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Missteps That May Hurt Your Chances of Recovering Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you’ve been hurt on the job in Ohio, workers’ compensation benefits can help ease the financial burden of missing work and dealing with injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits cover the full cost of any medical treatment you need for the work-related injury, along with a portion of whatever wages you miss while you’re recovering from your injuries.

Unfortunately, Ohio doesn’t always make it easy for injured workers to get the workers’ compensation benefits to which they’re entitled, especially if their employer disputes the claim. Many injured workers also self-sabotage their claims by making preventable mistakes – mistakes that the information on this page will help you avoid making. Learn more about missteps that may hurt your chances of recovering Ohio workers’ compensation benefits and how an Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer can help.

What Missteps Will Hurt My Claim?

Many people make the following mistakes and consequently lose out on the money that’s rightfully theirs:

  • Not reporting the injury — If you don’t report a work-related injury to your employer, you can’t start the workers’ compensation claims process. While you have up to one year from the date of your injury to file a workers’ compensation claim, delays in reporting your injury to your employer can make it much harder to obtain benefits. To avoid any potential issues with your claim, notify your employer about your injury in writing as soon as possible after an accident.
  • Not seeking medical care right away — Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible after sustaining an injury at work. There are two main reasons for this. First, your injuries may be worse than they seem. Prompt treatment can begin your treatment sooner and mitigate your injuries. Second, you need to document the injuries you suffered from the accident right away. Workers’ compensation benefits only pay for treatment related to injuries you sustain at work. Delaying medical treatment gives your employer an excuse to say you weren’t injured on the job or you worsened your injuries outside of work and should have to pay for your own medical care.
  • Not following your doctor’s treatment plan — Once you see a doctor after sustaining a work-related injury, follow your prescribed treatment exactly as ordered. Your employer could use any deviation you make from your treatment plan as an excuse to stop your benefits if your injuries get worse.
  • Speaking to a workers’ compensation insurer directly — You need to be extremely careful about anything you say or any documents you submit to your employer’s workers’ compensation provider. The insurer is more interested in their bottom line than in your health, so they’ll look for any reason they can find to deny your claim or reduce your benefits. Let your attorney handle all communication with the workers’ compensation provider to minimize your chance of saying something that could hurt your claim.
  • Signing documents without consulting a lawyer — You should never sign any documents from your employer or a workers’ compensation provider until you’ve had a lawyer review them. Accepting the offer from your employer’s workers’ compensation provider can make it difficult for you to obtain additional benefits if your condition worsens.
  • Not hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney — There are many steps to obtaining workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio. A mistake at any point along the way could delay your claim or prevent you from obtaining the benefits you need. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can guide you through the claim process, review your documents, and handle communication with the workers’ compensation provider.

What Steps Do You Need to Take After an Accident on the Job?

What you do in the moments and days after an accident at work can significantly impact your workers’ compensation claim. Here’s what you need to do if you’re injured in an accident at work:

  • Document the accident scene as best you can. If your injuries aren’t too severe, use your phone to take pictures of the area where the accident occurred and any nearby hazards that may have contributed to the accident. If you’re too badly injured to do this yourself, ask someone else to take some pictures for you.
  • Seek medical treatment right away. First and foremost, you need to make sure you get the help you need so your injuries don’t worsen. Your doctor can document your injuries to help support your workers’ comp claim.
  • Report the injury to your employer. Report your injury to your employer in writing as soon as you can. While you have a year to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits, you want to start your application as quickly as possible so you can start receiving the money you’re owed.
  • Hold on to all your medical records and other evidence. You’ll need to include these documents in your application for benefits.
  • Don’t talk to any benefits administrators. They’re looking for reasons to deny your claim or reduce your benefits, so let your lawyer handle all communications related to your claim.
  • Hire a workers’ compensation attorney. There are many steps in the Ohio workers’ compensation process, which means there are many ways your claim can go wrong. Hiring a workers’ comp lawyer right away means they can advise you from the start on the best approach to get the benefits you need.

What Questions Do Workers’ Comp Investigators Ask?

At some point after you file your claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, you may have to answer some questions from your employer’s workers’ compensation plan administrator. Some common questions that workers’ compensation investigators ask include:

  • Can you describe the accident and where it happened?
  • Did anyone else see the accident?
  • Were you following company policies and procedures when the accident occurred?
  • What are your job duties?
  • What injuries did you suffer?
  • Can your job be modified so you can work while healing from your injuries?
  • Have you filed a workers’ compensation claim before?
  • What actions could have prevented the accident?

When investigators ask these questions, they’re looking for excuses to deny your claim and any inconsistencies in your statements. A lawyer can help you prepare for these questions and avoid any potentially damaging answers.

What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied or Challenged

There’s an appeals process in place if your workers’ compensation claim is challenged or denied, but it can be just as fraught as the initial claims process. If your claim is denied or challenged, you want to speak to a lawyer right away if you have not already done so. You should never attempt to appeal a workers’ compensation claim without help from an attorney.

Do you have additional questions about workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio? Then, contact Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA today to speak to one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers.