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An overview of workers' compensation law

As the Industrial Revolution advanced across America and into Ohio and surrounding states, workplace injuries became common. Throughout the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th century, if injured employees tried to obtain compensation for their injuries, they were met by three effective defenses raised by employers: 1. The worker assumed the risk of injury by accepting the employment; 2. The injury was caused by the negligence of a fellow worker and that worker, not the employer, was liable for the injury; and 3. The employee's own negligence was the cause of the accident.

In order to redress this imbalance and provide a fair system of compensating employees for their injuries, the Ohio legislature adopted the Ohio workers' compensation law in 1911. The law was a compromise: employees were forbidden from bringing tort claims against their employers, and the three defenses enumerated above were abolished. The new law allowed a worker to recover compensation for a workplace injury if he or she could prove the following four elements: 1. The existence of an employer/employee relationship; 2. The injury must be accidental; 3. The injury must have occurred in the course of employment; and 4. The injury must have arisen out of the employment.

The law and implementing regulations have been amended and modified many times since the bill was first passed in 1911. Presently, the Ohio workers' compensation system is administered by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. The bureau has prescribed a schedule of benefits for various injuries that includes payment of medical expenses and payment for lost income.

Obtaining workers' compensation benefits is not always simple or easy. The assistance of an attorney who specializes in workers' compensation cases can make the process much easier. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an analysis of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering benefits for medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, "A Legal Overview of Ohio Workers' Compensation," Michael Travis, March 30, 2011, accessed on Oct. 3, 2016

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

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