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The anatomy of workers compensation wage loss benefits

Workers in Ohio who are injured on the job are eligible for several types of benefits under the state’s workers compensation system. Perhaps the most important workers compensation benefit is remuneration for lost wages and diminished future earning capacity. This post will explain the nature of these benefits.

Injured workers are eligible to receive temporary compensation beginning eight days after the injury if the person is unable to work. This type of compensation ends when the worker returns to the job. This type of compensation is limited by state law to a percentage of the worker’s earnings. In 2016, the percentage was 72 percent.

Workers whose injuries prevent them from returning to their previous job may be eligible for wage loss benefits if they were injured after Aug. 22, 1986 and if they (a) have been unable to return to their previous employment or (b) experienced a reduction in earnings as the direct result of the injury that is the basis for the claim. A person who has returned to work in a different job and is earning a lower wage may be eligible for “working wage loss compensation.” A person who is unable to find suitable employment may be eligible for “non-working wage loss compensation.”

Workers seeking any form of wage loss compensation must provide proof to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation that they have been diligent in their search for employment. In reviewing an application for wage loss compensation, the BWC will look at factors such as the applicant’s skill and educational background, number of quality job contacts, the amount of time seeking employment, labor market conditions and the applicant’s physical condition. If wage loss compensation is awarded, the amount will be based upon the difference between the applicant’s average weekly wage as of the date of injury and his or her current wage.

The assistance of an attorney who specializes in workers compensation claims may make the difference between a successful claim for wage loss benefits and a failed claim. A consultation with a knowledgeable attorney can provide a helpful analysis of the case and the likelihood of obtaining wage loss benefits.

Source: Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, “Wage Loss Compensation,” accessed on Dec. 19, 2016

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