You should keep two deadlines for filing workplace injury claims in mind. The first applies to workers’ compensation claims, and the second is for a personal injury lawsuit against the maker of a defective tool or dangerous machine. Both types of deadlines are the same for claims and lawsuits related to accidental deaths on the job.
Knowing how to report a workplace injury of illness will help you as much as knowing when to do so. We discuss this after setting out the deadlines.
The Ohio Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations
In Ohio, people who suffer a work-related injury or who develop an occupational illness have exactly one year to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits. The statute of limitations clock starts ticking on the date of the work-related injury. For occupational illnesses, the clock starts on either the day when symptoms became disabling or on the day when a definite diagnosis was made.
The 12-month deadline for filing workplace injury claims is strictly enforced in all cases. If you apply for benefits after the window for doing so has closed, your application will be rejected automatically. Applying for other forms of long-term disability benefits, such as those available through Social Security or from a pension plan like the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) may still be an option, however.
Filing a Claim Over a Faulty Tool
Ohio law makes it nearly impossible to file a personal injury claim against your employer, but you do have the right to sue the maker of the tool or machine that malfunctioned. The statute of limitations for such third-party lawsuit is two years from the date on which you suffered your work-related injury.
As with workers’ comp claims, you absolutely must take legal action within the 24-month window for filing a third-party lawsuit. The first question a court will ask is whether you met the statute of limitations. If the answer is no, you will not be allowed to pursue your case.
How to Report a Workplace Injury
Do not wait. Report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as your health allows. Wait until after you receive appropriate medical care, of course. But never put off reporting until the workers’ comp or personal injury lawsuit deadline looms.
If your employer has a formal process and specific forms for reporting workplace accidents, follow that procedure to the letter. Check with human resources or your health benefits coordinator to get all the rules and required paperwork.
If you are left on your own to put together a report, write out what you know happened, describe the injuries or symptoms you suffered, and summarize the treatment you received. Be sure to include your name, home address and personal phone number and email address. Hand or email your report to your manager or supervisor, and follow up if you do not receive a timely response about an investigation and next steps.
Workplace injury attorneys in the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman welcome opportunities to help injured and ill workers prepare reports, file for workers’ comp benefits and explore possibilities for third-party lawsuits. We offer free consultations to all potential clients, and we schedule appointments online. If you would prefer to speak with a lawyer directly, call us at (800) 678-3318.