An injury on the job can quickly take you out of the workforce for several weeks or months. Illnesses and injuries linked to your work do more than cost you lost wages. Some employees cannot return to work at all due to limitations caused by their workplace injury, while others struggle with chronic pain.
Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to cover the medical costs of your injury and reduce its financial impact on your life. How much you receive after an injury at work depends on the severity of the damage and how long it will prevent you from returning to work – if you can return at all.
Unfortunately, employers and insurance providers often try to invalidate or devalue legitimate claims. If you are facing this situation, a work injury lawyer at Colombo Law can fight for the full benefits and other compensation you deserve.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Pay for a Workplace Injury?
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (or Ohio BWC). The system is designed to mitigate the significant financial impact of job-related injuries on workers (as well as limit liability for employers when workers are hurt in on-the-job accidents).
Most workers are entitled to two different forms of benefits if they get injured on the job or suffer an occupational illness. These benefits are:
All medical bills associated with the workplace injury or illness – including doctor’s visits, emergency care, ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation, and co-pays for medications – should be paid through your workers’ compensation benefits. Out-of-pocket payments for medical care related to the injury (such as purchasing bandages, over-the-counter medications, etc.) are typically not reimbursed.
All medical expenses need to be sent directly to your employer’s managed care organization (MCO). The MCO is a third party selected by your employer that processes the medical aspects of workers’ compensation claims.
Generally, the medical provider will send bills related to your care directly to the MCO on your behalf. The MCO will then process payment.
You won’t receive disability benefits payments for the first seven days of missed work until you lose more than two weeks of work due to the injury. The amount and duration of your worker’s compensation benefits depend on your wages or salary and type of injury.
Disability benefits payments are calculated as a percentage of your average weekly wage. Weekly payments are subject to the annual minimum and maximum benefits established by Ohio law.
Your workers’ compensation disability benefits are paid for temporary disability until your condition is established as a permanent injury that puts significant strain on your ability to return to work, perform similar work, or go back to the workforce. Some employees experience a permanent partial disability that limits the type of work they can do but does not wholly interfere with their ability to hold a job.
While workers’ compensation is beneficial, it can place constraints on injured victims in the workplace. Only a portion of your average paycheck or earning capacity is covered with these benefits, and no allowance is made for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or mental anguish caused by the incident or work-related activity.
Can I Sue for a Work-Related Injury?
Workers’ compensation benefits are not designed with the individual employee’s best interests in mind. The rules often favor employers and their insurers, making it difficult for workers to be fairly compensated for the losses they sustain as a result of a job-related injury.
Generally, employees are not allowed to sue an employer for injuries sustained at work. However, you may be entitled to additional compensation if one or more negligent third parties caused you harm.
A knowledgeable work injury attorney can investigate to determine if third party liability was a factor in your case. If the negligence of a contractor or subcontractor, the owner of the premises where you were working, etc. led to your injury, you may be entitled to compensation beyond what you can get through workers’ comp.
What Compensation Can I Recover Through a Third-Party Claim?
Damages in a third-party claim are not subject to the same limitations imposed by workers’ compensation. As such, you may be able to recover compensation for all of the losses you have sustained as a result of a work accident, including:
- All medical expenses, including current bills and the cost of future treatment
- All of your lost wages (not just the percentage calculated for disability benefits under workers’ comp)
- Loss of earning capacity if your ability to work is restricted or you can’t work at all
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including medical-related travel, modifications to your home and vehicle, home-based care and assistance, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
It is crucial to keep all documentation of your work-related injuries and losses, including medical records, communications with your doctors, letters from the Ohio BWC, and more. A knowledgeable work injury attorney can review the evidence and advise you of your options for pursuing compensation.
You’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve been injured while at work or performing a work-related errand or task. Unfortunately, valid claims are sometimes denied and benefits are underpaid.
At Colombo Law, our attorneys are committed to helping clients recover maximum compensation for the injuries they suffer. We identify all potential avenues for recovery, including workers’ compensation benefits and third-party claims, and seek a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Please call Colombo Law at (614) 362-7000 today for a free case review. Our work injury lawyers serve clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.