Questions from the Average Joe: Personal Injury VI

by NPHM | September 18th, 2020

Q: I was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 that I suspect I contracted at work because my employer did not provide enough protective equipment. Do I have a workers’ compensation claim?

A: Generally speaking, you cannot sue your employer for injuries or illness sustained while working. In exchange for workers’ compensation benefits, even if you cause your own injury at work, employers are granted immunity from lawsuits due to their own negligence when their workers are injured.  You likely have a workers’ compensation claim and you should seek legal counsel to ensure that you get everything to which you are entitled under the workers’ compensation system.

Included in your workers’ compensation claim may be an additional reward for injuries sustained due to any violations of state regulations by your employer.  Though you cannot sue your employer in a traditional lawsuit, violations of state regulations by employers can be used to obtain additional monetary rewards in a workers’ compensation claim. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can evaluate all the aspects of your claim and help you determine if you might have a claim for this additional award.

Q: Since the pandemic started I haven’t been able to visit my mother in the nursing home, but I recently learned that they have been failing to give her medication on time. Do I have a case?

A: The global Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the way every single one of us has to live, but perhaps none more than those of us with loved ones in nursing homes. Suddenly, all in-person contact was indefinitely cut-off, oftentimes without warning and with no end in sight. This alone is a strain on families, but not being able to make sure your loved ones are receiving sufficient care is even more stressful and can have terrible consequences. Nursing home neglect is far too prevalent in our society, and the lack of regular visits from loved ones has created an environment where it may be increasing and no one from the outside may ever find out. Depending on the situation, a lawsuit for nursing home abuse and neglect may be an option. Usually these are very difficult cases that require a significant injury caused by the abuse or neglect of the nursing home staff. The failure to properly administer medication certainly may rise to the level that a lawsuit would be justified, but it depends on the details. An experienced attorney can evaluate the situation and help you determine if a lawsuit is the right move to help your loved one. If you suspect that your loved one has been subjected to poor care, abuse, or neglect while in a nursing home, consulting with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney is the right next step to evaluate your case.

Q: The place I work was shut down due to COVID-19 but I was hurt before the shutdown. Can I still pursue my workers’ compensation claim?

A: Likely, the answer to this question is yes. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is still accepting and processing claims, though the process may be a bit slower as claims are being handled remotely. Likewise, many employers use third party claim handlers for workers’ compensation so the fact that your place of employment is shut down should not impact their ability to act on your claim. Even so, in normal times, workers’ compensation claims are often complex bureaucratic processes that take time to work through fully.

In the current climate, the difficulty in pursuing a claim can be heightened. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can make sure your claim is processed the right way and ensure that you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to, even in these rapidly changing and uncertain times.

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Headshot of Zachary Belcher, Intake Attorney at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthyZachary Belcher joined Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy and ensures that every individual who contacts the firm receives outstanding service and support throughout the intake process. He understands the stressful and life-altering situations clients face before seeking a personal injury attorney.

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