Common Mistakes Injured Workers Make When Filing for Ohio Workers’ Compensation

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Throughout Ohio, countless individuals go to work every day, doing all they can to support themselves and their families. Most workers don’t think about getting hurt and experiencing disruptions to their livelihoods. Unfortunately, workplace injuries can happen to anyone, causing significant physical, emotional, and financial strain.

When work-related injuries occur, Ohio’s workers’ compensation system ensures that injured workers receive the benefits and care they need. However, getting financial reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages can be complicated, and many injured workers unintentionally make mistakes that can jeopardize their claims.

Here are seven common mistakes to avoid when filing a workers’ compensation claim in Ohio:

Mistake 1: Failing to Report the Injury Promptly

One of the most common mistakes injured workers make is not reporting their injuries right away. Ohio law gives workers one year from the incident date to report their workplace injuries to their employers, but there’s usually no good reason to wait. It’s always best to alert your employer as soon as possible because delays can cause legal snags, such as disputes about when the injury occurred and whether it is work-related. Reporting your injury as quickly as possible to your employer can help you file a timely and robust claim.

Mistake 2: Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention

Another mistake is holding off on getting medical attention. After sustaining a job-related injury, your priority should be your health. Otherwise, not seeing a doctor right away could compromise your physical recovery. Also, delaying medical treatment could raise questions about the seriousness of your injury in the eyes of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), the agency that processes your workers’ comp claim.

Mistake 3: Not Filing a First Report of Injury (FROI)

Reporting your incident to your employer is the first step, but assuming that the process will continue from there would be a mistake. You also must file a First Report of Injury (FROI) with the BWC. Failing to submit the FROI can result in a delay or denial of your claim.

Ensure you or your employer can complete this crucial form, ensuring accurate details about your injury go into the document. You might consider getting a Cincinnati attorney versed in workers’ comp to help you with the FROI.

Mistake 4: Failing to Keep Detailed Records

Many types of records pertain to your workplace incident, such as the medical documentation describing in detail how you were hurt and the nature of the injury, receipts from medical bills, doctor appointments, medical prescriptions, and proof of lost wages. You might also have paperwork indicating the need for long-term care, like occupational therapy.

Keeping detailed records is essential for filing a strong workers’ compensation claim. Also, it’s best to maintain documentation of all communications with your employer, the BWC, insurance companies, and medical professionals caring for you. These records can be instrumental in supporting your case and appealing a rejection of your claim if necessary.

Mistake 5: Not Following Medical Advice

Medical treatment for your workplace injury may go beyond the initial doctor’s appointment. You may need to take prescription medication, schedule follow-up appointments, or go through long-term therapy. In any of these cases, following your provider’s instructions and recommendations is vital. Also, make sure you keep all follow-up appointments.

Failing to adhere to prescribed treatments or missing appointments can interfere with your recovery and even delay your return to work. Not following all medical instructions may signal to insurers or the BWC that your injury may not be as severe as claimed, reducing your benefits or even resulting in a denial of your claim.

Mistake 6: Signing Documents Without Legal Review

Filing a workers’ compensation claim typically involves signing several documents, such as medical release forms and settlement agreements. It may be tempting to sign these documents without reading them thoroughly or fully understanding their legal implications just to get through all the tedious paperwork.

Before signing anything, consult a Cincinnati attorney experienced in workplace injury law. They can review the documents to ensure your rights and interests are protected. They’ll also explain any unfamiliar terms so that you know what signing each form will mean for you.

Mistake 7: Not Seeking Legal Representation

One of the most significant mistakes injured workers can make is not seeking legal representation. The process may seem straightforward initially, especially when an employer appears to be cooperative and sympathetic to your injury. However, if you experience an obstacle, dispute, or denial of their workers’ compensation claims, an experienced workers’ comp attorney can provide invaluable guidance.

Navigating the workers’ compensation process in Ohio can be challenging, and it’s possible to make a mistake when you don’t have the legal knowledge of workers’ compensation in Ohio. Knowing what you don’t know can serve you well, and an experienced attorney can help you recognize and avoid these common mistakes.

A work injury attorney at Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen LPA, Co., will work hard to ensure you receive the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. Your well-being and financial stability are important to us, and we’re here to ensure that you receive the support and help you need to recover and move forward after a workplace injury. Contact our office at 513.721.6500 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.