Ohio workers compensation can be a confusing and frustrating system for injured workers. Employers and their managed care organizations often have different interests and goals than injured workers. Injured workers just want to get the medical treatment needed to get better and the benefits the system provides to pay their bills. Employers and their managed care organizations, on the other hand, will try to minimize the costs associated with a worker’s compensation claim. That means they often deny legitimate claims and deny necessary treatment. They may argue that the injured worker is really not disabled and is not entitled to any benefits. They might even try to convince an injured employee to be seen and treated by the company doctor, not a doctor chosen by the worker. Employers and their representatives certainly do not believe it is not their job to advise injured workers, and they typically do not inform injured employees of what rights they have and what options are available to them.
Workers compensation claimants need a strong advocate, one who works for them and not for their employer. The lawyers at Livorno and Arnett Co., LPA, have represented injured workers, in Columbus and throughout Ohio, since 1986. We are honored to represent firefighters through the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters (OAPFF) Workers Compensation Attorney Panel, police officers through the Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council (FOP/OLC), and employees represented by the United Steelworkers of America (USWA).
We never represent employers. Call us if you have any questions about a claim. We do not charge for a consultation with an injured worker, and our fees are usually based on a contingency. We do not get paid unless we recover benefits for you.
For more information about Ohio workers compensation, review our Frequently Asked Questions on this topic:
Ohio Revised Code §4123.01(c) states in part that “‘Injury’ includes any injury, whether caused by external accidental means or accidental in character and result, received in the course of, and arising out of, the injured employee’s employment.” Occupational diseases are also covered.There are a number of injuries that are not included. The excluded injuries include the following:
An injury is generally not compensable if it is the result of horseplay which the injured worker instigated or participated in. However, an exception to the general rule prohibiting one from participating in workers’ compensation benefits may apply where the employee “is injured by horseplay commonly carried on by the employees with the knowledge and consent or acquiescence of the employer.”
Injuries should always be promptly reported to the employer, using the forms and procedures established for reporting injuries. Failure to report is often used as an argument by the employer that the injury did not actually happen, at least at work.The worker’s compensation claim is generally initiated by the filing of the First Report of Injury (FROI). Using the FROI is advisable, but not required so long as notice of the specific part or parts of the body claimed to have been injured is provided to the self-insuring employer, the OBWC or the OIC.An employer’s managed care organization or a medical provider may file the FROI as well. However, the injured worker should always verify that the claim is actually filed.
You can appeal a denial of your claim, but the appeal must be filed within the allotted time. Appeals are heard by the Ohio Industrial Commission. Hearings may be held in the following cities:
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §4123.651, an employer of a claimant may require, without the approval of the OBWC or OIC, that the claimant be examined by a physician of the employer’s choice one time upon any issue asserted by the employee, his/her physician, or which is to be considered by the OIC. Any further requests for medical examinations must be approved by the OIC. The employer has to pay the cost of any examinations initiated by the employer and may, in certain circumstances, pay the employee’s expenses in attending.In addition, injured workers are required to sign a medical release so OBWC and employers may obtain from the worker’s medical providers the release of medical information, records, and reports relative or pertinent to the issues necessary for the administration of the claim. Thus, for example, an injured worker with a claim for a right shoulder rotator cuff tear would be obligated to release medical records related to his/her right shoulder, but not records unrelated to that body part.Employees are not obligated to sign a blanket release, allowing the employer to obtain the employee’s entire medical history, regardless of whether it is related to the claim or not.
Workers compensation is not necessarily the only resource you have if you are injured at work.If you are the victim of a crime while at work, you may want to explore the Ohio Victims of Crime Program, established under Ohio Revised Code §§2743.51, et seq.You may have a third party lawsuit against the party that injured you if that party is not your employer or a co-employee.
You may even have a lawsuit against your employer if you can prove that the employer acted with the intent to injure you or with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur (referred to as an “intentional tort” lawsuit).
Through collective bargaining agreements or employer policies, employers often have salary continuation or injury leave provisions designed to replace or supplement WC benefits.
In addition, Ohio Revised Code §4123.90 protects injured workers in the event the employer discharges, demotes, reassigns, or takes any punitive action against an employee because the employee filed a claim or instituted, pursued or testified in any proceedings under the workers’ compensation act.
Consult with your lawyer to see if any of these additional resources or rights are available to you.