Under Ohio workers' compensation law, coverage might be denied based on the circumstances under which an injury occurred, but most types of injuries are considered for coverage. Exceptions to this rule include most mental health conditions, pre-existing conditions, and disabilities caused by natural deterioration. If there is a causal relationship between the duties of your employment and the physical injury or illness you have sustained, you should be eligible for workers' comp coverage, no matter what the injury is.
Most Ohio workers' comp claims can be handled by the injured worker and their employer without the help of a lawyer. However, if you have any difficulty with your employer, managed care organization, or the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), calling an Ohio workers' comp attorney could be a smart move to protect your right to benefits.
Types of Injuries That Are Covered by Ohio Workers' Comp
Modern workplaces are full of hazards that can lead to serious injuries, even when workers are conscientious about safety. Falls, falling objects, exposure to toxins, equipment and machinery mishaps, ergonomic issues, and other risks cause over four million on-the-job injuries across the U.S. each year. Most of these injuries fall into one of these categories:
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Injuries affecting the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons are among the most common workplace injuries. Lower back strains, rotator cuff tears, tendinitis, repetitive strain injuries, pinched nerves, meniscus tears, and hernias can be caused by lifting heavy objects, falling, performing repetitive tasks, working long shifts on your feet, sitting in a non-ergonomic position, and other typical workplace activities.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Falling from a height, being hit by an object, or being in a motor vehicle or industrial machinery crash can cause a head injury that results in damage to the brain. TBIs can range from a mild to moderate concussion that will heal with isolation and rest to permanent brain damage causing lifelong disability.
- Fractures. A traumatic event such as a vehicle collision, forklift accident, violent assault, scaffold collapse, or fall could result in a broken bone. Depending on the bone and the level of fracture, these injuries can require months of healing time and can cause permanent limitations or disability.
- Occupational disease. Ohio maintains a schedule (or list) of diseases that are compensable when contracted by an employee in the course of employment. They include certain cancers, infections, and poisoning by substances such as anthrax, asbestos, lead, mercury, and arsenic. Certain types of jobs put workers at a higher risk of developing an occupational disease.
This is a sampling of the injuries that Ohio workers' comp covers after a workplace accident. The key to a successful claim is not in the injury you sustained but in proving that it happened in the course of your job duties and that it was serious enough to require medical treatment and, sometimes, time off work to recover.
Ohio Workers' Comp Is No-Fault Insurance
The Ohio workers' comp system rarely is concerned with how an injury occurred at work. Instead, they will want evidence it happened while you were performing duties required of your job. It shouldn't matter if you tripped on an untied shoelace and fell down the stairs. If you were on the stairs for a work-related reason, the injury you sustained in the fall should be covered by workers' comp. Likewise, if you were injured by a careless coworker or you fell off scaffolding that properly erected, you would most likely not have grounds to sue your employer for damages because your "damages" (medical bills and lost wages) would be covered by workers' comp. In this way, Ohio workers' compensation is like no-fault insurance coverage.
As straightforward as this sounds, there are often complications in these cases that require the help of an experienced Ohio workers' comp lawyer.