Question: I have a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). My injuries still bother me. What benefits am I entitled to?
Answer: There are benefits that may be available to you. The OBWC will not notify you of these benefits. If you are still experiencing residual pain or other disability after 26 weeks have elapsed since the injury date, or since the date of your last Temporary Total compensation (TT) payment, you may apply for a determination of Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) whether or not you are working or still with the same employer. The OBWC will set you up with a free examination with an independent doctor who will write an opinion as to your extent, if any, of disability.
Thereafter you will receive a notice of the amount of any PPD compensation you are entitled to. You have the automatic right to appeal the decision if you are not satisfied and a hearing at one of the Industrial Commission of Ohio’s (ICO) offices will be scheduled where you may present additional medical evidence. Written findings of your PPD award will be mailed to you and you even have the right to file an additional appeal (Reconsideration) if you still are not satisfied with the ICO findings. If you hire an attorney, he will assist you in providing more favorable medical evidence.
This particular form of compensation extends the life of your claim and is not a final settlement. Any paid medical bills or compensation payment will extend the life of your claim.
You may file a claim or a motion for additional allowances of injuries or applications for additional PPD, final settlement, or payment of medical bills, within five years of the date of the last medical payment or payment of TT or any other compensation in your claim (10 years for injuries sustained prior to 8/25/06). After those dates your claim is closed by Ohio law.
This is not intended to be a complete restatement of the law, but is intended to help claimants be aware of possible entitlements. Medical care may be pre-authorized by your medical provider applying for treatment in writing to the OBWC using the same statutes of limitations outlined above.
Future columns will detail even more ways to use your claim for additional cash benefits including final settlement.
The OBWC will not notify you of these benefits! You and your attorney, if any, must be proactive in these matters. Generally an attorney will work on your claim on a contingency basis so there is no cost to you unless there is a cash award.
The above can be somewhat confusing so do not hesitate to call our office with questions. There is no charge for telephone consultations.