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Cincinnati Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What is subrogation in regard to workers' compensation?

Ohio workers who suffer injuries, incur medical expenses and are confronted with lost wages from injuries that did not occur on the job should be aware of subrogation and how it affects workers' compensation benefits. With subrogation, the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation will collect benefits for injured workers if their injuries were caused by a third party. Often, for the worker to receive subrogation, there must be a settlement or a judgment against the party deemed at fault.

Under state law, the BWC, employers who self-insure, and employers who contract for medical services to be paid directly have the right to subrogation. With subrogation, the employer who self-insures can collect the costs for the workers' compensation claim from who or what caused the injury. Expenses that can be recovered include: medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, future compensation, and death benefits. A frequent reason for subrogation is if the worker was in a car accident that was caused by another driver. There are other circumstances where it can be used, including premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, a construction site accident that was caused by a third party, or an animal attack.

Law enforcement officer injured in crash

When an Ohio workplace accident happens, it can be in a wide variety of jobs. There can be employment options that are inherently dangerous or predominately safe, but accidents and injuries can lead to major problems for those who are victimized.

Some of the most at-risk people are law enforcement officers and first responders. Placing themselves in harm's way is just part of the job, but that does not mean that these workers should not get workers' compensation if they are hurt while going about their duties. If there is an issue getting the workers' compensation benefits they need, legal help might be required.

Workers' compensation and the claims hearing process in Ohio

While some Ohioans who suffer workplace injuries or a medical condition from their work will be approved for workers' compensation benefits, others will have their claims denied by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation and it is necessary to file an appeal. Simply being denied at the outset does not mean that the applicant will not be awarded benefits eventually. Understanding the claims hearing process and all of its aspects is imperative to receiving workers' compensation after a denial. When appealing a workers' compensation claim, the worker will have three levels in which to do so. The three levels are the district hearing officer, staff hearing officer and the commission.

At the district level, the appeal will be heard by an Industrial Commission of Ohio district hearing officer. This hearing will be held within 45 days of the appeal being filed. After a decision has been made, the worker and others involved in the case will receive written notice. If the district hearing officer denies the claim, the worker can then appeal to a staff hearing officer. This must be done within 14 days of the decision.

How an offset affects your SSD and workers' comp benefits

For many people, injuries can mean the loss of much-needed income. Thankfully, there are systems in place that may be able to assist such people, especially if the injury is job-related

If employees qualify for more than one benefit, offset might apply. It can be helpful to understand how offset affects SSD and workers' compensation benefits.

Legal help is key for appealing workers' compensation denials

When an Ohio worker has a workplace accident and is injured, they will undoubtedly seek and expect to get workers' compensation benefits. However, not every case is as simple as filing the application, getting approved and receiving the medical care and other benefits that are part of workers' compensation. It is not unusual for the case to be denied for a variety of reasons. While this might instill fear in the worker who believes that the process is over and there is no alternative to get benefits, appealing can be effective. Having legal assistance is vital toward this goal.

When the claim is denied by every possible level of the Ohio Industrial Commission, the worker can appeal to the Court of Common Pleas. When the worker is appealing in this way, it is referred to as right-to-participate. If the matter relates to the workers' compensation benefits or workplace injuries, it generally means that the case will be filed in the 10th District Court of Appeals located in Columbus, Ohio. With this, it is a question surrounding extent-of-disability.

Understanding workers' compensation and worker death

When workers in Ohio suffer a workplace accident and are injured, they have the right to get workers' compensation benefits. In some cases, the injuries are so severe that the worker dies. If the worker is injured and subsequently dies while they are receiving workers' compensation, the family could be entitled to certain benefits.

Accrued compensation is possible if a worker was receiving temporary total disability or permanent partial disability. The spouse or another dependent could be eligible to receive unpaid compensation that was due to the worker until the time at which the worker died. The spouse, dependent children or anyone who provided services or paid a bill that was linked to the worker's death can get accrued compensation. A form must be submitted to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to receive accrued compensation. Proof of the relationship between the deceased worker and the applicant must also be provided. If there is confusion as to the relationship, the BWC might ask for additional information.

What should I know about ALJ hearings if I'm denied SSD benefits?

When an Ohioan has an injury or illness and is seeking Social Security disability benefits, it is not unusual for the claim to be denied. The good news is that appealing the case can be successful and the applicant can eventually be approved. One part of an appeal is a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Understanding all the aspects of an ALJ hearing can help to ensure adequate preparedness.

Prior to the hearing, the applicant and the legal representative have the right to examine the evidence in the case file and provide new evidence to bolster the case. The ALJ will consider new evidence, but it must be submitted as soon as possible. While at the hearing, the ALJ will explain the issues in the case and might ask questions of the applicant and witnesses. The applicant can bring witnesses and the ALJ might ask a doctor or a vocational expert to come and testify. Once all the evidence has been submitted and the witnesses have been heard, the ALJ will study the case and decide on it.

Can I get salary continuation after suffering workplace injuries?

Ohio workers who suffer workplace injuries will know about workers' compensation benefits. There are, however, certain alternatives to workers' compensation if the worker is eligible for it. An example is salary continuation. With salary continuation, a worker can get wages in lieu of temporary total compensation. This allows the employer to pay the employee the full wages they received when working.

Except in cases where there is a collective bargaining agreement that says otherwise, the worker can accept or reject salary continuation. If it is rejected, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation can pay TT. The salary continuation can move forward until either the employer or the worker terminates it. Then, if the worker is eligible, it will be possible for them to get TT. If the employer is not paying the regular full wages, the BWC can pay TT if a request for it has been made and there is supporting medical evidence. The employee should not have a break in service time that will have a negative impact on seniority or other benefits. The employer cannot coerce the employee to use sick time while salary continuation is being paid unless it is in the CBA.

Should I accept a lump sum settlement for my workplace accident?

Ohio workers who suffer workplace injuries while on the job and are eligible for workers' compensation benefits will sometimes need to decide whether they should accept a lump sum settlement. With a lump sum, the parties will settle the claim for a certain amount and this will conclude the case. For those who have suffered workplace injuries, it is important to have legal advice when deciding if a lump sum settlement is the preferable course of action.

The settlement applies to the past, present and future issues or liabilities the worker might suffer from. It can be beneficial to the worker as they will get the payment in full immediately. It also benefits the Bureau of Workers' Compensation in Ohio, as they can get an accurate gauge on premiums. The claim will be reviewed to understand the following: the benefits of such a settlement; if the claim is ready to be settled; and a value for the settlement.

Social media and your workers' compensation claim

Few people these days go without posting on some form of social media. This can be especially true about significant events such as a work injury. Many people want to share their ordeal and get commiseration from friends and family.

However, keep in mind that not only your nearest and dearest will be watching your feed in the time following your filing of a workers' compensation claim.


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