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Workers’ Compensation

I was recently injured at work, how do I start my Workers’ Compensation claim?

I was injured at work but my employer says that they do not carry Workers’ Compensation through the State of Ohio and that they handle everything themselves. Is this true? How can they do this?

What happens if either the state or my own employer denies my claim for injury?

I’ve heard Workers’ Compensation cases take forever and I could be without benefits for years. Is that true?

How many hearings can I have on any issue?

Do I have to get approval my employer or the BWC on every medical treatment issue that I might have?

If I missed time from work will I be entitled to receive any compensation while I am off work?

Can my employer fire me for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim?





Q: I was recently injured at work, how do I start my Workers’ Compensation claim?

Any injured worker can start their own claim by filling out a First Report Of Injury Form (FROI) and filing it with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).  The Bureau will then send a copy of this to your employer for their response and begin processing of your claim.  The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will send you a letter along with a little card that you can hold in your wallet or purse which will contain your claim number and certain information regarding the employer, their Managed Care Organization (MCO), and certain contact information for them and your Claims Service Specialist (CSS) at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. 


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Q: I was injured at work but my employer says that they do not carry Workers’ Compensation through the State of Ohio and that they handle everything themselves. Is this true? How can they do this?

The State of Ohio allows certain employers based upon financial ability, size, etc to not pay premiums for coverage for Workers’ Compensation Insurance but rather administer their own program.  This is called a self-insured employer.  While it is true that the employer processes your Workers’ Compensation through their own internal procedures, they are still required to follow the law concerning the processing of your claims in an appropriate manner.  If the employer fails or refuses to certify your injury claim then the matter will be set for a hearing just like any other claim for injury to an employee of a state funded employer.


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Q: What happens if either the state or my own employer denies my claim for injury?

If your claim is denied, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is required to either send out an Order indicating to you that they have denied your claim and indicate the basis for that denial.  You are then required to appeal that decision within fourteen (14) days in order to receive a hearing before the Industrial Commission of Ohio who handles all the hearings on BWC issues.  If your employer is self-insured or the BWC does not issue an Order a file will be referred to the Industrial Commission directly for a hearing.  It is important to appeal all hearings that deny your claim otherwise you could lose the opportunity to receive benefits for your injury.


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Q: I’ve heard Workers’ Compensation cases take forever and I could be without benefits for years. Is that true?

Under the present system of Workers’ Compensation there are timelines which must be met in processing a claim of an injured worker.  Usually the initial processing of a FROI is done within a sixty (60) day time period.  Any claim referred to the Industrial Commission must have a hearing within forty-five (45) days of the Commission receiving the file.  Thus, in the usual case a hearing would be held at the latest within 90-120 days after the filing of the FROI. 


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Q: How many hearings can I have on any issue?

All parties are able to have at least two (2) hearings on any disputed issue.  The first hearing is before a District Hearing Officer and if that decision is appealed an additional hearing before a Staff Hearing Office is then held and a decision rendered.  If a party is still dissatisfied with the decision they may request that the Full Commission grant them a third hearing but such approval is discretionary on the part of the entire Industrial Commission and most requests for such hearing are denied.  In certain instances, further appeal can be taken to the Common Pleas Court by filing the appropriate Appeal and Complaint. 


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Q: Do I have to get approval my employer or the BWC on every medical treatment issue that I might have?

Not necessarily.  The Managed Care Organization which has been entrusted by your employer to handle their Workers’ Compensation claims will be in charge of the administration of the medical issues on your claim.  Your claims representative who has been assigned your claim by the Managed Care Organization will be making the initial decisions concerning treatment which your doctor requests.  There is an appeal process within the Managed Care Organization which can review and correct any decisions made concerning requested medical treatment.  If that still does not resolve the situation you would be able to use the hearing system before the Industrial Commission to resolve your treatment issues.


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Q: If I missed time from work will I be entitled to receive any compensation while I am off work?

Yes if your disability is directly related to your industrial injury you will be entitled to receive temporary total disability (TTD).  The BWC will make calculations to determine what you will receive by using the wages you have received from all employers within the past 12 months.  Such calculations can be rather involved and you should discuss this with your counsel to determine if the amount you are being paid is correct. 


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Q: Can my employer fire me for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim?

The Ohio Revised Code 4123.90 makes it illegal for an employer to discharge an injured worker merely because they filed a Workers’ Compensation claim.  However, understand that merely having an injury does not guarantee that you will have a job once you have recuperated from your injury.  You need to discuss the circumstances concerning any discharge with legal counsel as each situation can be very different.


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With offices in Toledo and Lima, OH Allotta Farley Co., L.P.A. serves clients throughout northwest OH with various legal matters. Areas of service include Allen County, Ashland County, Auglaize County, Crawford County, Defiance County, Erie County, Fulton County, Hancock County, Hardin County, Henry County, Huron County, Lucas County, Marion County, Mercer County, Morrow County, Ottawa County, Paulding County, Putnam County, Richland County, Sandusky County, Seneca County, Van Wert County, Williams County, Wood County, Wyandot County.

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