How Workers’ Comp Claims Affect Future Employment (and Unemployment)
The answer to the question, “How does workers’ comp affect employment in Ohio?” should be, “It doesn’t.”
In most cases, this answer holds up, but there are cases when a person who applies for workers’ compensation benefits will need some assistance with seeking permanent disability coverage or keeping a job.
How Workers’ Comp Is Supposed to Work
Workers’ compensation is set up to operate as a temporary disability program for people who suffer workplace injuries or develop occupational illnesses. People who apply for and receive workers’ comp benefits are supposed to return to their jobs.
Most times, that is exactly what happens. Consider the following very typical example:
A person suffers a serious cut while operating a machine. That individual receives stitches at a nearby hospital emergency room, gets follow-up care from a family physician, maybe does some physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion, and returns to work after a month or two.
Soon after the injury, an accident report is filed with the employer and an application is submitted to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The accident report triggers an internal investigation. The application goes through a review process that includes consideration of the investigation’s findings and the applicant’s medical records.
Assuming the workers’ comp application is approved, the injured worker may already be back on the job before checks are cut to cover medical expenses and replace lost wages. In the more-usual situation that appeals are required to secure workers’ comp benefits, the applicant will almost definitely have returned from medical leave.
Special Cases Do Occur
Each case is different, of course, and not everyone can just go back to doing the job they had before getting hurt or falling ill. For workplace injuries that result in permanent disabilities, most people in Ohio have access to Social Security Disability Insurance. State and local government workers, as well as public school employees, have access to permanent disability coverage through programs similar to SSDI.
When people can return to work but can no longer perform the exact job they had, Ohio workers’ comp offers a range of retaining and temporary wage support benefits and accommodations. Consulting with a workplace injury attorney will clarify when and if these special types of benefits are available.
When Workers’ Comp Does Not Operate as Designed
Now, the bad news.
Occasionally, an employer will penalize a person for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Companies do not appreciate the scrutiny an accident investigation brings. They also really dislike how workers’ comp claims affect premiums for insurance. That displeasure can get illegally redirected onto the injured or ill employee resulting in unwarranted discrimination and potentially termination.
If retaliation like getting fired or bullied happens, a workers’ comp applicant has rights under whistleblower laws and employee rights legislation to sue the company. An experienced workers’ comp attorney will be able to help his or her client fight back against abuse and mistreatment.
To get in touch with someone who can help you with your workers’ compensation case no matter how complicated it is, call the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman at (614) 221-3318 or (800) 678-3318. Our workers’ compensation lawyers offer free consultations, and they also take appointments online.