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What Are My Rights as an Injured Worker in Ohio?

August 21, 2023

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As a worker in Ohio you need your job and you need your paycheck. For you and millions of other workers throughout the state, anything that can potentially cause you to lose your paycheck, whether permanently or temporarily, can be devastating.

Injuries are one of the most common causes of workers missing out on paychecks, and many disabling injuries occur on the job. If this happens to you, don’t panic. The Ohio Bureau of Compensation (BWC) grants injured workers many rights that can’t be infringed by other people or parties, including their employers.

These rights include the following:

The Right to Receive Lost Wage Compensation and Medical Benefits

The BWC is a state-run workers’ compensation program. By Ohio law, all businesses with at least one employee must have workers’ compensation coverage. That means if you’re an employee and you get hurt on the job, you’re almost certainly eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ compensation benefits cover two of the biggest expenses injured workers face after on-the-job accidents: lost wages and medical costs. If a worker dies as a result of their on-the-job injury, workers’ compensation will also pay their family death benefits to cover their lost wages, their medical bills, and their funeral expenses.

The Right to Receive Treatment from Your Choice of (BWC-Approved) Doctor

After your on-the-job injury, you can see any doctor for your initial treatment, including your own primary care provider. However, after your initial treatment, you must see a doctor that’s BWC-certified. Thankfully, the BWC has a list of certified doctors on its website that can make it easy to find one who can treat you and make or keep you eligible for workers’ compensation medical benefits.

Keep in mind that you can choose any BWC-certified doctor. It’s common for injured workers to be told to see specific doctors by their employers, but this isn’t an official BWC requirement. The only requirement is that your doctor must be BWC-certified—he or she doesn’t have to be affiliated with or recommended by your employer.

The Right to Hire a Lawyer

Although you aren’t required to have a lawyer to apply for workers’ compensation benefits, hiring a lawyer can be helpful for three important reasons.

  1. A lawyer can improve your chances of getting your application approved by the BWC, either on the first try or on appeal.
  2. A lawyer can complete your application faster, which means you and your loved ones spend less time waiting for benefits.
  3. A lawyer can take the stress of the application off your shoulders, so you can focus on getting better.

The Right to Appeal the BWC’s Decision

In an effort to reduce fraud, the BWC has strict criteria for approving claims. Unfortunately, that sometimes means valid claims get denied. Thankfully, the BWC allows applicants whose claims were denied a chance to appeal its decision.

Injured workers can appeal their denied claims through three levels: the district hearing officer level, the staff hearing officer level, and the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC) level. As with applying for benefits, a lawyer can serve as a valuable resource during all levels of the appeals process.

The Right to Access Your Records

The BWC allows workers’ compensation applicants to create e-accounts on its website. These accounts make it easy for applicants to view information about their claims, including their status, submitted documents, contact information, medical bills, scheduled medical exams, return-to-work status, and more.

The Right to Have All Approved Medical Bills Paid for by the BWC

Work-related injuries can result in serious complications that require expensive medical treatments. The BWC grants all injured workers who are approved for workers’ compensation benefits the right to have those bills paid for in full, provided they are related to their on-the-job injuries and are approved by the BWC.

The Right to Receive Timely Payments

Getting approved for workers’ compensation benefits wouldn’t be of much help if payments were sporadic, unreliable, and unpredictable. Thankfully, the BWC grants all workers’ compensation recipients the right “to receive timely payments for the following conditions in your claim.” Workers’ compensation payments are typically paid every two weeks for as long as workers’ injuries keep them out of work.

Our Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Further Protect Your Rights

The BWC works hard to protect injured workers, but only if they are approved for benefits. Unfortunately, too many injured workers in Ohio fall through the cracks and are left to fend for themselves after devastating work-related injuries.

Uncooperative employers and an overly strict approval process by the BWC don’t mean the end of your chances of getting workers’ compensation benefits. The Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy have the experience you need to get the benefits you deserve. Contact us anytime for a free consultation.

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