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The Monthly HMMM… Could Waiting Too Long to File Workers’ Comp Hurt Me Even More?

Woman in wheelchair holding her medical records.

If you get hurt at work, you may have many reasons for waiting to tell your employer about it or file a workers’ compensation claim. You may think the injury isn’t so serious – a little bump on the head, maybe, or just a minor pain in your back. You could also be scared about how your employer will react if you file a claim. You may wonder if the employer will retaliate by making your work more difficult or by firing you. You may just be intimidated by the prospect of filling out a bunch of paperwork.

An Experienced Ohio Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help You

All of the above concerns are completely understandable. However, in reality, if you wait too long to act after your work injury, you will likely end up just hurting yourself more.

That little bump on your head could be a sign that you have suffered a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). And that ache in your back? It could be a sign of a slipped disc or worse. If your delay may cost you the ability to recover workers’ compensation benefits, you could end up with a pile of medical bills and no way to pay for them.

Sure, some employers may respond the wrong way. However, Ohio law is clear: No employer can fire a worker simply because he or she has filed a workers’ comp claim which the worker has every right to file. If your employer retaliates, you can turn to an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer to protect your rights. Of course, a lawyer can also take care of all of that paperwork you may be worried about and, in turn, ease your stress during a challenging time.

To learn more about how an attorney can help you to seek the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, contact Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, as soon as possible. We can bring more than 150 years of combined legal experience to your case and a passion for helping injured workers to get their lives back on track. Call or reach us online today to get started.

What Are the Time Limits for Filing Workers’ Comp Claims in Ohio?

Ohio workers’ compensation law doesn’t set any specific deadline for reporting a workplace injury to one’s employer. However, the best thing to do is to report it as soon as possible. If your injury prevents you from giving prompt notice to your employer, then you can ask a family member, friend or maybe a co-worker to do it for you. You should make sure to give the notice to your employer in writing.

Regardless of when you tell your employer about the injury, you will need to file your workers’ compensation claim within a specific time period set by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). You will initiate the process by filing a First Report of an Injury, Occupational Disease or Death (FROI) form. You must file this form:

  • If you claim an injury, within one year after the date of the injury.
  • If you claim an occupational disease, within two years after the date your disability began or within six months after diagnosis by a licensed physician. The six month period can extend (but never shorten) the normal two-year date of disability period.
  • If you file a death benefits claim, within one year after your dependent’s death (if the death occurred due to an occupational disease, then within two years of the death).

When you file your FROI form, you will need to provide information that includes not only the date of your injury or disease but also a description of the accident, type of injury or disease and the specific parts of your body which are affected. Our team at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, can help you to compile all of this information and provide the BWC with all other documentation it needs.

What Could Go Wrong If You Wait Too Long to File Your Claim?

You should report your injury to your employer and file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible for both legal and practical reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • Your claim could be barred – If you fail to file your FROI form before the deadline expires, you can – and most likely will – lose the right to recover workers’ compensation benefits. However, In the event that the employer refuses, neglects or unduly delays the completion of a FROI-1, it may be filed without the part pertaining to the employer having been completed. The fact of refusal or neglect should be noted upon the report or with it by way of separate letter.
  • It could be tougher to gather important evidence – In order to get workers’ comp benefits, you will need to show that your injury or illness was work-related. The longer you wait to act, the harder it may be to inspect and document the scene of your accident and to find witnesses who still have a fresh memory of what happened.
  • Your employer will try to use it against you – Employers in northeastern Ohio don’t like paying workers’ comp claims. If you delay seeing a doctor, reporting the injury to your employer or filing your claim, your employer may try to use that delay to argue that your injury or illness did not arise from your work. The employer may also assert that your condition is not as severe as you claim.

Contact an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you were hurt on the job in northeastern Ohio, your lawyer at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, will provide a free, comprehensive review of your case. We can help you to determine how long you have to file your workers’ compensation claim, and more importantly, we wil help you to do everything it takes to properly and timely file your claim for benefits. To learn more about your rights, call or reach us online today and talk with an attorney from any one of our offices located in Youngstown, Warren, Salem, Ravenna or Akron.