The Workers’ Compensation System Is Difficult To Navigate

Many injured workers hope that they can handle their workers comp claims on their own. However, complications can arise immediately which prevent an injured worker from getting compensation and their medical bills paid. During the time taken off work due to the injury, most injured workers are entitled to wage replacement benefits. This benefit is calculated by examining the wages the injured worker earned prior to the injury. In some instances, it is possible that the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or the self-insured Employer may have gathered those wages incorrectly, and thus the payment that you receive as wage replacement may not be accurate.

Another complication can arise when the injured worker’s claim is only allowed for a simple sprain or bruise, when really there are much more significant injuries that occurred as a result of the accident, such as a muscle tear or fracture. This can result in surgery or other treatment getting denied, which significantly delays recovery. An attorney can help to resolve these issues, whether it be by communicating with your former and current employers to obtain appropriate wage information or discussing your case with your doctors to make certain that you have the best chance of success of getting all appropriate conditions added to your claim.

While it seems tempting to try to navigate the murky waters of workers’ compensation on your own, it is highly likely that an obstacle will be met at some point during the life of your claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you overcome whatever that obstacle may be.

You May Be Entitled To Additional Benefits

Under workers’ compensation laws in Ohio, there are a variety of benefits available to workers after they have been hurt on the job. Unfortunately, when navigating the system on your own, these benefits are not always readily offered by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or the self-insured Employer. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that you receive every benefit that can be afforded to you. For instance, if an injured worker returns to work but must operate at reduced hours due to his or her injury, working wage loss compensation might be available to that worker.

Another example is in the form of a permanent partial disability award, which compensates the injured worker for permanent damage sustained from the injury. In a perfect world, these benefits would be paid automatically under the given circumstances. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and the injured worker suffers financially because of it. Retaining an attorney will guarantee that you are informed of any and all compensation that is owed to you.  

You Need To Focus On You

Having a workers’ compensation attorney allows you to focus on your recovery and making a successful return to work. After filing a claim for an industrial injury, workers are often met with a mountain of paperwork to review and complete, such as medical authorizations, applications for payment, requests for treatment, etc. The goal of the injured worker at this time should be getting better—not navigating a complicated bureaucracy. A workers’ compensation attorney can relieve the burden of facing the system on your own, and help you understand every step of your claim. This in turn will afford you the opportunity to do what is most important—get better!

Issues In Your Claim May Be Disputed

More likely than not, there will be issues in a workers’ compensation claim that are contested, such as a doctor’s request for the worker to undergo treatment, a new condition that should be added to the claim, or even authorization of the claim in its entirety. In cases such as these, the contested issue will typically be scheduled for a hearing with the Industrial Commission, and an impartial hearing officer will resolve the matter. It is imperative that you obtain representation before attending this proceeding. Not only will the employer be represented by either a third-party administrator or even their own attorney, but the hearing officers themselves are attorneys. Attending a hearing can be daunting on its own, and to go into this matter without representation is ill-advised. A workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that all necessary evidence is on file before attending the hearing, will protect your rights during the hearing itself, and maximize your chance of success.

Maximize The Value Of Your Claim During Settlement Negotiations

In certain cases, an injured worker may consider settlement of his or her claim. Full and final settlement of a workers’ compensation claim is an agreement that the injured worker will give up all of his or her rights to future benefits and treatment in exchange for one lump sum of money. There is also the possibility of an indemnity-only settlement, wherein an injured worker retains the ability to seek medical treatment but settles the monetary portion of the claim. Settlement comes with a variety of considerations for the worker, and, with the assistance of an attorney, you can fully understand each and every one of those considerations.

Oftentimes, an injured worker may not know the true value of his or her claim, and an attorney is necessary to fully realize the worth of case. A settlement amount depends on the types of benefits a worker may be receiving, the possibility of future care and compensation, and the severity of the injuries (among many other factors!). Be careful not to settle your claim for less than it is worth!