The Columbus workers’ compensation attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman get asked what constitutes a workers’ comp-eligible injury almost every day. We’ve developed the following short answer that lays out the essentials. You may want to check out the details, as well, if you do not immediately spot your physical problem listed or if you want to know more about whether it matters how and where an injury occurred and if conditions other than an injury could qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.

The Essentials

Any on-the-job injury or death suffered while doing work-related activities is theoretically covered under the rules for Ohio Workers’ Compensation. The list includes, but is not limited to

  • Amputation
  • Blinding
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Dislocations
  • Eye damage
  • Head trauma
  • Hearing loss that occurs suddenly
  • Impaling
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Traumatic brain injury

To qualify for coverage, the injury should be severe enough to require medical treatment and leave you unable to work for a significant number of days.


Illnesses that develop as a direct result of exposure to harmful fumes, chemicals, and infectious agents like molds and bacteria can also merit workers’ compensation benefits. Occupational illness cases tend to draw the most scrutiny from workers’ comp case reviewers, however, because issues of cause-and-effect and the timeliness of claims can be easy for employers to dispute. Working closely with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, when pursuing an illness-related claim is recommended.

In injury, worker death, and illness cases, how the problem developed matters. For instance, Ohio Workers’ Compensation will not cover claims for self-inflicted injuries or for injuries suffered while intoxicated or violating express orders from a manager or supervisor. The workers’ comp program will also not pay benefits for health problems that merely became worse because of what a person did at work. That is, a preexisting condition can derail a workers’ compensation claim.

Questions of cause and the statute of limitation also loom large in workers’ compensation claims arising from an employee’s death. For instance, a history of smoking can present a challenge for a lung disease case. Equally problematic, when a diagnosis was made in relation to when the damage actually happened is almost always challenged. Generally, a worker has only two years from the date an injury occurred to file a claim, but that clock may not start ticking until a doctor tells a person that his or her terminal illness can be blamed on the materials they used on the job. Sorting through such issues often requires assistance and representation from a workers’ comp lawyer.

Finally, where an injury occurs counts. Car crashes in company vehicles during work hours are covered, while commuting from your home to the office is not. Slips and falls in company parking lots can be covered, but falling in a restaurant during an unpaid lunch hour will not be. Off-site or worksite-adjacent claims should only be filed after consulting with a knowledgeable workers’ comp lawyer.

Lawyers with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman welcome your additional questions regarding workers’ compensation in Ohio. An initial discussion will cost you nothing, so contact us online or call our Columbus offices at (800) 678-3318 to request an appointment.