Workers' Compensation Lawyers
We Help Injured Workers Get the Benefits Ohio Law Promises
Almost all people employed in the State of Ohio qualify for monetary benefits if they are injured or become ill while on the job. This is the promise of Ohio workers’ compensation law as administered by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) and the state Industrial Commission. It is a no-fault insurance program. You are supposed to be paid regardless of whether you shoulder any blame for the injury or illness you have suffered.
But Ohio is different from other states. Ohio employers contract with the state for workers’ compensation insurance. This increases the bureaucracy you face if you have a claim. In Ohio, if you are to receive the benefits you deserve, you usually need to fight a system that is arrayed against you.
In northeastern Ohio, Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA, helps injured workers get the workers’ compensation they deserve. We know the Ohio workers’ compensation system. We can make it work for you. Take advantage of our attorneys’ combined 200 years of legal experience in northeastern Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, and get the benefits you need and deserve.
“I would like to thank Leslie for being kind and respectful to me and my wife in our time of need. My family really appreciates how you helped us in every way possible. Thank you, Pete Magill, for all your help and guidance through this process.” – DR
Do You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation? The Likely Answer Is Yes!
There are very few exceptions in the coverage of Ohio workers by the workers’ compensation system. Employers in our state who have any employees must keep and maintain an active workers’ compensation insurance policy to ensure coverage for workers against a workplace injury.
If you have been injured in an accident while on the job in Ohio, or have come down with a debilitating illness because of your workplace environment or exposure, you undoubtedly qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, the system places several obstacles between you and a benefit payment. The first is a strict deadline for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you have suffered a job-related injury or illness that has caused you to miss work, and you have not filed a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), we urge you to contact us right away. Compiling documentation that ensures you receive all of the money you deserve can be a lengthy process. A delay could mean forever giving up benefits you should receive.
Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA can compile, file and defend your workers’ compensation claim in northeastern Ohio, but it is highly beneficial to you to start work as soon as possible.
How the Ohio BWC Can Stop Your Workers’ Comp Claim
Though workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program, in Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is the gatekeeper that decides whether your claim for benefits will be a straight-forward matter or bureaucratic nightmare.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Ohio begins with a form called “First Report of an Injury, Occupational Disease, or Death.” It asks for a detailed description of the cause of your injury (an accident, usually) or illness, a medical diagnosis, and additional information about your job, doctor and medical treatment.
Once you file for workers’ compensation, the BWC will issue a claim card with your claim number, and decide whether to “allow” your claim.
For the BWC to allow a claim, the claim application must meet the filing deadline, as we stressed above, and it must clearly show:
- Your doctor’s diagnosis that you have suffered an injury or illness recognized by the state of Ohio, and
- The injury happened within the course and scope of your employment, and
- Your doctor’s explanation of how his or her diagnosis results from what happened at your job – an accident (injury) or occupational exposure (illness).
In addition, your doctor – the doctor who provides the diagnosis – must be registered as an Ohio BWC certified provider.
If you meet these requirements, you are granted the “right to participate,” which means you may now request benefits that are approved by law for the diagnosis identified by your claim.
At any point, your employer or the BWC may challenge your claim, and force you to defend it. The BWC may deny your claim. A challenge or denial requires a hearing before a Hearing Officer if you are to continue seeking benefits. The Ohio Industrial Commission administers hearings and appeals of claims decisions. At a hearing, you will be asked to defend your claim against either the BWC or your employer (and your employer’s attorney), or both.
As you can see, the Ohio workers’ compensation system can easily work against you. If your claim is challenged, it may be because of a technical error or discrepancy in your claim. It may be a larger issue that results in challenge or denial. Regardless, it will be up to you to persuade the hearing officer that you deserve benefits as the BWC and/or your employer argue that you do not.
By putting Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA to work on your claim, the advantage moves back to you. You are no longer alone. We work with workers’ compensation claims like yours every day, and have done so for many years. We know the system. We know what the BWC wants to see and hear in a claim application.
We can make sure your claim surmounts the obstacles the system erects between you and the workers’ compensation benefits you qualify to receive.
Need Compensation for a Workplace Injury? We Want You to Have It — All of It
Ohio’s workers’ compensation law defines the benefits an injured worker is to receive. This is essentially money on the table that is yours to take home or give up, depending on the quality and accuracy of your claim.
Workers’ Compensation benefits are provided to pay medical bills related to your injuries, and as compensation for lost income. In addition to full payment of medical bills, benefits typically amount to two-thirds of your wages prior to your injury.
Five of the most common workers’ compensation benefits paid by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) are:
- Temporary total disability (TTD) compensation for injured workers who are temporarily 100 percent disabled as a result of their injury or occupational disease. This is the typical workers’ compensation benefit paid to injured or ill workers who recover and go back to work. It is compensation for medical bills and lost income while the worker is unable to perform their job duties.
- Permanent total disability (PTD) compensation for injured workers who have been declared permanently and totally disabled by the Industrial Commission of Ohio. A declaration of PTD means the injured worker is not capable of returning to their former job or of engaging in any other substantial work and making a living.
- Permanent partial disability (PPD) compensation awarded to workers who suffer a residual (ongoing) impairment because of an injury or occupational disease.
- Wage-loss compensation for injured workers who return to work with restrictions caused by their injury. When injury-related job restrictions cause a reduction in earnings or leave the worker unable to find work their physical limitations allow them to do, these payments make up for the income loss.
- A lump-sum settlement award to injured workers who have agreed with their employer to settle the workers’ compensation claim.
There are also additional benefits within the workers’ compensation system that are available when an employer violates certain safety rules and these violations contributed to the worker’s injury or illness.
In limited cases, an injured worker can sue his/her employer outside of the workers’ compensation system. Such personal injury cases usually involve an employer that intentionally injured the employee or knowingly allowed the employee to work in an environment that the employer knew was hazardous to the employee.
At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA, we see it as our duty to ensure that you obtain all of the compensation you deserve. This requires complete documentation of your medical costs and a full and accurate description of your injury / illness and medical diagnosis. It requires a claim that can stand up to challenges by the BWC and/or your employer. We can provide this service to you.
Because workers’ compensation is an insurance program, making payments affects employers’ costs by increasing premiums. The prospect of higher costs causes too many employers to dispute legitimate workers’ compensation claims. If you don’t have qualified and experienced legal help, this can easily happen to you.
Lawyers Experienced with Ohio Workers’ Compensation Claims
At Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA, we stand up for what’s right when injured and disabled workers seek the workers’ compensation benefits they have been promised by Ohio state law. Our lawyers are proud to be a part of the northeastern Ohio community where we live and work, and we want to see workers treated fairly, especially when they have been injured or become ill. We know the system. We will fight for you.
We understand what you’re going through and we know how to help.
Since the founding of Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., LPA in 1985, we have been a law firm dedicated solely to protecting the rights of injured workers, injury victims and the disabled in the Mahoning Valley. Over 30 years, we have developed a solid reputation for continued loyalty to our clients.
Don’t go it alone. We can make the system work for you. Call us today.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
To sign up for direct deposit, complete the ACT enrollment form, attach a voided check or deposit slip and mail to:
Accounts Payable ACT
Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
P.O. Box 15429
Columbus, OH 43215-9609
or fax the forms to: 1-614-752-8439
DWRF is an acronym that stands for Disabled Workers Relief Fund. This fund was created to assist injured workers who have been declared permanently and totally disabled (PTD) whose compensation rates have not kept pace with inflation and the cost of living. DWRF eligibility is determined automatically for every injured worker who is declared PTD. No action on the part of the injured worker is needed. DWRF eligibility is based on the combined total of permanent total disability and Social Security disability received by the injured worker.
Compensation rates are based on your earnings prior to the injury taking into account the minimum and maximum rates applicable to the year you were injured. For claim specific rate inquires contact Ohio BWC.
You will be eligible for lost time benefits if you lose more than seven days of work. Also, the first seven days are not payable until you lose 14 consecutive days. Other than these exceptions, most injured workers are usually paid for the entire period of time they are off. If an injured worker is off work for three months (90 days) a medical exam may be scheduled. Continued payment of temporary total disability will be dependent on the outcome of the independent medical exam.
You can contact Ohio BWC to see if a doctor is certified or you can go online to www.ohiobwc.com to access their Certified Provider Look-up.
The rules governing the HPP program provide that an injured worker has the right to be treated by the doctor of their choice as long as the doctor is an Ohio BWC certified provider. Note: If your employer is self-insured, you should contact the employer to obtain information concerning choosing a physician.
All injured workers with allowed workers’ compensation claims are entitled to payment of medical bills for treatment related to the injury or occupational disease. Following are five of the most common compensation benefits injured workers with allowed workers’ compensation claims may be entitled to:
- Payment of temporary total compensation for injured workers who are 100 percent disabled for a temporary period of time as a result of the injury or occupational disease;
- Payment of wage loss compensation to injured workers who are working with restrictions caused by the injury which cause a reduction in earnings or who are actively seeking but are not able to find work within their physical limitations;
- Payment of a percentage of permanent partial disability award for residual impairment resulting from an injury or occupational disease;
- Payment of permanent total disability (PTD) compensation to injured workers who have been declared permanently and totally disabled by the Industrial Commission of Ohio. A declaration of PTD means that the injured worker is not capable of returning to the former position of employment or of engaging in any substantial remunerative employment;
- Payment of a lump sum settlement award to injured workers who have agreed with their employer to settle the workers’ compensation claim.
Immediately after receiving the First Report of Injury, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) begins the process of gathering information and investigating the claim. A decision will be made to allow or deny the claim within 28 days.
Ohio R.C. 4123.90 provides that “No employer shall discharge, demote, reassign, or take any punitive action against any employee because the employee filed a claim or instituted, pursued or testified in any proceedings under the workers’ compensation act for an injury or occupational disease which occurred in the course of and arising out of his employment with that employer.”
In general, Ohio is an employment at will state. However, an exception exists when an employer fires an employee for reasons which violate a clearly established public policy. In Sutton v. Tomco Machining Inc. (6/9/11), 129 Ohio St.3d 153, 2011-Ohio-2723, the Court finds it contrary to Ohio public policy to permit an employer to fire an employee for their injury before they file a workers’ compensation claim.
Compensation and payment of all related medical benefits may be available to you.
Generally, you have two years from the date of injury or date of diagnosis in order to file a claim. There are exceptions to this. An attorney will be able to tell you if you fall within the exception.
If you are hurt at work, you probably have a workers’ compensation claim; but, to confirm, you should contact an attorney.
If you are ever hurt during the course of your employment you should do the following:
- File a written incident report at work.
- Tell your supervisor immediately.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Contact an attorney for representation. Remember, most employers have their own representative for workers’ compensation claims, so you should have representation, too.
a. No. Employers cannot discriminate against employees who were injured on the job and filed a claim.
b. If you feel you were wrongfully discharged for filing a claim, you should contact an attorney.
Generally the answer is no you cannot be fired just for getting hurt at work. There are exceptions to this and you would be best served to seek out an attorney to discuss this matter with them.
There are several types of workers’ compensation benefits that are available. You should contact an attorney to see what benefits you are entitled to. For example, you might be entitled to temporary total compensation, nonworking wage loss compensation, working wage loss compensation, permanent partial disability.
a. Generally speaking you have Two years from the date of injury. However there are also different time frames depending upon the different type of injury, such as, the date you learned about the injury.
b. Because time limits are important and confusing, you should contact an attorney.
If you received an injury in the course of or arising out of your employment is the legal standard. In reality it is not this simple as there are different types of cases. There may be an accident claim, there may be an occupational disease claim, there may be an exposure claim. Your best option is to contact an attorney experienced in Ohio workers’ compensation to determine whether or not you have a workers’ compensation claim.
PPD payments are paid 24 days after the T.O., is received as long as no objection is filed; If an objection is filed; no payment is issued until after a hearing. After a hearing, no payment is issued until after the 10 day appeal period.
TT is paid 14 days + 4 days for mailing (18 total) after an Order is received, again as long as no appeal is filed. If an appeal is filed to a BWC TT Order, payment will not be issued until after a hearing which can take anywhere from 30-45 days to be set. If a DHO grants TT, payment will be issued.
- Is a Permanent Partial award a settlement of the claim? No, it is not a settlement. It is an award that you may be entitled to in your claim. It does not settle your claim, as a matter of fact, if paid out, it extends the life of your claim.
- When will my temporary total start? Initial TT benefits will commence upon the allowance of the claim and approval of the temporary total benefits. In order to be paid TT, you must have an allowed claim and you and your physician of record must complete the appropriate documents taking you off work. Once these documents are filed in an allowed claim, the Ohio BWC/SI EMP will address the request for same.
- When will my claim settle? Not all workers compensation claims settle. All parties must agree in order for the claim to settle. Once a state funded claim goes “out of the employers’ experience” we can file a settlement application with the Ohio BWC without the employer’s signature. However the employer will be notified of the settlement request and can opt to participate in the settlement process. A self-insured employer must always sign the settlement documents in order for the claim to settle. No party can be forced to settle. Therefore, if all parties agree do not agree, then the claim will remain open until the statute date.
- Inform your employer immediately. You must notify them both verbally and in writing. If at all possible please get a copy of the incident/accident report from your employer
- Go to the “plant medical” if available.
- Seek Medical treatment immediately! Do not wait to seek treatment as this may hurt your claim.
- File a First Report of Injury (FROI) with the BWC. This may be done by the provider where treatment is completed.
- Follow up on the FROI application to be sure you are assigned a claim number.
- Contact an attorney.
a. If immediate treatment is needed, go to the nearest emergency room.
b. Contact your family physician if at all possible first.
c. You are entitled to have your own doctor known as your Physician of Record (POR). You do not have to be treated by a doctor your employer has sent to. When you are seeking a doctor, you must verify that they are BWC certified. If not, the BWC will not pay for treatment.