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Columbus Injured Worker Legal Blog

The construction industry's fatal four workplace injuries

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in Ohio and nationwide, and the fatality rate associated with it is much higher than other industries. Ladders, scaffolding, excavations and electrical components all pose hazards to workers if they are not trained properly or if proper safety precautions are not taken by their employers.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 6.5 million people work on construction sites every day. Construction safety is one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's main concerns. The agency strives to lower the number of workplace accidents and workers' injuries, as well as to raise awareness regarding common causes of on-the-job injuries. OSHA has identified "the fatal four" types of injuries that are regularly the leading causes of construction industry deaths. Together, they are responsible for over 63 percent of all construction worker deaths in 2016.

My work accident left me disabled. What are my options?

Suffering injuries from a work accident can be both physically and financial painful. A work accident can impact your life in many ways, but it can be especially difficult when your life will never be the same. Disabling injuries from a workplace accident could make you eligible for certain types of workers' compensation benefits.

Individuals who suffer disabling injuries from a workplace accident in Ohio have the right to certain benefits, including either temporary or permanent disability benefits. If you think you might have grounds to move forward with a claim, it could be helpful for you to seek an explanation of your rights and how to proceed with the necessary paperwork.

Workers' compensation benefits for pre-existing conditions

Workers' compensation provides payment for medical expenses and lost wages to Ohio workers who are injured on the job. Temporary total disability benefits are available to workers who are temporarily unable to return to work and permanent total disability benefits are available to those who are permanently unable to return to work. Workers who, because of their injury, are limited in their ability to work, may be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits. Other wage loss benefits, including vocational rehabilitation and living maintenance are also available to workers who require additional assistance.

The Philip J. Fulton Law Office can help injured workers determine if they qualify for any of these types of workers' compensation benefits. Our experienced attorneys can also answer questions about the Ohio workers' compensation system, such as what doctor to go to, whether all medical bills will be covered and how bills are handled. Injured workers are entitled to receive the best medical treatment possible and to receive coverage for all bills stemming from treatment for the work-related injury.

Bureau of Workers' Compensation rolls out free wellness program

A previous blog post announced that the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) would be rolling out a new wellness program in early 2018 as part of its plan to focus on wellness and workplace safety. The wellness program is now in effect, providing health and wellness resources to employers with 50 or fewer employees in high-risk industries across Ohio.

The BWC previously stated that the wellness program would provide high-risk industry workers with services designed to promote wellness such as health risk assessments, biometric screenings, personalized health plans and coaching and chronic disease management. According to the BWC, high-risk industries include agriculture, automotive repair and service, construction, firefighting, health care, manufacturing, police and public safety, restaurant and food service, transportation and trucking, trash collection, and wholesale and retail.

Can multiple illnesses boost one's chance for SSD benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides financial aid to those who cannot work due to a debilitating illness. There are numerous qualifying mental and physical disabilities, including depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, cancer and diabetes. Ohioans suffering from more than one illness may improve their chances of getting Social Security disability (SSD) benefits by listing all their impairments when applying.

To qualify for SSD benefits, applicants must meet the SSA requirements outlined in the "Blue Book." Generally, SSD benefits are awarded to those who have a medical condition that prevents them from working for at least a year or that is expected to result in their death. Information regarding an applicant's medical condition, work history and citizenship must be provided for evaluation by the SSA. The medical requirements are notoriously stringent, and many initial applications are often denied.

New Ohio rule regarding opioids for workers with back injuries

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) has targeted the opioid addiction epidemic by establishing a new rule regarding workers with back-related injuries. Ohio has seen many negative effects from the opioid overdose crisis, which experts attribute to prescription painkiller addictions that progress into heroin addictions. The BWC rule is similar to those in other states, which decline immediate payment for surgery, requiring injured workers to first try other remedies such as physical therapy and chiropractic care. However, the BWC takes it a step further by including an opioid warning in its surgical restriction.

The BWC rule requires workers with a back injury to try at least 60 days of alternative care before undergoing spinal fission surgery. Spinal fission surgery is performed approximately 600 times a year on injured Ohio workers suffering from certain conditions associated with severe chronic back pain. Those with some extremely severe back injuries may be exempt from the rule.

If you have epilepsy, do you qualify for disability?

There are various types of medical conditions that could prevent you from holding gainful employment. Physical injuries, mental conditions or medical issues could keep you from work, which likely means you will not be able to earn the money you need for medical needs, basic care and other necessities. If you find yourself in this position, you would qualify for certain benefits through the Social Security Administration.

Ohio readers may know epilepsy is a medical condition that could lead to seizures and other related medical issues. If you have this specific medical issue, seizures and their side effects could make it difficult to work. You may find it beneficial to explore your option for a potential disability claim.

Workers' compensation benefits may continue after death

Workers' compensation benefits assist injured workers with medical bills and other expenses associated with work-related accidents. There are several types of compensation offered by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), including awards for disabilities, wage loss, change of occupation and living maintenance. An injured worker's dependents may also collect accrued compensation and file a claim for ongoing death benefits if the worker died as a result of a workplace accident or occupational disease.

Dependents of a deceased worker who was receiving workers' compensation payments may be entitled to accrued compensation - any unpaid amounts due to the injured worker up to the date of his or her death. They must submit an Application for Death Benefits and/or Funeral Expenses to the BWC along with proof of their relationship to the deceased worker, such as a marriage or birth certificate. Surviving spouses and dependent children of workers who died as a result of an occupational injury or disease may apply for both accrued compensation and death benefits.

New limitations on back surgeries for injured Ohio workers

Ohio readers may know that if they suffer an injury at work, they could be eligible for certain benefits through workers' compensation insurance. However, there are limits to the type of support they could get, especially if they suffered a back injury. A new rule passed by the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation strictly limits the type of care a patient may receive for back injuries.

If you suffered a back injury in a work-related accident, you may find it beneficial to know how to fight for the specific types of care you need. This could be especially important if you may require spinal fusion surgery. According to this new law, there are other remedies you may have to try before you can get certain painkillers and spinal fusion surgery.

Bureau of Workers' Compensation sees accomplishments, sets goals

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) is ringing in the New Year with a wellness program, set to debut in early 2018. The BWC had several significant accomplishments in 2017, including: a $1 billion rebate to Ohio employers; a fire department grant program to help with the purchase of safety gear; base rate reductions for Ohio employers; continuation of the enhanced care program which allows medical providers to provide injured workers with more holistic treatment; and improvements to the pharmacy department that led to a 54 percent reduction in opioid-dependent injured workers in 2017.

Another BWC accomplishment in 2017 is the decline in workplace injuries for the fourth year in a row. Ohio's rate of injuries for calendar year 2016 was 2.7 injuries per 100 workers, much lower than the 3.2 national average. Average rates for private and public Ohio employers are also down over 25 percent, and the BWC has rebated them a total of $6.3 billion since 2011.

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

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