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If you’ve been in the working world long enough, you likely know or know of someone who currently receives or has received workers’ compensation benefits before. Often referred to as “workman’s comp,” this type of benefit is awarded to workers who get hurt on the job and can no longer earn paychecks while they recover from their injuries.
But as the multiple names for this type of benefit might suggest, there’s also plenty of myths, misinformation, and misconceptions about workers’ compensation floating around. Those misconceptions can do injured workers a disservice, as they may not know the best way to get the benefits they’re entitled to after work-related injuries.
In this blog, we explore the 5 biggest misconceptions about workers’ compensation.
1. People who caused their injuries aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation.
Unlike typical personal injury claims, workers’ compensation claims are valid for ANYONE injured at work, regardless of who was at fault. For example, if a worker slips, falls, and breaks a bone, but the floor wasn’t wet or slick, their employer wasn’t negligent and didn’t cause their injury. However, that worker can still file for workers’ compensation benefits. The biggest exception is if the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, as that can make them ineligible for compensation.
2. Only some employers have workers’ compensation insurance.
Unlike benefits such as PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and health insurance, workers’ compensation isn’t an optional perk. It’s mandatory for virtually all employers in Ohio, and business owners who don’t purchase it face big fines and penalties. Simply put, if you’re a traditional employee—even if you only work part-time—and you get hurt on the job, you’re almost guaranteed to have access to the workers’ compensation system through your employer’s insurance policy.
If your employer tells you that you aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation, you should speak to an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation attorney to see if your rights are being violated.
3. Benefits are only available when injuries happen at the job site.
Although most workers’ compensation claims are brought forth after injuries that occur on employees’ main job sites, not all work injuries happen there. Many workers are injured off-site, but while still performing job-related duties.For example, a worker who gets hurt in a car crash while driving from one job site to another, as long as they are “on the clock” when it happens, is still eligible for benefits, even though they weren’t injured on their employer’s property. Benefits are also available for workers who get injured on the clock but while doing something other than their direct job duties—i.e., falling down the stairs walking to the parking lot or slipping on a wet floor while walking to the bathroom, so long as they are still on the clock when it occurs and not on an official break.
4. Filing a workers’ compensation claim hurts your employer.
While it’s true that most employers prefer to reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims filed whenever they can, having employees file claims after on-the-job injuries doesn’t mean the employer is on the hook for all their employees’ medical bills. The entire point of the workers’ compensation system is to protect both injured employees AND their employers. It’s beneficial for employees because it allows them to get replacement income, and it’s beneficial for employers because workers who are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits can’t sue their employers for their injuries.
5. If your claim is denied, you can’t get compensation.
Sadly, it’s extremely common for first-time applicants to have their workers’ compensation claims denied, especially if they didn’t have a lawyer on their side when they initially applied. That’s because the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is notoriously strict when it reviews and approves claims. Even the smallest of mistakes, oversights, and omissions can result in a denied claim. But thankfully, denied claims can always be appealed, and many people who faced initial rejections later have them overturned and can get the benefits they need.
After an on-the-job injury, you need to talk to three parties right away: your supervisor or manager, your doctor, and an experienced Ohio workers’ compensation lawyer. At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, our legal team knows what it takes to win workers’ compensation claims and appeals. Our years of experience mean that we’re well-acquainted with the BWC’s requirements for approving claims, and we’ll maximize your chances of getting approval as quickly as possible.
Don’t lose out on the benefits you’re owed after a workplace injury. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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