Workers’ compensation is an important safety net for Ohioans who suffer injuries and illnesses as a result of their employment. Every year, around three out of every 100 full-time workers will qualify for Ohio workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are provided regardless of fault and at no cost to employees. As long as the injury occurs “in the course of their employment,” an injured worker qualifies for medical and wage loss benefits.
In practice, however, Ohio workers’ compensation claims aren’t always clear-cut. Disputes can arise about the nature and extent of injury or illness. There can also be questions about the type(s) of compensation benefits for which a claimant qualifies.
Don’t assume that you’ll automatically receive all the benefits you’re entitled to. Be prepared to take the initiative on your claim, and know that help is available from Graham & Graham if you need it.
Types of Compensation Available to Injured Ohio Workers
Workers’ compensation is an exclusive remedy system. That is, workers cannot file a lawsuit against their employer if they become injured or sick on the job. Claims must be filed with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC)—not with the court. The only time the court system gets involved in a workers’ comp claim is during the final stage of the appeals process.
BWC offers several types of compensation benefits for reduced earning capacity and lost time from work.
Every year, the BWC receives around 97,000 claims. It approves around 85,000 of these claims and pays approximately $1.5 billion annually in benefits. Around one-third of the benefits paid are medical benefits. The other two-thirds are compensation benefits for missed work, reduced earning capacity, and rehabilitation.
BWC offers several types of Ohio workers’ compensation benefits for reduced earning capacity and lost time from work. Lost time benefits are not payable unless you miss more than seven days of work. However, you may qualify for compensation even if you haven’t missed time from work due to your injury. Questions about benefits can be discussed with our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers during a no-cost consultation.
Temporary Total Disability
Temporary total disability (TTD) is available to workers who are totally disabled and unable to work for a short period of time. TTD wage loss benefits are paid when an injured worker:
- Can’t perform their job duties as they existed at the time of injury
- Has not reached maximum medical improvement
- Has been released to work with restrictions, but the employer can’t provide work within the physical capabilities of the injured worker
Although TTD is only paid if a worker misses eight or more days of work, once an injured worker is off work for 14 consecutive days, BWC pays wage loss benefits for the first seven days missed and all days missed after that.
Permanent Total Disability
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) means that a worker is unable to work at all—at their previous job or any other job—because of injuries or illness sustained in the course of their employment. While PTD benefits may be paid for life, that isn’t always the case. Ohio workers’ compensation law states that “permanent” does not mean the disability must necessarily continue for the rest of the worker’s life. Rather, it will continue “for an indefinite period of time without any present indication of recovery therefrom.” Certain injuries, including the loss or loss of use of both hands, arms, feet, or legs, are automatically considered permanent total disabilities
The PTD award amount is 66 2/3 percent of the injured worker’s average weekly wage at the time of injury, up to the state set maximum. When applying for PTD benefits, a worker must attend an Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC) medical examination and hearing to determine if they meet eligibility criteria.
Lump Sum Settlement
Injured Ohio workers may choose to receive a lump sum settlement for their claim in place of ongoing medical and wage loss benefits. The lump sum settlement, which can be pursued for ANY type of workers’ comp claim, including claims with no lost time, permanently resolves all past, present, and future claim issues. An injured worker or their employer may choose to initiate the settlement, which can have benefits for both parties. But there are many factors to consider before deciding to settle or not.
A claim can be settled even when there is no lost time.
Settlements are final and need to account for future medical expenses, lost time from employment, work restrictions, and the settlement’s effect on future benefits. BWC must approve the settlement and the settlement amount. The IC has the authority to disapprove the settlement agreement if it finds the amount to be clearly unfair. During a 30-day waiting period, any party to the settlement can withdraw.
Workers whose earnings are reduced as a direct result of their workplace injury or illness may be eligible for wage loss compensation. Two types of wage loss benefits are available:
- Working wage loss: This benefit is payable when the injured worker returns to employment that is different than their work at the time of injury and their physical restrictions cause them to earn less pay. The new job duties can be with the same employer or a new employer.
- Non-working wage loss: If an injured worker is released to return to work with restrictions, but can’t find suitable employment, they can qualify for a non-working wage loss. Qualification for this benefit is contingent upon a good faith job search with the appropriate documentation.
Permanent Partial Disability Award
Workers with permanent damage to a body part from an occupational injury or disease may be eligible for permanent partial disability benefits, of which there are two types:
- Scheduled loss: Amputations and loss of use of specific body parts, as well as loss of vision and hearing, can entitle the worker to a scheduled loss award. Allowed awards are paid in biweekly installments for a statutorily-determined amount of time. For example, loss of use of a hand is paid up to 175 weeks; loss of use of a leg is paid up to 200 weeks. BWC sets the maximum available weekly rate.
- Percentage of permanent partial award (%PP): Permanent damage that remains after a worker has recovered as fully as possible may lead to an award for residual impairment or partial disability. Eligible workers undergo an independent medical examination and a physician determines the level of impairment (such as 20%, 30%, etc.). This percentage is then applied to the maximum allowable %PP award. You can see compensation rates here.
Other Types of Compensation
The benefits mentioned above are just some of the types of compensation that BWC offers. Other types include:
- Disabled Workers’ Relief Fund
- Change of occupation
- Facial disfigurement
- Living maintenance
- Death Claims
- Lump sum advancement
- Violation of a Specific Safety Requirement
Get The Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Deserve
Graham & Graham believes that every client and every injury—great or small—deserves attention. We’ve been serving southeastern Ohio since 1923 and consider it a privilege to protect the rights of the hardworking people who live here. If you were hurt on the job, our attorneys will make sure that you understand your rights and are fairly compensated. We assist with all phases of the workers’ compensation claims process, from filing the initial paperwork to appealing wrongly denied claims.
For help with your workers’ compensation case, call 1-800-621-8585 or email David Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.