What to Do When You’re Injured at Work
Experiencing an injury at work can leave you feeling confused and unsure of what to do. In addition to the injury, filing a workers’ compensation claim can be extremely stressful. Most people aren’t aware of how complex the process of filing this type of claim can be. There are many nuances involved, and every step of filing must be done correctly, or the injured worker may not receive benefits.
We have seen many clients struggle with the filing process and seek our help. Often, time has passed and they have missed out on wages and benefits. It’s easy for injured workers to make mistakes on their paperwork, misfile important medical evidence, or miss deadlines. In these circumstances, injured workers should seek help from legal professionals who are knowledgeable of state laws and filing procedures. At Casper & Casper, we specialize in workers’ compensation law and have helped countless Ohio residents get the benefits that they deserve. Below, we’ve outlined important steps to take if you’re injured on the job.
Report the Injury Immediately
If your injury does not require emergency medical treatment, it is crucial to inform your employer immediately and complete an internal accident report. One of the most common mistakes that injured workers make is waiting to tell their employer. Although the state of Ohio provides a year to file a workers’ compensation claim, most companies have policies in place that specify that a work injury must be reported immediately via a written report. This report is imperative for recording the injury. Once you have completed the report, give it to your employer, have them sign it, and keep a copy for yourself. The report might be necessary for claims management purposes, and you may be asked to submit a copy to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC). Delaying the reporting process may cause you to lose your right to file for workers’ compensation.
Be sure to keep clear, detailed records of the accident, including photos of injuries and any safety hazards. Collect witness statements and their contact information if possible. The more documentation you have to support your claim, the better.
Seek Medical Attention
If you have suffered a serious injury, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Let your healthcare provider know that the injury occurred while you were working. Obtain a medical report as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may need to visit an emergency room or an urgent care center. If your injury is not an emergency, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. In Ohio, employees have the right to choose their doctor for the first visit after a workplace injury, as long as the doctor is aware that it is a workplace injury. After the first visit, you are still entitled to choose your doctor, but they must be certified with the BWC.
File Your Claim
You can file your claim with the BWC online, by phone, or by mail. Claims are classified into two categories: medical-only or lost-time. A medical-only claim means that the injured worker has missed seven or fewer workdays due to a work-related injury. The worker can receive treatment and/or benefits for the injury and still report to work. A lost-time claim means the injured worker has missed more than eight days of work. If your medical provider files the claim on your behalf, they will submit it to the BWC by filing it online or by submitting it to the managed care organization (MCO) within 24 hours of your visit. (MCOs are companies that specialize in managing medical treatment for work-related injuries).
The First Report of Injury form (FROI-1) is one of the most important documents in workers’ compensation claims as it is the first step in processing a claim and getting you the treatment you need. Healthcare providers usually file the FROI-1, but we recommend following up with your employer’s benefits department and the BWC to confirm that it has been filed. Your employer is required to complete a part of the FROI-1, but it can be done after the form has been submitted to the BWC. After your claim has been filed, the BWC will send you an identification card with your claim number. Keep all correspondence and medical records concerning your claim together and in a safe place and carry the ID card with you for all appointments and pharmacy visits.
Know Your Rights
Educate yourself about your rights as an injured worker. This includes understanding potential disability benefits, rehabilitation services, and the right to return to work after recovery.
Consult with Legal Counsel
For serious workplace injuries, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you on your legal rights, potential compensation, and the best course of action to take.
We’re Here to Help
Workers’ compensation claims can be challenging to navigate. Unfortunately, many workers’ compensation claims are initially rejected, leaving the injured worker with a tough decision to make—bear the burden of medical costs and sometimes even disability—or face the daunting and high-pressure process of appealing against tough claims adjusters and insurance company’s attorneys.
That’s why seeking help from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be highly beneficial. A qualified attorney can ensure your claim is approved, so you receive the compensation you require as soon as possible. If your employer disputes your claim or it’s denied, an attorney can fight for you during the appeal process.
At Casper & Casper, we can significantly increase the chance of winning your case. We’re experienced in dealing with the complex bureaucratic system that processes claims for work-related injuries in Ohio. We know the tactics the other side uses to negotiate, and we can handle the entire process for you.
If you need assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, give us a call today. We will support you throughout the entire process. Contact us for a free initial consultation at a Casper & Casper location close to you.