Your first thought after suffering an injury on the job, receiving a diagnosis of an occupational illness or, even more terribly, learning that your spouse died in a workplace accident is, undoubtedly, “What do I do now?”

Ohio, like every other state, provides one immediate answer, which is “apply for workers’ compensation benefits.”

But settling on that course of action raises a host of questions — How? When? To Whom and With What Information?

Speaking with a dedicated and caring Columbus, Ohio, workers’ comp attorney will provide essentials answers to your most pressing concerns. Based on our decades of experience, we suggest starting by posing the following five questions to a workers’ comp lawyer.

Am I eligible to file a workers’ comp claim in Ohio?

This depends on many factors. You can request workers’ compensation from the Ohio program if your case satisfies all the following criteria:

  • The injury, illness or death occurred while the person named in the application was engaged in work-related activities;
  • The work-related activity was being performed in Ohio;
  • The injury or illness imposed a temporary period of disability (or a loss of life) during which the person named in the application could not work; and
  • The injured, ill, or deceased person did not intentionally cause the accident or exposure, was not breaking the law at the time of the incident and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Many other, more-specific questions will arise when determining whether your case qualifies. This will be especially true if the employer challenges a claim on the grounds that the person named in the application was not engaged in work-related activities.

Has the statute of limitations on my workers’ comp claim expired?

Ohio gives people one year from the date of a workplace accident or the diagnosis of an occupational illness to start the workers’ compensation claims process. If you think you might have missed the deadline for your own case, ask a workers’ comp attorney to investigate when the statute of limitations clock should have started ticking.

What information do I need to prepare my workers’ comp application?

You need proof that you suffered an injury or illness, or that your spouse died on the job. Securing a copy of the accident report and investigation conclusions from the employer will suffice in most instances. Requesting corporate records may be necessary to document exposure to toxic chemicals or hazardous materials if your workers’ comp claim arises from an occupational illness that was diagnosed after you retired or took another job.

You will also need medical records, therapy notes, prescription orders and other forms of proof that you experienced a disability that kept you from working.

Equally important, you need pay stubs or other documentation of what you or your spouse was being paid at the time of the work-related injury, occupational illness or fatal accident. Several types of workers’ comp benefits are paid out as a percentage of what the recipient would earn while working full-time.

Aside from the paperwork, the Ohio Workers’ Compensation program asks most applicants to submit to a physical assessment from a health care provider of its own choosing. Then, after awarding benefits, the program requires most workers’ comp recipients to complete courses of physical and/or occupational therapy to continue receiving payments.

What happens if my workers’ comp claim gets declined?

Applicants can work with their attorney to appeal a denial of workers’ comp benefits up to four times. The first appeal is primarily a paperwork process. It typically involves gathering and submitting additional medical information.

The second appeal will result in a hearing during which the applicant and his or her lawyer can make their case in person. If that proves unsuccessful, all the application material can be sent for review by a special panel. The final appeal requires a lawsuit to be filed.

How much will hiring a Columbus, Ohio, workers’ comp attorney cost me?

We cannot speak for any other law firms, by Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman does not directly charge our workers’ compensation clients anything. We only get paid if we succeed in securing benefits for an injured or ill worker. Then, and only then, we will take a percentage of the settlement amount or of the total benefits award. This is called taking a case on contingency, and it guarantees that our clients assume no financial risk while taking advantage of our legal services.

Have more question to ask a workers’ comp lawyer? Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys by calling (614) 678-3318 or connecting with us online.