No “one weird trick” ensures you will win your workers’ compensation claim. Each case is unique, and your employer and the Ohio workers’ comp program will look for almost any excuse to deny benefits.
Still, as Cleveland-based attorneys who have decades of experience with helping people who suffered injuries on the job or who developed occupational illnesses, we are happy to offer several tips on how to win a workers’ compensation claim. Here are seven rules to follow when filing and pursuing claims for replacement wages and coverage of medical expenses.
A couple of laws and state court decisions make it nearly impossible for employees to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against their employers. Some injured or ill workers may be able to pursue what are called third-party claims against a negligent driver or the maker of a defective tool. Let your workers’ comp attorney worry about that possibility. Concentrate on winning your workers’ compensation claim.
Ohio imposes a one-year statute of limitations on workers’ comp claims. The deadline to request benefits for a work-related injury, illness or death hits exactly 12 months after the date of the workplace accident, diagnosis or loss of life. The workers’ compensation program automatically rejects every application that arrives outside the statute of limitations.
Winning your workers’ comp claim requires presenting evidence that your disability resulted from doing your job and, also, that you did not harm yourself intentionally or while ignoring safety rules. Filing an accident or incident report with your employer ensures that an investigation will be performed. The findings from that investigation can stand as strong evidence for your right to claim benefits. Note that you are not required to report anything to your employer immediately. After all, you may not be physically able to do so.
Medical evidence goes a long way toward making your case for workers’ comp benefits. At a minimum you need proof that you sought treatment and that the work-related injury or illness kept you from working for weeks or months.
Workers’ comp is designed to tide people over as they recover from a work-related injury or illness. Beneficiaries are expected to return to their jobs and, importantly, do what they can to return. An employer or the workers’ compensation program can cite missed doctor’s appointments, unfilled prescriptions and failure to complete rehabilitation assignments as reasons to deny claims.
Do not be shocked or give up if you do not win your workers’ compensation claim the first time you apply. Employers contest claims vigorously, and officials who work for the workers’ comp program have long lists of reasons why they can reject applications. Three rounds of official appeal exist, and injured or ill workers have the legal right to take their claims to court if the regular appeals do not succeed.
Seeking advice and assistance from a lawyer who has helped hundreds of Ohio residents navigate the application and appeals process will give you your best shot at winning your workers’ compensation claim. If you would like to learn what we could do for you, call our Cleveland offices at (800) 678-3318 or connect with us online. The first appointment is free.