When people get injured on the job, they often have a lot of questions about Ohio’s workers’ compensation system. Some of these frequently asked questions are listed below.
After reviewing our answers to commonly asked questions, we encourage you to contact our office for a free review of your claim. Our trusted Cincinnati workers’ compensation lawyers at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy know how to protect the rights of injured workers.
In a free consultation, we can explain what to expect in a workers’ compensation claim and how we may be able to help. Since we operate on contingency, there are no upfront charges. If we do not obtain benefits on your behalf, we do not get paid.
Am I Eligible For Benefits If I Contributed To My Injury?
The short answer is “yes.” Ohio’s workers’ compensation system is not based on fault. Generally, it does not matter who was at fault if the injury occurred in the course of your work. If you or your attorney can prove this, you may be eligible for benefits.
However, there may be situations when a worker’s role in suffering an injury may prevent him or her from receiving benefits. This could happen if the injury occurred because you ignored a company safety policy, you intentionally hurt yourself, you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or you were injured while involved in a fight.
What If My Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
Ohio requires all employers to purchase workers’ compensation coverage through a state agency. Ohio businesses are not permitted to purchase private insurance for this purpose.
The requirement to purchase coverage is closely monitored and strictly enforced by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and if an employer allows his or her workers’ compensation insurance to lapse, there is a schedule of penalties that may be applied by the state, including:
- One percent of the premium for failure to file a payroll report when due (up to a $15 maximum)
- $30 fee for missing a premium payment, as well as up to 15 percent of the premium for later payments
- A lien may be assessed by the BWC for non-payment of premiums or costs of claims incurred while a policy was lapsed
If an employee is injured while a policy is fully lapsed, he or she can sue the employer for the entire cost of damages and expenses.
Can I Sue A Third Party For Negligence In Addition To Collecting Workers’ Comp?
In certain situations, employees may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party while filing a workers’ compensation claim against their employer. Here are some examples of situations when a third-party claim may be an option:
- If you were injured in a car crash by a distracted motorist while driving for work
- If injured while working on a poorly-maintained or dangerous property that is not owned by your employer (like a construction site), you may be able to file a premises liability claim against the property owner
- If an injury results from exposure to a toxic substance, and you can prove the safety equipment that was supposed to protect you did not do its job, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the safety equipment
- If you were injured by a defective product used for work, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product
Who Can Help Me With My Claim?
As you can see from the information above, workers’ compensation claims are complex, especially if there are third parties who contributed to an injury.
We encourage you to contact O’Connor, Acciani & Levy to see how we may be able to assist you during this trying time. If you have a valid claim, we are ready to fight for maximum compensation while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
Call today for a free review of your claim. There are no out-of-pocket costs if we represent you, which means there is no financial risk. If you do not get paid, we do not get paid.