At the most basic level, you can apply for the coverage of medical expenses, the partial replacement of lost wages, and other types of workers’ compensation in Ohio if you

  • Work for an employer that participates in the workers’ comp program (as most do) and
  • Suffer a serious physical injury while performing job-related tasks, or
  • Develop a debilitating illness due to exposure to toxic materials while working.

Other rules apply, which we discuss below. If you get hurt while doing something besides working, or if symptoms of a long-term health condition that is not an occupational illness prevent you from working, you will need to apply for short- or long-term disability benefits through a program other than Ohio Workers’ Compensation.

Another thing to consider is that worker’s comp is intended to cover short-term disability. People who are out of work for a year or longer should apply for permanent disability benefits through a program like Social Security,

When Is an Injury or Illness Considered Work-Related and Eligible for Workers’ Comp?

To merit a claim for workers’ comp benefits, an injury or illness

  • MUST have occurred while you were doing something related to your job;
  • MUST have occurred while you were acting within your assigned duties or at the request of, and with the knowledge of, a manager or supervisor;
  • MUST have kept you out of work for at least three days;
  • MUST have required medical treatment;
  • MUST NOT have occurred while you were violating safety rules or regulations;
  • MUST NOT have occurred while you were engaging in horseplay, trespassing or breaking the law; and
  • MUST NOT have occurred while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

You should report a work-related injury or occupational illness to a manager or your human resources representative as soon as possible. Doing that compels your employer to investigate, and the findings from that investigation can be used to support your workers’ comp claim.

Additionally, seek medical care immediately. You will need proof of how serious your injury or illness was in order to secure benefits.

Last, be aware that most employers demand alcohol and drug screenings for anyone involved in a workplace accident. Ohio law allows employers and the workers’ comp program itself to challenge each claim for benefits. Obtaining proof that an employee was drunk or high on the job is one of the surest ways to deny benefits.

What Injuries Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Ohio?

In theory, any work-related injury or occupational illness qualifies you to apply for workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio. Examples of eligible injuries and injuries include, but are not limited to,

  • Injuries suffered in crashes involving company vehicles or while traveling for work
  • Injuries from slips and falls in the workplace
  • Amputations by machinery or tools
  • Burns from heat, fire, or chemicals
  • Injuries from falling objects, including concussions
  • Losing an eye
  • Losing one’s sight
  • Losing one’s sense of smell
  • Losing one’s hearing, even if it returns later
  • Lung diseases and skin conditions from exposure to toxic materials

Workers’ Comp attorneys in the Cleveland offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman have decades of experience in helping Ohio residents claim workers’ comp benefits. We offer free consultations, and we take appointments online. To speak with a lawyer directly, call (800) 678-3318.