After being injured at work, it can be difficult to understand your rights. There is no guarantee you will be treated fairly, which causes many injured workers to feel powerless.
Unfortunately, too many people find themselves in this situation, unsure if they will be able to recover the compensation they need for the expenses and lost income associated with their injuries. Work-related injuries happen in many different ways, from accidents such as falls and burns to occupational diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle strain.
Workers who are hurt on the job have rights. A work injury lawyer at Colombo Law can help you explore your options for recovering compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.
When Can I Sue for a Work Injury?
In Ohio, like most states, the vast majority of employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp provides benefits to employees who are injured on the job. In most cases – unless you were intoxicated or injured yourself on purpose – you will be able to receive benefits regardless of how the injury occurred.
Workers’ comp benefits can cover medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent total or permanent partial disability, death benefits, and more.
However, when an employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, it also means that employees are generally not allowed to sue their employers for their injuries. In these cases, a workers’ compensation claim is their only means of recovering benefits. There are some exceptions, but they are uncommon and difficult to prove.
That said, you may be able to sue a third party for additional compensation if their negligence caused the accident. For example, if a delivery driver was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver while on the job, the delivery driver may be able to file a claim against the at-fault motorist as well as apply for workers’ compensation benefits.
Because workers’ compensation benefits only cover select losses, it is important to determine if you have a third-party claim related to your work injury. You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to review all of your potential claims.
How Much Time Do I Have for a Work Injury Claim?
When it comes to filing a workers’ compensation claim, the amount of time you have depends on the nature of your injury or occupational disease. According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), you have one year to file a notice of injury. This covers all accidents and injuries, including those that result in the death of a worker.
Occupational diseases, on the other hand, are handled differently. It is not uncommon for occupational diseases to be discovered years or even decades later. As a result, the Ohio BWC gives workers two years from the date of disability – or death due to the disease – to file a claim.
Determining the date of disability can be challenging with occupational diseases. The Ohio BWC defines the date of disability as whichever of the following comes first:
- When you first became aware of the disease through a diagnosis
- When you were first treated for the disease
- When you quit work due to the disease
Once you have been diagnosed by a physician, you only have six months to file a claim for an occupational disease.
If you do have a viable third-party claim, this would be a separate matter under personal injury law. In Ohio, you have two years from the date of an injury to file a personal injury claim (with some rare exceptions).
Why You Should Start on Your Work Injury Claim Sooner Than Later
While many workers are able to recover workers’ compensation benefits after a work-related injury, this is, unfortunately, not always the case. Claims are sometimes denied and injured workers are not given the amount they need and deserve.
At the same time, if you have a viable claim for a third-party lawsuit, it can greatly increase the complexity of your case. Personal injury lawsuits, unlike workers’ compensation claims, require that you prove the negligence of another party. This requires prompt investigation, collection of evidence, witness interviews, damage calculations, and much more.
Ultimately, waiting too long to begin your work injury claim can make it difficult to prepare a lawsuit and pursue the maximum compensation you need and deserve for your damages.
Contact a Work Injury Lawyer Today
At Colombo Law, we understand the stress and uncertainty that come with a work-related injury. You may feel at the mercy of a system you do not understand and that does not seem to care about you.
We are here to help give you back control and ensure your rights are protected. Whether you are struggling to obtain workers’ comp benefits or you believe you may have a viable third-party lawsuit, we will promptly put our experience and focus to work for you.
Please call Colombo Law at (614) 362-7000 today for a free consultation. Our work injury lawyers represent clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.