Question: What should I do if I get injured at work?
Answer: If you are injured during the course of your employment, you should immediately report the injury to your employer/immediate supervisor and ask to fill out an incident report. Some employers may not have such forms. In that case, incident report or not, go on to the steps below.
There are a wide range of variables which may pertain to establishing a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (OBWC). Obviously, you should get medical treatment immediately and tell the health care provider you were hurt at work. You can receive treatment from a hospital emergency room, urgent care, physician or any medical provider of your choice. A claim is filed by completing a First Report of Injury (FROI) form and filing it with the OBWC office. You can even do so on the Bureau’s web site at www.ohiobwc.com. The hospital, medical provider, or employer can also file this FROI to initiate your claim. The BWC will assign you a claim number and notify you of it while they investigate your claim. You must however, file a claim with the BWC within one (1) year of the date of injury for injuries sustained on or after September 28, 2017. For injuries sustained prior to September 28, 2017 the claim must be filed within two (2) years of the date of injury. The BWC will mail you a written decision within 28 days allowing or denying your claim. If your claim is not allowed, you have the right to appeal the decision within 14 days from your receipt of the Bureau’s decision. This will lead to a hearing set up by the Industrial Commission of Ohio (ICO) where you can testify, with or without legal counsel. Most attorneys are willing to represent you on a contingency basis which means they are only charging you if they are successful in obtaining a cash award for you.
An approved claim will allow your medical bills for treatment related to the conditions in your claim to be paid. In addition to payment of your medical bills associated with your claim, you may be entitled to cash compensation for injuries disabling you from working. This is referred to as Temporary Total Compensation (TT). After seven (7) days of continuous disability the first compensation would be payable and if you are off 14 days or more, you will be entitled to compensation starting from the first day of disability. A doctor must certify that the period of disability is directly due to your injuries. The amount of TT is computed by the OBWC as a percentage of your wages earned during the year prior to the injury. Even if you lose no time from work, you may be entitled to cash benefits in the future for your injuries in this claim.
Naturally, the above information is not a comprehensive explanation of establishing your claim or understanding all benefits available for a valid claim. You may obtain further information on the OBWC web site at https://info.bwc.ohio.gov/ or feel free to call our office with questions. There is no charge for telephone consultations. Future columns will outline more of your legal rights following the establishment of a valid claim.