First, understand that you may have grounds for filing a personal injury compensation claim if you get hurt on the job. While Ohio makes it nearly impossible for an employee to sue his or her employer for negligence, you can sue the driver who hit you while you were using a company vehicle or the maker of a defective tool that failed while you were completing a task.
What you cannot do, in most cases, is receive full workers’ compensation benefits and a maximal car insurance or product liability settlement. You will not actually lose any money, but you must know what to expect.
If you succeed with what lawyers call a third-party claim, the settlement or jury award you receive on your Cleveland, Ohio, personal injury compensation claim will not reduce your Ohio workers’ compensation benefits. However, the amount paid out on your personal injury claim may be reduced by up to the full amount required to reimburse the workers’ comp program.
This will happen because Ohio recognizes an insurance rule called subrogation. You do not need to know the exact definition of that term. Nor do you need to dive deeply into the details of how subrogation works. Your Cleveland personal injury attorney and workers’ comp advocate will handle it. In fact, at Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman, we take special care to ensure that our clients are not financially harmed by subrogation.
What you need to know about subrogation is best explained by giving an example.
Say you work as a delivery driver. A car runs a red light and slams into your truck while you are out on your daily rounds.
Your obviously work-related car crash injuries keep you out of work for a month. Between medical expenses and wage replacements, the workers’ comp program pays you a total of $20,000.
You consult with a Cleveland personal injury lawyer and decide to file claims for medical costs to date, lost wages, ongoing physical therapy, and pain and suffering. When your case finally settles, you receive $80,000 from the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy.
The higher car insurance settlement reflects the fact that workers’ comp stops paying medical benefits when you get cleared to return to your job. Also, workers’ comp only replaces two-thirds of your lost wages, and workers’ comp does not compensate people for pain and suffering caused by on-the-job accidents.
Under the subrogation rule, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will get paid back the $20,000 it gave you in benefits. You will still receive $60,000 from the car insurance settlement. The transfer of funds is arranged between the insurance company and the workers’ comp program, so you do not spend anything out of your own pocket.
Attorneys in the Cleveland, Ohio, offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman represent clients with personal injury compensation claims and workers’ comp cases. We offer free consultations and stand ready to help any Ohioan recover the compensation and monetary damages they deserve from the negligent individuals or corporations who harm them. Let us know how we can be assistance to you by calling us at (800) 678-3318 or connecting with us online.