I Got Injured At Work What Now?
Guidance through a System You Shouldn’t Be Expected to Know
Many Ohio workers understand that the state administers a system of workers’ compensation benefits that are intended to assist them if they become injured or ill on the job. But many of those same workers have little idea about how to access the system and its benefits, or what they should do if they get hurt at work.
In the best case scenario, your employer will stand by you and assist you at every turn if you have suffered an occupational injury or illness. However, at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, we have found this usually isn’t what happens. In fact, many employers aggressively fight against claims and benefits.
This leaves many injured workers to rely on the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the Industrial Commission, the two state agencies that administer and order the approval of medical treatment and the payment of compensation. This is far removed from anyone’s best case scenario.
In Northeastern Ohio, Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA helps injured workers manage their way through the workers’ compensation system. We work to make sure they get the benefits they deserve. We know the Ohio workers’ compensation system.
First Steps to Take After Being Injured in an Accident at Work
There are three steps to take as soon as possible if you have been injured while on the job:
- Report your injury or illness to your employer.
- Seek medical care.
- File a claim for Ohio Workers’ Compensation.
For each step above and in subsequent steps, follow the rules to the best of your ability and save any and all records of your activities and expenditures.
Your workplace may have policies and procedures for reporting accidents that result in injury. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires many employers to keep a record of injuries and illnesses to help employers and their employees identify hazards, fix problems and prevent additional injuries and illnesses. Your supervisor or your company personnel/human resources (HR) department may request specific information about your accident and injury. There may be forms to complete or questions to answer.
Provide the most accurate information you can to describe what happened in your workplace accident.
Your employer may also recommend a doctor for you to see. You can see any doctor you want for your initial office visit or emergency care. However, to qualify for workers’ compensation you must seek ongoing care from a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC)-certified medical provider. This doctor is referred to as the physician of record (POR) in workers’ compensation.
You have the right to see a BWC-certified provider of your choice, but BWC certification is crucial.
Follow your POR’s orders, including undergoing recommended treatment and attending all appointments. Failing to follow medical instructions can jeopardize your workers’ compensation claim. If you disagree with your POR’s plans for treating you, you may see another BWC-certified medical provider, but if a POR is already on your claim, you should talk to an attorney about having the BWC recognize a new provider as your physician of record.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing for Ohio Workers’ Compensation benefits requires completing and submitting the First Report of Injury, Occupational Disease or Death (FROI). This is a single-page form that comes with three pages of instructions.
It requires personally identifying information about you and your employment, information about your employer, a description of your accident and injury, and your medical diagnosis. The medical information requires your health care provider’s signature.
Along with the FROI, you will need to submit authorization for the BWC’s claims service specialist (CSS) to obtain and review your medical records. The CSS will also seek records of what your employer has paid you in the previous year (52 weeks). It is vitally important that information on the FROI you submit is backed up by medical records, as well as employment records.
You may give the FROI to your medical provider to complete the treatment information section. The medical section requires International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding, a statistical classification system that arranges diseases and injuries into groups according to established criteria. ICD codes identify the type, episode of care and nature of an injury, and the BWC uses them to determine appropriate medical treatment.
In addition, when your claim has been approved and medical providers bill BWC for services, they’ll list the ICD code on the billing forms. BWC and the managed care organizations review all bills to make sure medical providers treat only conditions allowed in the claim.
Your medical provider can then submit the FROI to your employer’s managed care organization (MCO) to file. However, if you are able to file the form yourself, you will be assured that it has been submitted.
Get an Attorney Before Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA, we advise that one of your first steps should be to speak to an experienced Ohio workplace injury lawyer before filing your FROI and seeking workers’ comp benefits. Our workplace injury attorneys know the Ohio workers’ compensation system and other programs for seriously injured or disabled workers.
We can review your FROI and other documents in your claim package, and help to ensure they are complete, accurate and reflective of what the BWC expects to see in a claim.
In addition to helping you file your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, we can investigate your accident to determine whether you are due additional compensation for lost wages and permanent physical damage related to your industrial injury or disease.
Often times, physical injuries and occupational disease prevent the injured worker from working. In such a case we can assess what compensation is available through the BWC.
Workers who have been permanently disabled by workplace injuries or illness may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if their disability prevents them from working.
Only an independent review of your case by our workplace injury lawyers can determine whether there are such avenues for maximizing the compensation you receive. A broad view of your cases, including your prospects for recovery, is necessary to avoid subrogation in the case of multiple claims. Subrogation allows an insurer, such as the BWC or the SSD program, to seek repayment of benefits from a beneficiary who obtains compensation from other parties for the same injury.
At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, our overall objective is to recommend a course of action that provides that assures you will receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled through the Ohio Workers’ Compensation program.
Contact Our Ohio Workplace Injury Lawyers
At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill Co., LPA, we make sure injured workers obtain the benefits they have been promised under state and federal law to assist with their recovery. Our workplace injury attorneys conduct thorough case reviews and investigations, and pursue every possible benefit for our clients. We can make the system work for you
Since 1985, Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA has been dedicated solely to protecting the rights of injured workers in the Mahoning Valley. Our workers’ compensation lawyers are proud to be a part of the Northeastern Ohio community where we live and work. We understand what our neighbors are going through when they face recovery from a serious injury. We know how to help.
We want to see people like you,who have worked all their lives and followed the rules, be treated fairly when they have been injured or become ill. We have developed a solid reputation for the help we have provided our clients. Call us today.