When filing a workers’ compensation claim in Ohio, you want to consider these 8 important steps of the process, ensuring that you go through the process in the correct way. By following these steps, you will further increase your odds of receiving a favorable settlement for your work injury case.
1. Report the injury to your employer
If you have been injured at work, you MUST inform your employer. Ask them to produce a written report about the incident, document the date and time of the injury, how and where it happened, and if there were any witnesses. You should also keep a file of all receipts and hospital records for further reference.
2. Complete a First Report of Injury Form
Make sure you complete a First Report of Injury form, which is referred to as a FROI form in the workers’ compensation world. Your employer is supposed to fill out the form, but if that does not happen, an attorney can help you. This form is the only way that you can get a claim number on file with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, so it is crucial that you fill one out. Until you have a claim number, your case will go nowhere. A worker generally has two years from the date of the incident to file a claim, but the sooner an injured worker does it, the better.
3. Get a claim number
You need a claim number issued by the BWC before you can do anything with your claim. Once you filed your FROI form, contact the BWC to get your claim ID card. Everything that happens with your case will be linked to the claim number that you receive.
4. Get medical treatment
You can receive treatment from any doctor you want after a work injury incident, as long as the doctor is certified by the BWC. Many think that you have to go to the doctor that your employer sends you to, but that isn’t the case. If your family physician isn’t BWC certified, consult a work injury lawyer to get references of who else you could see. You can only get compensated for the injuries that the BWC determines were caused by your workplace injury, but your workers’ compensation attorney can file a motion that seeks coverage for additional conditions related to the injury. This becomes critical if you file a permanent partial disability later down the road.
5. Cooperate with mandatory drug testing
If it is requested within a certain period of time, your employer can require you to take a mandatory drug test following your workplace injury. If your employer does ask you to take a drug test, you must do it to move forward with your workers’ compensation claim. If you then test positive for drugs, they can be considered to be the cause of your work injury, but this assumption may be rebuttable, so it doesn’t completely kill your case.
6. File a C-84 form
When you seek temporary disability benefits after your work injury case, make sure that your doctor files a C-84 form with the BWC, allowing you to be compensated for lost wages. Sometimes doctors forget to do this so you may need to request that your attorney ensures this is done with your doctor’s office.
7. File for wage differential benefits
If your work injury has caused a reduction in the hours that you are able to work, or it reduces your rate of pay, you can file for wage differential benefits to help you make up the difference. This same concept works if you are forced to change employers and end up working for less pay or fewer hours than you were at your previous job.
8. Have an attorney handle your contested hearing
If your employer opposes your claim or a portion of your claim, there could be a contested hearing on the issue. If this occurs, you really need an attorney working with you that has experience with workers’ compensation cases. Someone needs to make the proper arguments for you in order to portray your situation in the best light possible with the hearing officer.
If you have been injured at work, it is imperative to follow these steps. It is wise to have an experienced attorney working on your side, helping you receive the best possible settlement.
If you have been injured at work, call 800.637.8170 to review your case with one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys. They can answer any questions that you may have, as well as give you a free case evaluation over the phone. You may also request a free copy of The Ohio Work Injury Book which can be a great resource throughout your claims process, or order it directly from our website.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC