In addition to operating the largest state-funded workers’ compensation system in the country, Ohio is also home to millions of workers in the private sector who are covered by workers’ comp. Whether you work in the private or public sector, this guide is for you.
What to Do When an Accident Occurs
Workers’ compensation is a crucial component of employment in the Buckeye State. But what is workers’ comp? Workers’ compensation is a program that provides coverage for work-related injuries and illnesses for public and private sector employees. Workers’ compensation ensures an employee’s medical bills are covered and that the employee continues to receive income while recovering from an injury.
Ohio has a robust workers’ compensation system, but there are still steps that injured workers should take to protect their legal rights to workers’ compensation benefits:
- Report injuries immediately. Employers are responsible for worker safety and for filing workers’ compensation claims with the employer’s insurance company. But an employer won’t know to do this unless the worker informs them they are injured. If the injury is not an emergency, the worker should inform their employer they are injured, then see a doctor. In the case of an emergency, the worker should go to the ER immediately.
- Consult a doctor as soon as possible. A worker should see a doctor following a workplace injury as soon as possible. They may have to see a doctor approved by their workplace, and that’s fine, but it’s also a good idea to get a second opinion and see a doctor of the worker’s choosing. Getting a second evaluation from an independent doctor could mean more workers’ comp benefits in the long run.
- Consult an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney. As soon as they can, an injured employee should seek the counsel of a workers’ compensation attorney. Attorneys have experience handling workers’ comp claims, and they can advise injured workers on how best to proceed to maximize workers’ comp benefits. Further, if an insurance company tries to avoid providing full compensation for a worker’s injury, an Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer can represent the worker and ensure they get the benefits they are due.
- File an accident report. Once a doctor has assessed the injury and the worker has sought legal advice, the worker should file an accident report. There are deadlines by which a worker must report a workplace accident, which is why an injured worker should report their accident immediately. Even if an injury isn’t noticeable right away, filing an accident report protects the worker in the long run, should symptoms or harmful after-effects of the accident crop up weeks or months later.
- Seek compensation. In Ohio, employees usually can’t sue their employers over workplace injuries. The flip side is that they don’t have to prove that the employer’s negligence caused an accident. Employees could be compensated for workplace injuries even if the employee’s own negligence caused the accident. That’s why it’s always best to seek compensation through the workers’ comp program.
- Follow workplace rules during the claim. Workers’ comp does not usually cover injuries connected to drugs, alcohol, horseplay, or physical altercations with other employees. An employer may ask an injured employee to submit to drug tests. Employees should follow workers’ comp rules when filing their claims.
Benefits of Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation attorneys in Ohio often provide free consultations, which can be immensely helpful in determining how an injured employee should proceed in filing their workers’ comp claim. If the injury was minor, if the employer admits the injury happened at work, if the worker missed little or no work time due to the injury, they might not need an attorney’s help, but it’s still a good idea to get a second opinion.
However, in the following scenarios, an injured worker absolutely should seek legal counsel:
- The employer’s settlement does not cover all lost wages and/or medical bills.
- The employee receives or plans to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
- The employer denies the worker’s claim and/or does not pay benefits promptly.
- The employee’s boss retaliates against the employee for filing a worker’s comp claim.
- The injury resulted from a third party’s actions or from an employer’s serious misconduct.
- As a general rule, the moment any complexity arises in a workers’ comp claim, the worker should hire an attorney.
- The employee’s medical issues prevent them from returning to the job, limit them in what they can do at the job, or prevent them from performing any work (permanent disability).
An experienced workers' compensation lawyer in Ohio will know how and when to file claim forms and how to operate within workers’ comp deadlines. They will also know how to gather evidence, negotiate effectively, and write settlement agreements to avoid any attempts by other parties to prevent the injured worker from receiving their full benefits.
Ohio Workers’ Compensation Resources
In addition to legal representation, there are numerous online resources for workers. Employees can utilize these resources to educate themselves on how best to act in the event of a workplace injury:
When in Doubt, Seek Free Information from NRS Injury Law
NRS Injury Law offers free consultations. If an accident or workplace injury occurs, call 855.977.6670 or fill out an online appointment request form.
 BWC. “Workers’ Compensation.” Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, 2022. ohio.gov
 Ohio University. “Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.” Ohio University, 2022. ohio.edu
 AG. “History of Workers’ Compensation.” Ohio Attorney General, 2022. ohioattorneygeneral.gov
 BWC. “Injured Worker Glossary.” Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, 2022. bwc.ohio.gov