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Common Questions About Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation is a federally mandated, state-administered program designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer injuries while on the job. However, recovering these benefits can sometimes be a confusing and challenging process.
Although you are not obligated to work with an attorney to pursue Workers’ Compensation benefits, having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side can help ensure that documentation supporting your claim is thorough and properly filed. The Cincinnati Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei have been fighting for the rights of injured laborers since 1972.
If you were hurt in a work-related accident, please call us today at 800-721-1678 or contact us online to arrange your free consultation. We welcome clients from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas, including Boone County, Campbell County and Kenton County in Kentucky, and Dearborn County in Indiana.
Following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Workers’ Compensation in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
What should I do if I suffered a work-related injury?
If you sustained an injury in the line of work, following these basic steps can help protect your ability to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Some Workers’ Compensation insurance providers may require you to choose from a list of pre-approved facilities; this information must be provided to you and posted in the workplace, although this requirement may also be waived in the event that a facility is not within a safe distance or is closed when you need medical care
- Report your injury: In most states, employees are required to report injuries to their immediate supervisors within 24 hours of the injury; there are exceptions based on the type and severity of the injury, but the injury should be reported as soon as possible
- Note details about the event that caused the injury: If possible, document information about the circumstances surrounding the injury, including the names of others involved or any witnesses; photos and/or video of the conditions in which the incident occurred may also be helpful to support your benefits claim
- Consult with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer: Before filing a claim, you may wish to arrange a free consultation with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation attorney who can help you understand your rights and pursue maximum benefits
How long do I have to file a Workers’ Compensation claim?
Most states allow at least one year from the date on which the injury occurred to file a claim with that state’s Workers’ Compensation agency. In the Ohio-Indiana-Kentucky tri-state area, the general deadlines are as follows:
- In Ohio, you must file your Workers’ Compensation claim within two years of the date on which the injury occurred
- In Kentucky, you must file a “First Report of Injury” within 30 days of the injury and then you have two years to file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits
- In Indiana, you must file your claim within two years of the injury date
It’s important to note that there are state-by-state exceptions to these deadlines based on the type of injury and the circumstances surrounding the injury.
What injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation?
In order to qualify for Workers’ Compensation, the injury must have been acquired during the course of your duties or as a result of your duties. Depending on individual state laws, this could include but is not limited to:
- Injuries suffered at your job site
- Injuries sustained as a direct result of your work
- Injuries suffered on other properties while you were “on the clock”
Does Workers’ Compensation cover repetitive-stress injuries?
Workers’ Compensation covers more than physical injuries that result from a single accident. Work-related injuries covered by Workers’ Compensation may also include repetitive-stress conditions such as carpal-tunnel syndrome. Repetitive stress injuries develop over time, as soft tissue is slowly damaged due to continuous overuse and repetitive movement. Usually, the injury cannot be traced back to one definitive traumatic event, but you may still qualify for Workers’ Compensation by proving that the injury occurred because of your job-related tasks.
What injuries are NOT covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation typically does not cover an employee’s injuries if they are due to:
- Use of alcohol or other drugs
- Intentional self-harm
- Committing a crime
- Violation of company policy
It’s also important to note that you do not qualify for Workers’ Compensation if an injury was acquired while off the job.
What benefits are available from Workers’ Compensation?
Based on the severity of the injury, most claims will be sorted for benefits by: medical only, short-term disability, permanent disability, or fatality. Most workers receive a medical only or disability designation, and they are entitled to benefits that include:
- Medical costs, including money for future injury-related medical expenses
- Wage replacement (a percent of your regular salary)
- Vocational training if you’re unable to continue work in your previous industry and capacity
If an employee’s injuries resulted in death, Workers’ Compensation may also cover benefits for his or her surviving family. Again, this is dependent on the specific state and laws governing each employer.
What will happen if my injury prevents me from returning to work?
If you receive a permanent disability from your work-related injury, most employers and Workers’ Compensation funds will offer vocational training in another field. If you’re unable to work at all, you may be entitled to receive medical costs and wage replacement benefits.
Can I sue my employer for my work-related injury?
Workers’ Compensation laws generally prevent legal action against employers. Should you accept Workers’ Compensation benefits, you essentially waive your rights to file a lawsuit in the future. However, there are some cases where a lawsuit may need to be filed in order to gain proper restitution for severe injuries or long-term health damages you’ve received as part of your work. A consultation with a knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you understand your options.
Am I entitled to any damages in addition to Workers’ Compensation benefits?
In some workplace injuries, negligent third parties may have contributed to your accident. If you were engaged in a job-related activity when you were injured in an automobile accident, slip-and-fall accident or dog attack, or your injury was caused by defective equipment or a reckless coworker, additional action may be possible. In some cases, you can file a lawsuit in civil court, even if you are receiving Workers’ Compensation payments.
What should I do if my claim is denied?
Most Workers’ Compensation boards must rule on your claim within 28-30 days. They will often inform you of their ruling via mail, which can delay your receipt of the ruling. That’s why it’s important to contact a qualified Workers’ Compensation lawyer immediately if your claim is denied. You may have as little as 14 days to file your appeal.
How can I learn more about my rights to Workers’ Compensation?
Were you injured on the job in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana and have questions about your rights to benefits? Or do you believe your claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits was wrongfully denied?
Call the experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Young, Reverman & Mazzei at 800-721-1678 to schedule a free consultation about your work-related injury and Workers’ Compensation claim. You can also contact us online to learn more.