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Columbus Injured Worker Legal Blog

Workplace accidents leave can employees in a financial bind

In Ohio, there are thousands of workers who are employed in areas which might be considered to be "high risk." For example, construction and manufacturing workers may be at a higher risk for suffering an on-the-job injury, as might those who travel extensively in their jobs, such as truck drivers. When workers are injured on the job they can face significant financial hurdles, sometimes lasting weeks, months or even years.

Lawmakers weigh workers' comp coverage for PTSD

You are on the front lines. When everyone else goes out, you go in. When everyone else goes down, you go up. When someone is in trouble, you are the first to arrive, willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to protect another life, even if it means placing your own body between someone else and mortal danger.

As a first responder -- police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or other public safety employee -- you have experienced traumatic events throughout your career. No matter how long you work in the field or how often you respond to an accident, fire, domestic abuse call or other disaster, you do not get used to the often gruesome and tragic things you witness. It takes a toll, and you may be experiencing symptoms for which you wish you could seek help. However, does your workers' comp cover this?

SSD benefits for adults disabled before the age of 22

When a child is diagnosed with a disability before the age of 22 and that child qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, the payments are made to the parent. The Social Security Administration considers those payments as a child's benefits and the earnings are added to the parent's records.

According to the SSA's rules, an adult child must be unmarried, older than the age of 18, have a disability that was diagnosed before the age of 22 and must also meet the eligibility criteria for disabled adults in order to receive SSD benefits under the child's benefit umbrella.

Ohio Supreme Court rules in favor of injured worker

The success of a workers' compensation claim depends largely on the evaluation of the injury or disability made by doctors. As a result, it is common for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation to either deny a workers' compensation claim completely or award a compensation amount that is much less than adequate for the injury suffered by a worker based on those medical evaluations. However, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Ohio may be of interest to many workers in and around Columbus.

In 2002, a maintenance worker suffered a back injury while on the job. The BWC allowed his claims for several spinal and psychological conditions and he received temporary total disability compensation until 2015. That same year, the worker applied for permanent total disability compensation. As part of the claim submission process, he underwent several physical and psychological evaluations with his treating doctor, who concluded that the injured worker's condition could be termed as "without any present indication of recovery" and that the disabilities prevented him from engaging in "any gainful employment."

Wrongful death claims and the "discovery rule"

According to Ohio laws, the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim, other than those claims that arise out of a faulty or dangerous product, is two years from the date of the victim's death. However, for cases in which those two years have passed, there remains a possibility to file a wrongful death claim by invoking what is known as the "discovery rule." Under this rule, a wrongful death claim can be filed within two years of the date on which the "discovery" is made that the victim's death was wrongful.

To understand this, let's consider a lawsuit related to a fatal workplace accident that occurred at an aluminum extrusion plant about three hours northeast of Columbus. In 2012, a 21-year-old worker at that plant was killed after he was pinned to a rack that was holding two tons of hot aluminum. The accident also injured a 19-year-old co-worker. An OSHA investigation held two managers accountable for the accident; a general manager of the plant and a human resource manager who was also the safety coordinator. Both were indicted and it is now expected that they will plead guilty in an upcoming hearing.

Social Security Disability benefits for amputations

Some injuries of the musculoskeletal system are so severe that the only way left for doctors to save the victim is to amputate an affected limb. Needless to say, leading a normal life becomes a daily challenge for both amputees and their family members. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits are available for those who have had amputations, provided the claimant meets the eligibility criteria listed in the section related to Disability Evaluation for the Musculoskeletal System in the Social Security Administration's Blue Book. The Blue Book separates amputations into four categories. The claimant must fall into at least one of these four categories of amputations in order to be eligible for SSD benefits.

The first qualifying condition is when both hands of a claimant have been amputated. The second qualifying condition states that an amputee is eligible if one or both legs are amputated at or above the ankle. In addition, that claimant should be experiencing difficulties in movement for a period of at least 12 months. Third, a claimant will also be eligible if one or both hands are amputated at or above the wrist. The rules for the ability to move remain the same as in the previous case. The fourth type of amputation for which benefits are available pertain to the total amputation of a lower limb, also known as "hip disarticulation," or the amputation of one half of the pelvis and also the leg on that side of the body, also known as "hemipelvectomy."

Working in confined spaces could risk your health and your life

Many occupations come with certain hazards, and entering into confined spaces may be one associated with your work. If so, you may already know that every time you enter into one, you risk your health and your life.

It may not surprise you to know that a certain number of people die each year in confined spaces. Improper procedures and inadequate training are at the top of the list of reasons for these deaths, which make them entirely preventable. This happens despite enforcement efforts by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Your employer should protect you from respiratory dangers

The law requires employers to provide workers a safe environment. Depending on the industry you work in, that could require a significant amount of precautions. Do you work in an industry that exposes you to airborne hazards or areas with limited oxygen? Then, your employer must provide for your safety.

Respiratory illness and ailments happen far more often than you might realize. The dust, vapors and other particulates you could breathe in can cause significant damage to your lungs and other parts of your body without the proper protections.

Deeming parental income in SSI cases for children

Most people in Columbus know about the benefits that are offered by the Social Security Administration. These benefits include the Social Security Disability Insurance program and the Supplemental Security Income program. For SSDI, a prospective beneficiary is required to have worked and contributed to the system in return for benefits. SSI, however, is a need-based program and there is no work requirement.

According to the SSA, a child can receive benefits if they are disabled or blind, unmarried, under 18, or under 22 if they are a regular school attendee. The child can be an SSI beneficiary from the time of birth and their eligibility can continue until they are 18. When that child reaches 18 years of age, the SSA will evaluate the disabilities based on guidelines that apply to adult benefit recipients. For a child who is blind, benefits are awarded per the guidelines that apply to adult SSI recipients receiving benefits for blindness.

Immediate course of action after a workplace accident

There are some occupations that are categorized as high-risk, while others are categorized as low-risk. However, there doesn't seem to be an occupation that can be categorized as no-risk. This means, irrespective of occupation, every individual needs to be prepared for an unforeseen workplace accident and to be aware of their rights when a workplace accident occurs. The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation provides certain pointers for that purpose.

According to the BWC, the first step after a workplace accident is to inform the employer of the accident and the resulting injury. An accident report is prepared by the injured worker and a copy of the document is given to the injured worker. The report may need to be submitted to the Managed Care Organization at the time of availing treatment or to the BWC at the time the workers' compensation claim is filed.

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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

89 East Nationwide Boulevard
Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43215

Toll Free: 866-552-6353
Phone: 614-929-3126
Fax: 614-224-3933
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