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Columbus Injured Worker Legal Blog

Workers' compensation basics for Ohio workers

Workers' compensation protects workers harmed in the workplace regardless of the circumstances which is why it is a valuable resource for them to understand. Workers' compensation benefits can apply in circumstances when a worker has suffered a workplace injury, workplace accident or a workplace illness. There are important timelines that apply to filing a workers' compensation claim that so it also important to be familiar with what those are.

Injured workers have a 2-year time limit to file a workers' compensation claim. They also have the right to appeal a denied claim which is a shorter, 14-day, period. In addition, different benefits are available to injured workers so it is helpful for them to be familiar with what those are. Injured workers may receive medical benefits including benefits for hospital services they incur, doctor's visits, medication and other medical costs. Injured workers can also receive lost wages.

How to appeal a denied Social Security disability claim

Many initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied which is why it is important for disabled applicants to understand that a denial is not the end of the process and to be familiar with the options available to appeal a denied claim for Social Security disability benefits. There are several levels of appeal following a denied claim for Social Security disability benefits.

After an application for benefits has been denied, the first step in the appeals process is a request for reconsideration. It is important to assemble all of the disabled individual's medical records to provide along with the request for reconsideration. The request for reconsideration involves a review of the applicant's claim for damages by a fresh set of eyes other than the reviewer who initially reviewed the application.

Opioid dependency decreases for injured workers in Ohio

For the sixth straight year, the number of injured Ohio workers dependent on opioids has decreased. There were 3,315 injured workers who are clinically dependent on opioids as of June 30, a 19 percent drop from last year and a 59 percent decrease since 2011.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), along with addiction experts define clinical dependency as taking at least 60 milligrams of morphine for at least 60 days. In 2011, the BWC found that there were more than 8,000 injured workers who met the definition of clinical dependency. That same year, drug costs rose to $133 million. Construction workers in Ohio were particularly affected by the opioid epidemic, with 77 percent higher injury rates from workplace accidents than other occupations and twice as many deaths from overdoses in 2015 as the next-highest state (Illinois).

What do you need to return to work after a workplace accident?

Injured Ohio workers know that returning to work after an injury is not always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult to recover both physically and financially, and you may need additional help to return to the workforce. In some cases, workers' compensation benefits may help you get specific types of support that could help you get back to work. 

You know that injured employees are entitled to benefits that include medical care and recovery of a portion of lost wages after a work accident. Through workers' compensation, you can get the financial support you need for a complete recovery. However, you may not know that these benefits can expand well beyond just medical care. They also include certain rehabilitation benefits if necessary.

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.

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

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Columbus, OH 43215

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