractors to insure their subs have proper coverage. A devious self-employed subcontractor could elect to cover herself but permit her coverage to lapse by defaulting on her premiums and then recover against the general contractor. Just don’t try this trick against Tony Soprano or you may end up with cement shoes!