Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws exist to help people who have gotten injured or sick on the job maintain much of their household income while they are laid up. But when the time comes for you to make a claim, things can get complicated. There are a lot of things you are supposed to do. If you do not do them the right way, your claim could get rejected, no matter how strong it is on the merits.
Here is a list of four mistakes many injured workers make that can hurt their case.
- Wait to report the injury. The law requires you to report work-related injuries to your employer within 14 days of the accident. If you do not report in time, your claim will fail.
- Not getting medical treatment. The sooner you get medical attention for your injuries, the sooner you begin to recover. Legally, it also helps establish that you were injured as seriously as you claimed. Otherwise, your employer could claim that you are faking or exaggerating your injuries.
- Not getting a second opinion. Your employer might require you to visit a doctor of its choice for an exam. This doctor is likely getting paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company, and might not be as objective about your health as they should be.
- Not assuming their employer is watching them. Depending on how serious your injury is, and how much they might be asked to pay in workers’ comp, the insurance company might hire a private investigator to watch you. An investigator would look for signs that your injuries are less severe than you are claiming. For example, the insurance company would be interested in a video of you lifting boxes after a back injury — even if the boxes were light and within your doctor’s recommended weight limits.
Your best bet for avoiding errors and getting fair treatment of your workers’ comp claim is to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. A lawyer who has experience representing injured workers will know the system well. They will make sure your claim or appeal is backed up by the evidence and help you make the best possible case.