If you recently got hurt on the job or know someone injured at work, you might be learning more about the Ohio workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation claims go through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). You may have heard workers’ comp claims are an “exclusive remedy” in Ohio as well as in other states across the country. You also might be wondering what an exclusive remedy is and how it will affect the claims process.
We will provide you with some essential information concerning workers’ compensation as an exclusive remedy, but you should seek advice about your specific case from an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney.
What is an Exclusive Remedy?
When someone says workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy, what does that mean? In short, it is — in most situations — the only remedy available for workers hurt on the job or suffered a job-related illness. What is the reason for this? Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, the logic is an injured worker should be able to obtain compensation for a workplace injury regardless of any fault in causing the workers’ injury.
This “no-fault system” results in workers’ compensation being an exclusive remedy. An employee does not have to worry if they were negligent in causing their own injuries; it also means the employee will not need to go through a process to prove the employer was negligent.
Since workers’ compensation is a no-fault, exclusive remedy, however, the employee typically cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent employer.
This is what the exclusive remedy means — the workers’ compensation benefits are commonly the only remedy regardless of whether someone was negligent in causing the injuries.
Exceptions to the Exclusive Remedy of Workers’ Compensation
Generally speaking, there are two different types of situations that are exceptions to workers’ compensation benefits being the exclusive remedy for a workplace accident.
First, in some cases, an employee may be able to sue an employer who intentionally caused the employee’s injury. Although relatively recent case law from the Ohio Supreme Court makes clear these types of cases are few and far between, an intentional act committed by an employer could allow an injured employee to file a lawsuit for an intentional tort.
The second type of situation, which is more common, is a situation in which a third-party caused the worker’s injury. In other words, someone outside the workplace — i. e., a driver of a vehicle crashes into a construction site on the highway, or a manufacturer of a defective machine part — bears responsibility for the worker’s injury. In these scenarios, the injured worker may file a personal injury lawsuit against that third party.
Learn More from an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have questions about your options for compensation after a workplace injury, an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer can discuss your case with you today. Contact Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg, Co., LPA for more information.