If you have been injured at work in Ohio, the workers’ compensation system aims to provide coverage for most but not all injuries. Benefits may include medical treatments, disability and lost earnings. For many workers, workers’ comp benefits can make a major difference to their ability to stay afloat financially.
The main requirement for an injury to get coverage is its direct connection to your work. This typically means an injury sustained on the employer’s premises or, in some cases, in the course of performing your job off-site.
The law distinguishes between injuries and diseases. An injury happens as a result of a specific accident. For example, an employee could lift a heavy box and injure his back. Sometimes, a work injury can worsen an existing one. You may be able to get workers’ compensation if a medical evaluation shows the work injury substantially added to or intensified earlier symptoms.
A disease, on the other hand, receives coverage only if it arises from employment and the type of employment raises the risk of getting this kind of disease. For example, exposure to toxic chemicals can increase the risk of developing respiratory conditions; employees who work in such an environment may be able to get workers’ compensation coverage. If you develop a disease while working but your risk level is no different from that of people who do not work in your occupation, your claim may be rejected.
Mental illnesses can fall into somewhat of a gray area. Typically, workers’ compensation will not provide benefits for purely psychological conditions. However, you may be able to get benefits from a psychiatric condition if it stems from a qualifying injury or disease. For example, a stress-induced heart attack may get coverage, but not stress-induced anxiety. The anxiety that arises from the stress-induced heart attack does have a chance of qualifying.
Getting the benefits you need can be complicated, as you need to prove issues such as the cause of your condition, its extent and its connection to your employment. Consulting an experienced attorney as soon as possible can help you get started so that you can meet deadlines and submit all necessary evidence.