Working as a delivery driver comes with a lot of hazards. While it may not seem like that dangerous of a job, it can be due to the nature of driving a lot and visiting people's homes. You never know what may happen. Safety Company explains that for the typical...
There are thousands of small, medium and large warehouses in the Cleveland area. If you work in one of them, you probably have to accomplish a variety of job-related tasks. Sometimes, you must use a ladder to reach items above your head. If you sustain an injury...
Accidents involving large trucks attract attention in the Cleveland area. Unfortunately, when coming up against an 80,000-pound big rig, a 3,000-pound car is at a noticeable disadvantage. Truckers often go through mandatory training and certification to acquire their...
Autumn’s colors have faded, nighttime temperatures are near freezing and Ohio residents are preparing for winter. Modifying driving habits for icy, snow-covered roads is essential to staying safe during the cold, wet months ahead.. Useful winter driving tips Staying...
If you work in a warehouse, you know how hazardous your place of employment can be. When driving a forklift, unloading boxes or performing other tasks, you must take steps to protect your head. Wearing the right hard hat is critical. After all, a traumatic brain...
If you work in a warehouse or storage facility, safety is of the utmost importance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in 20 full-time warehouse workers suffers a workplace-related injury each year. These incidents often include falls, lifting-related...
Truckers are unsung heroes. They are behind the scenes delivering the goods and products you see in stores. Truckers drive through the day and night and have long working hours, increasing the opportunity for injuries or accidents on the job. This makes trucking one...
There’s a popular bumper sticker that implores drivers to “start seeing motorcycles”. It hits the nail on the head. Thousands of motorcyclists are injured in traffic accidents every year, many suffering life-altering injuries such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic...
National ranking of accidents caused by distracted driving
Expert Market did a study of fatal accidents caused by cell phones in each state. It turns out that Texans are most likely to cause an accident due to distractions with over 300 fatal accidents a year caused by cell phone distraction. Ohio has one-third of Texas’s number, with around 102 fatal accidents annually. However, this number is still high and puts Ohio 8th in the nation. While the stats show smaller and less populated states like Rhode Island an Alaska have less than 10 fatalities a year, compare Ohio to Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. These states still have far less cell phone caused fatal accidents a year than Ohio. This means we have a long way to go to promote safe driving. Put your phone down and take steps to be sure you’re giving your full attention to the road. Tagged: Auto Accidents • Motorcycle Accidents • Truck Accidents
The Ohio BWC Claim Portal – Access to Your Claim
The Ohio BWC has an online portal that allows access to your workers’ compensation claim. I always recommend that my clients get access to their claim. Here’s why and how to get set up.
Why Get Access?
Accessing your claim online will allow you to see everything that is happening in the claim. You will still get physical correspondence in the mail, but there is still a lot to see that you would not receive in the mail. Viewing the entire claim can provide some peace of mind in that you can see what is going on. You can know that your attorney is doing what he/she tells you is being done and be able to track the claim’s progress. A few highlights of what you can see on the BWC claim portal include: Descriptions of telephone calls between the MCO, CSS, medical providers, employer, and your attorney. Medical records filed in the claim. Forms submitted to the claim (such as Medco14s and C84s requesting your temporary total). Advance notice of exams and hearings. Orders and other determinations made in the claim. Tracking of payments made for medical treatment. Tracking of payments made to the injured worker, complete with date sent and amount. The portal also allows injured workers to file C84s online, saving you from having to find a fax machine or take the form to your doctor or attorney’s office to send.
When the Portal May Not be Beneficial
Unfortunately, not all claims have all of the above information available in them. If a claim is with a self-insured employer then you will only be able to see the records and forms that have specifically been sent to the claim. Most doctors do not send their information directly into the BWC for self-insured claims but instead send it directly to the self-insured employer’s representative. The BWC’s claim portal also may not be beneficial if the claim itself is not set up with the BWC yet. In order to access a claim you need a claim number. If one has not yet been provided then the portal will not be available to you.
How to Get Access
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s portal can be accessed at www.bwc.ohio.gov. You will need to set up an account to access your claim.
The Ohio BWC has made a video detailing how to create an account and log in to your claim. Having access to your claim is important because you can track and be aware of what is going on with the claim. However, it is also important to have an attorney who knows the workers’ compensation laws and can help you through the process. Contact The Friedman Law Firm for help with your work injury claim. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Process
New Ohio BWC “What to Expect” Video
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has rolled out a video detailing what to expect in the first 30 days of your claim.
The BWC’s video explains that the claim must be set up and approved, and that this can take four weeks to accomplish – but that there could be denials and appeals that may extend this timeline. It also explains the basics of the workers’ compensation process in getting your medical bills and lost wages paid.
The video itself is just over two minutes long, so it obviously cannot address all of the questions you may have. The video does not explain how to actually appeal a decision, how to handle the hearing process. While it does mention a C84 (used to request Temporary Total Disability), it does not explain how to correctly complete the form, and doesn’t address any of the many other forms that will be needed for the claim. The best way to get personalized answers to all your work injury questions is by contacting a workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney can make sure your claim is properly documented, help complete the forms/appeals, and most importantly help navigate the workers’ compensation system. If you are hurt at work, contact The Friedman Law Firm to learn about the workers’ comp process and let us help get you the compensation you are entitled to. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Process
Firefighters: Cancer and Workers’ Compensation
Another change to the Ohio workers’ compensation laws is coming on April 6, 2017 – this time in regard to firefighters. Ohio Revised Code section 4123.68(X) becomes effective on April 6, 2017 and it will hopefully make it easier for firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer to prove their workers’ compensation claims.
The statute states that a firefighter who is exposed to certain carcinogens for at least six years is presumed to have suffered a compensable occupational disease. This means that all the firefighter needs to do is prove that he/she was exposed to the carcinogen for the required time, and received a diagnosis of cancer – a very different requirement than injured workers have in most work injury claims. Although the presumption may reduce the requirements on the firefighter, the presumption can be rebutted by the firefighter’s employer. The statute lists several rebuttals including but not limited to the firefighter being a smoker or being age 70 or older. There are also other restrictions on this type of claim including that the firefighter has to have suffered certain disabilities or death to be eligible for compensation.
Time Limit on Bringing a Claim
Since the firefighter cancer statute is listed as an occupational disease, it is subject to the statute of limitation noted in Ohio Revised code section 4123.85. That statute provides that occupational disease claims must be filed within two years after disability due to the disease began, or within such longer period as does not exceed six months after diagnosis of the occupational disease by a licensed physician or within two years after death occurs. The Ohio Supreme Court in the case of White v. Mayfield established a three-part test to use in interpreting when a disability due to disease has begun. It ruled that a disability due to an occupational disease shall be deemed to have begun as of the date on which the a worker’s compensation claimant first became aware through medical diagnosis that he/she was suffering from such disease or the date on which he/she first received medical treatment for such disease or the date claimant first quit work on account of such disease, whichever date is the latest.
If you are a firefighter who has had the misfortune of contracting cancer, you can see from the discussion above that it is not easy to traverse the minefield ahead of you in processing your possible occupational disease claim. Your best course of action is to contact The Friedman Law Firm so we can guide you through this minefield. If you are concerned about contacting us due to our legal fee, you should know that we are only paid if we are successful in processing your claim and our payment comes out of awards that we obtain for you. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Process
Tagged: Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ Compensation Hearings: Part 2 – The Hearing
In this two-part series we discuss the basics of attending a hearing for your workers’ compensation claim. Last time we discussed what to expect with getting to the Industrial Commission and the hearing office. This time we go through what to expect of the hearing itself.
Waiting for the Hearing
The Industrial Commission conducts several hearings an hour in each hearing room. Your hearing may start sometime within the hour that it was scheduled. The hearing officer will call your name over the loud speaker when it is time for your hearing.
Inside the Hearing Room
The hearing rooms are usually set up with the hearing officer sitting at a raised “bench” with a long table in front of him/her. You will sit on one side of the table and the employer on the other. This is not a court room and is much more relaxed than being in court.
The hearing officer will likely give a short introduction of the workers’ compensation issue being presented, and then will turn the floor over to the first party. Usually this will be the injured worker’s side, but there are times the employer’s side will go first. After your workers’ comp attorney presents the case and goes through your testimony, the employer and/its representative has their chance to present their case. Often the hearing officer will then ask for any rebuttal comments from your lawyer. During this entire process the hearing officer may also ask questions of anyone. See our other posts about questioning and your testimony. Once both sides have finished, the hearing officer normally makes a few closing remarks such as “I will consider all the evidence presented here today and make my decision. The hearing itself usually only lasts 10-20 minutes.
Getting the Hearing Results:
You most likely will not get an answer the day of the hearing. However, most decisions are made within a few days. The Industrial Commission Order will be mailed out and me you could get it within a few weeks. Workers’ comp lawyers can get orders emailed directly to them when they are issued, so check with your attorney about this. I usually get the orders emailed within a day or two and can then tell my client the results before it comes in mail. The workers’ compensation hearing process can be overwhelming, but having a general idea of what to expect can alleviate some of the anxiety. The best way to prepare is to talk with your attorney, and if you don’t already have an attorney contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at The Friedman Law Firm. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Hearings • Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ Compensation Hearings: Part 1 – Before the Hearing
Previously we addressed your testimony at a worker’s comp hearing. However, it is also good to know what to expect in general when you go to a hearing. In later posts we will provide some specific information tailored for a workers’ comp hearing at the Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown or other Industrial Commission office. In Part 1 of this series we will go through getting to the Industrial Commission and the hearing office itself for the workers’ comp hearing.
Getting to the Industrial Commission
Obviously the most important part about attending a hearing in your workers’ compensation claim is actually making it to the hearing. The hearings move quickly and if you are even a few minutes late you may have missed the entire hearing. So know where you are going and make sure to be early. If you are running late, make sure to call your workers’ compensation attorney (or their office) as they can often call to hold the hearing for you. Depending on which Industrial Commission office you are going to, there may or may not be free parking. Make sure to be prepared for whatever the parking situation will be and factor this into your travel time. Most Industrial Commission offices are part of a larger government office building. Therefore, when you enter the building you will have to sign in with security, show them a photo ID, and tell them you are there for a workers’ compensation hearing. They will then direct you to the Industrial Commission office.
The Industrial Commission Office
Once you get to the Industrial Commission office itself, you will again have to check in with security. This time there will be a metal detector and a computer to type your name into. After you get through security, you will be directed to sign in at the window. An Ohio Industrial Commission representative will take your name and confirm that you actually have a hearing scheduled that day. Then he/she will tell you to take a seat. The Industrial Commission office is basically a large room with numbered hearing rooms coming off of the large waiting area. There are chairs to sit and wait, and cubicles for the workers’ comp lawyers.
Finding Your Attorney and Pre-Hearing Prep
While you wait for your workers’ compensation hearing your workers’ comp attorney will find you by calling out your name. Sometimes the lawyer may be in other hearing, so do not worry if he/she does not come find you right away. However, if it is almost time for your hearing and you still have not found your attorney, you should ask security for assistance or call your workers’ compensation lawyer’s office. Your workers’ comp attorney will likely meet with you for a few minutes and go over your testimony. Now that you are at the hearing office and have found your attorney, you can relax for a few minutes before the hearing. Next time in Part 2 we will discuss the hearing itself. If you have a work injury, contact the injury attorneys at The Friedman Law Firm to consult and get a lawyer who will be with you every step of the way – including your hearings.. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Hearings • Workers’ Comp Process
The Danger of Drowsy Driving
A growing topic of study and concern is “drowsy driving”. Studies have shown that getting less than 4 hours of sleep a night causes impairment at about the same level as being legally drunk. While drunk driving has consistently been targeted as a socially unacceptable thing to do, drowsy driving is only just starting to be recognized as just as dangerous. Drowsy driving is a concern or all drivers, but those most at risk are people who drive for a living, such as truck drivers. Many professional drivers spend long hours on the road, and when they do stop for rest they often don’t get the good, quality rest that is required. What the Statistics Say About Sleep Deprivation The AAA Foundation for Safety has found that 21% of all fatal crashes in 2015 were a result of driving with sleep deprivation. When compared to drivers who had 7 hours of sleep, the study found that the crash and accident risk went up significantly the less you sleep you had. Drivers who slept 5-6 hours were twice as likely to be in an accident Drivers who slept 4-5 hours were 4 times more at risk of an accident Drivers who slept less than 4 hours had more than 11.5 times the crash risk than those who slept 7 hours The study also found that drivers who sleep one or more hours less than usual are at a significantly elevated crash risk. And if a driver sleeps 2-3 hours less than usual they are 3 times more at risk of a crash. Signs of Sleep Deprivation If you are driving a long distance, or if you didn’t get enough sleep before hitting the road, be on the lookout for signs of sleep deprivation. Symptoms include:
- Slower reaction time
- Decreased response accuracy
- Inability to focus
- Poor memory
- Impaired judgment
- Mood swings
If you are showing signs of sleep deprivation, pull over and find somewhere to take a rest. The dangers of drowsy driving shouldn’t be taken lightly. No matter what size vehicle you are driving, it can cause serious injuries. Car accidents can happen in an instant and change lives forever. Tagged: Auto Accidents • Truck Accidents
Testifying at Workers’ Compensation Hearings – Part 2: What to Say
In a prior article we discussed who can ask you questions at an Ohio workers’ compensation hearing. However, there is more to a BWC hearing than being asked questions – you also have to know how to answer them properly. The testimony you provide may be a general description of how the injury occurred, or could be in response to more pointed questions asked by an attorney. No matter how you are testifying though, you should follow the following ground rules when testifying at workers comp hearings.
I. Be Honest
This piece of advice is the first and last thing I tell all of my clients when preparing for the hearing. Honesty is always the best course of action – even if you think it might not be what the hearing officer wants to hear. I often say “it is what it is”. So if there are harmful facts or information surrounding your claim, you can’t hide them but rather should face them head on. If you exaggerate or try to hide information, the hearing officer will recognize this and the result will be a hearing officer who doesn’t believe anything you testified to (or at the very least questions it). Some hearings are under oath – which means that not only have you just caused irreparable harm to your reputation with the hearing officer, but you may have also perjured yourself.
II. Don’t Be Afraid to Admit You Cannot Remember
While honesty is extremely important, by the time you get to your hearing it sometimes becomes difficult to remember the exact details and dates involved in your workers’ compensation claim. That is part of human nature and perfectly ok. Many times clients try to guess an answer when they can’t remember or don’t know, which inevitably causes more harm than good. The opposing attorney can use any incorrect answers you give against you at the next hearing when you attempt to correct yourself. In addition, your guess might actually hurt your case rather than help it. In instances where you don’t remember something, feel free to state that you do not remember. However, if you have some approximation give that information with the disclaimer of “I’m not sure, but I think …” For instance, say you are asked for a date of a prior accident, but you do not remember. I often urge my clients to come up with some approximation like “I wasn’t married yet, so it was before 2011” or “I remember it was in 2011 but don’t remember the month. It was warm out so it was probably around summer”. Both of these answers give some additional information to try to figure out when it was. If it turns out to be in 2010 or April instead of the middle of summer, you are still relatively close and explained that you were not sure.
III. Keep it Short and Sweet
The last ground for testifying is to never provide more information than what is asked for. Each hearing normally is only scheduled for 15 minutes, so there is a lot of information for everyone to lay out during that time. (Though there are exceptions where additional time is allotted.) If you talk for 10 minutes it does not leave your lawyer much time to address the issue that you are there for. Many clients have a tendency to provide way more information than a question asks for and in doing so sometimes shoot themselves in the foot by providing information that hurts their case. Even if the information may not be damaging to your case, if your answer is too long and not succinct you run a risk of “losing” the hearing officer and he/she may miss the major point in your testimony. Your workers’ compensation lawyer should review your testimony with you before any hearing and advise you as to what they think is relevant to your case and what is not. Before the hearing, if your workers’ comp attorney tells you that a piece of information is not relevant to the hearing or may hurt your claim, then you shouldn’t bring that information during the hearing. The only exception to this is that if someone asks you a question about that information (or if an answer would be incomplete if you didn’t mention the irrelevant information) you must be honest.
IV. Remember – Your Attorney is There to Help You
Your workers’ compensation attorney will guide you through the hearing process. He/she should have all of the medical documentation needed to prove your claim and can explain to you the issues – whether legal, factual or medical. During the hearing, if you forget or don’t know something, your lawyer should be able to provide you with the necessary information to refresh your memory. For instance, I once had a client that through the entire hearing was discussing her right ankle – however, we were there to get her left ankle allowed as a work injury. After her testimony to the hearing officer, I asked her to point to which ankle she injured. When she pointed to her left she immediately realized she had misspoken and clarified that it was her left ankle, not her right. Of course, if you are awaiting a workers’ compensation hearing and do not have an attorney, now is the time to get one. While you are able to attend a hearing on your own behalf, retaining a lawyer will make sure that someone with the legal knowledge of the system is there for you. Without an attorney injured workers end up with denied claims because they went to hearings on their own and did not know what to expect. Even if everything looks “obvious” to you that it is a work injury, the BWC still requires evidence be provided in a specific format or form, and meet certain standards. A workers’ comp lawyer will make sure that the evidence meets the standards. Workers’ compensation hearings can be intimidating, but testifying at the hearing is relatively simple as long as you follow these guidelines. If you provide proper testimony and evidence, your claim should be fairly evaluated – and that is really the best situation for everyone. If you should have more questions regarding your workers’ compensation claim or about testifying at hearing please contact The Friedman Law Firm. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Hearings • Workers’ Comp Process
Car Maintenance: Is Your Car Safe?
People assume that if their car starts, it is in good condition. However, this is not necessarily true – especially in winter. Freezing temperatures wreak havoc on your car and you may not even be aware of many of your car’s issues until it is too late. All drivers should have regular car maintenance checkups performed to guarantee that everything is running properly. Here are the most commonly ignored winter car maintenance tasks to help keep you safe on the roads.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is important as under inflated tires make it more difficult to get proper traction or navigate on ice. In the winter, low temperatures can significantly decrease your tires’ air pressure. Always check your tire pressure to make sure you’re driving on properly inflated tires. If your vehicle doesn’t have tire pressure sensors, make sure to check using a tire pressure gauge.
Check Windshield Wipers and Fluid
It is important to have properly maintained windshield wipers and fluid to ensure you have clear visibility when driving. Sometimes it is obvious when you need new wipers, but other times you don’t know until it is too late. If you are unsure if your wipers need to be replaced, most oil change facilities or automotive supply stores can help you check your windshield wipers and find the proper replacement. It is also important to check that you have enough windshield wiper fluid in the fluid reservoir. It is usually easy to find the reservoir and learn how to check it. If you don’t know where the washer fluid reservoir is, ask your oil change facility or mechanic to show you. In the winter a blend of washer fluid and de-icer is the best option. But whatever fluid you decide to use, make sure you have some on hand for when you get low.
Check Your Car Battery
Even if your car starts, you need to check your battery. During winter, car batteries may be under added strain due to starting in the cold – and the last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road.
Having your oil changed is important year-round, but cold weather can cause thickening of your motor oil and difficulties starting your engine. Have your oil changed regularly and in the winter invest in oil that is formulated for the cold conditions. We know it costs money to maintain your car, but failing to maintain your vehicle properly can lead to even more expenses should the car break down, leave you stranded, or cause an accident. Be safe out there, and if you need assistance with an auto accident injury caused by someone who didn’t properly maintain their vehicle, call our office for help. Tagged: Auto Accidents
Testifying at a Hearing…When Less is More – Part 1: Who Can Ask You to Testify
At each and every workers’ compensation hearing that you attend there is the chance that you will have to provide some form of testimony. This testimony could come in the form of describing how your injury occurred or more simply answering questions asked by your employer’s attorney. Whether the hearing is at the Industrial Commission in Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown, or any other Ohio location, the same rules apply.
Who Can Ask You to Testify
Within a hearing room only three people are capable of asking you to testify, (1) your attorney, (2) an attorney who represents the employer, and (3) the hearing officer in charge of making a decision on your claim at hearing.
(1) Your Attorney
Your attorney will almost always ask you to testify at hearing unless they specifically advise you that your testimony is not needed. Typically, any testimony your attorney might ask you to provide at hearing will be reviewed with you before hearing. At most firms, attorneys meet you before the hearing and review with you the questions they are going to ask you in hearing so that you know what to expect. This review also helps your attorney know what to expect as well and enables them to plan accordingly for your responses in hearing. During any hearing process these questions may change as your attorney adapts their argument in the course of the hearing, but usually any questions reviewed with you before the hearing will be asked again at hearing
(2) The Employer’s Attorney
Much like your attorney, the attorney who represents your employer will typically ask you questions regarding the specifics of your claim. In addition to questions regarding your claim, they might also ask you questions concerning previous injuries, prior complaints or issues involving the same body parts at issue in the claim, or ask you if you engage in recreational activities outside the scope of your claim in order to determine if your accident at work is truly the cause of your injuries. Additionally, if your employer’s attorney is lacking information for your claim the questions they ask you might regard past medical doctors you treated with and past places of employment so that they can obtain information about previous workers’ compensation claims or injuries that might be affecting your current claim after the hearing.
(3) The Hearing Officer
A hearing officer typically asks clarifying questions regarding your claim. For instance, if you injured your low back lifting boxes at work they might ask you for the dimensions and weight of the box to determine if they think the box was heavy enough to injure your back. In addition, the hearing officer might ask you questions that they feel either your attorney or the employer’s attorney forgot to ask that the hearing officer feels are pertinent to the claim. Lastly, it is not out of the ordinary for a claimant to attend a hearing without ever being asked a question.
Who Cannot Ask You to Testify
Anyone who is not an attorney or the hearing officer for your hearing cannot ask you to testify. Therefore, if anyone other than the three individuals listed above attempts to ask you a question at hearing your attorney or the hearing officer should stop them from asking that question, and point out that it is illegal for them to do so. However, if the question seems to be a good one, the hearing officer may then pose the question to you. Now that you know who can ask you a question, in our next article we will discuss what you should actually say at the hearing. If you are going to an Ohio workers’ compensation hearing make sure to know your rights. Contact The Friedman Law Firm so that we can discuss your workers’ compensation claim and the hearing process. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Hearings • Workers’ Comp Process
Consider Getting Snow Tires
Surprisingly, many drivers decide not to use winter tires. It is costly to purchase a separate set of tires that are only used for part of the year…not to mention the cost involved in having them changed. Then you also have to figure out where to store the tires when not in use. In the Cleveland area though, snow tires can be helpful and worth the added effort and expense. Whether you are in Ashtabula, Lake County, or the eastside or westside of Cleveland, you are no stranger to the constantly changing winter weather conditions of the area. When the snow and ice hits, it doesn’t matter how carefully you drive if your tires are not properly suited to handle the road. So here are some reasons to consider getting winter tires.
The tread on snow tires is designed differently than summer and all-season tires. Snow tires have a number of small slits across the tire which increase its ability to “grip”. I don’t have snow tires, but I do have offroad tires on my Jeep, and I have noticed that the gripping ability is much better than my old all-season tires in the snow.
According to studies, stopping distance can decrease by nearly 37% when you use snow tires. In the event of an accident, the speed, stopping distance, and impact all play a part in injury severity. So reducing the stopping distance might not only prevent a potential accident, but could be the difference between life and death after a collision.
Not Just for Snow
Snow tires aren’t just for snow anymore…they perform better than summer and all-season tires in all winter weather. Including icy or wet roads.
If you grew up in the Cleveland weather, you’re already constantly aware of the dangers of black ice. However, when you begin to slide on black ice, you have a better chance of regaining traction if you have snow tires.
Extending Tire Life
At the beginning I mentioned cost is considered a reason not to get snow tires. But if you think about it – you are actually prolonging the life of your tires by not using them year-round. Snow tires may be an added expense and hassle, but weigh the costs and effort against the benefits of avoiding an accident and severe injury. Whether you decide to get snow tires or not, remember that no set of tires can completely prevent an accident. So stay safe out there and watch out for other drivers. And if you are injured in an accident caused by winter weather please call The Friedman Law Firm. Tagged: Auto Accidents
Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Settlements
So far I have discussed many different benefits injured workers may be entitled to in Ohio workers’ compensation claims. Some of these benefits are never pursued because the injured workers do not know about them. One such benefit is a settlement or “lump sum settlement”.
What Is Settlement Based On?
In workers’ compensation there is no award for pain and suffering. So a settlement would be based on what benefits may be available in the claim in the future. The first future benefit looked at is likely medical costs. In figure out a settlement value, you have to look at what future treatment is likely to be saught and approved. Someone who has had no treatment for several years and has only a sprain is unlikely to have much in the way of future medical costs, but someone with ongoing severe conditions could have a large future medical cost. For benefits other than medical costs, see my other posts regarding workers’ compensation benefits such as temporary total disability and permanent partial awards. Be aware though that the settlement only considers what has not been paid yet. So if you got 3 years of temporary total disability in the past that is not part of the settlement valuation because that has already been paid. But if it is possible that you will be off work again due to the injury you can argue future temporary total. I had a client who had a partial knee replacement through the claim and wanted to settle. I argued that she may need a total knee replacement in the future because the partials do not last forever. This significantly added on to the settlement due to the future medical cost of the surgery and the post-op therapy. I also argued that she would need to be back off work for the surgery, so future temporary total disability also added into the value of the settlement.
When Can I Settle?
Any time that the claim is still open it can be settled. I would advise against settling a brand new claim because you do not know the full impact of your injury, and settlement would close the claim forever. Most claims are open for five years from the last payment in the claim (except for a settlement). But many injured workers think their claim closed when they stopped treating or returned to work. If you had a workers’ compensation claim you should contact our firm to determine if that claim is still open and if you can receive a settlement. There are more benefits than the ones I have explained here, but these are the ones most often asked about or saught. Of course, the benefits explained do not always apply – it depends on the particulars of the injury and the claim. You should call our firm if you think you are entitled to any of these benefits to find out more. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Permanent Partial Disability
I previously discussed three types of benefits that apply to injured workers who either cannot work or can only perform limited work due to a work injury. Many people think once those benefits end or you return to work that your claim is closed. That is not the case. In fact, there are still some benefits available regardless of returning to work or if you work for the same employer. One such benefit is permanent partial disability – sometimes called PP or PPD, or a C92 due to the form used to request it.
What Is Permanent Partial Disability
Often people hear about permanent partial disability and think that they have to be fully disable to get it. However, that is not the case. A permanent partial disability award is based on having an ongoing impairment from the injury. The BWC has you sent to an examination where they determine an impairment percentage. The impairment percentage is based on how much of your entire body is impaired. So for instance, if you could barely use your thumb due to a work injury you certainly would not have a 100% impairment because your thumb is a small part of your body. But an injury equally severe to your pinky may be less than the thumb because you use your thumb more than the pinky.
Can You Appeal The BWC’s Percentage Finding?
In short, yes. Once the BWC gets its report back, an order will be issued with the percentage. Either the employer or the injured worker has the right to appeal. It is very frequent that we disagree and appeal the BWC’s order. In order to be successful in an appeal, you need to have another doctor rebut the BWC doctor’s findings. Our firm will handle getting this information needed from a doctor, as well as the hearing at the Industrial Commission.
How Is A Permanent Partial Percentage Paid?
A permanent partial award is a one time payment. However, the way that payment is calculated can be a little confusing. First, each percentage point approved converts into two “weeks”. To calculate the rate that a “week” gets paid at for permanent partial purposes, look at the Average Weekly Wage. Each week can be paid at 66.67% of the Average Weekly Wage. However, there is a maximum rate that the weekly amount cannot surpass. For injuries occurring in 2017, that maximum rate is $300.67. This means that even if you make $1,000 a week pre-injury, you cannot get more than $300.67 per week on a percentage award (which would mean $601.34 per percentage point since each point is 2 weeks). Applying for a permanent partial award on your own can be difficult. If you have a workers’ compensation claim you should call our firm to discuss whether you are entitled to this award – even if the claim is several years old or you have returned to work. Next time I will discuss another benefit that many injured workers do not often get – a lump sum settlement. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Vocational Rehabilitation
So far I have discussed two types of compensation that apply to work restrictions – temporary total disability and wage loss. Vocational rehabilitation is one more common benefit that injured workers’ seek in Ohio workers’ compensation. Vocational rehabilitation – sometimes called voc rehab – is a program that assists injured worker in returning to some form of employment. The primary requirements for vocational rehabilitation are that you are actually able and willing to return to some form of work. For instance, if you are about to have surgery you would not be able to get in voc rehab because you will not physically be able to return to work yet. Also, you must be willing to participate fully in the program. (See my warnings in the wage loss section as many of those apply here too.)
What It Looks Like:
To get started in voc rehab, you have to meet with someone who will customize your voc rehab plan. This plan can take a few different forms. For some people, they have a job to return to but just aren’t quite physically ready to do that job. If this is the case, the voc rehab plan may include some therapy and “work hardening” in order to help the person tolerate the daily stresses of standing, walking, or whatever else the job may entail. For others, there is no job to return to. In this case the voc rehab plan may still include the work hardening program if needed, but then may also include a job search program – similar to what I detailed for non-working wage loss. One difference between this type of voc rehab program and wage loss is that the program’s case worker will help with the job search. This means there could be assistance writing a resume, work on the interview process, etc. Voc rehab may also contain some type of training or education if the person is not able to return to the type of job they did previously. This could be computer skills training to get into a lighter duty job, or some classes/training in a completely different field. I recently had a client who worked in healthcare. She could not return to the physical job she had before so we were able to get her approved for an education program through voc rehab. She just received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice through voc rehab and now she has transitioned into a job search program as well.
Benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation:
The obvious benefit to voc rehab is to get assistance returning to some form of work. If you get training you are also getting the benefit of education at no cost. However, the other benefit is that while you are in the program you are entitled to what is called living maintenance payments. These payments are normally comparable to the temporary total disability payments.
Normally after a work injury people start out on temporary total disability as they are unable to work or have significant restrictions. Once the condition begins to plateau, it may be time to apply for voc rehab. Remember, you must be physically capable to return to some form of employment – which is why injured workers normally start on temporary total disability while their condition stabilizes. If you think you are entitled to vocational rehabilitation through your Ohio workers’ compensation claim, you should contact our firm to discuss your options. Next I will discuss some benefits that do not relate to loss of work or income. Some of these benefits are often available but not saught by injured workers because they think the claim is “over” once they return to work. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
Wage Loss Benefits in Workers’ Compensation
Last time I discussed temporary total disability – which is payment for temporarily being unable to work. This is just one way to be compensated through the Ohio workers’ compensation system when you cannot work. Another type of compensation is wage loss.
Two Types of Wage Loss:
In Ohio you can receive either working wage loss or non-working wage loss. Non-working wage loss I compare to unemployment. You must continually complete and submit a form that details all of your attempts to find employment. This form should be completed in as much detail as possible – including names of people contacted – as the BWC or employer may call to verify these contacts. Working wage loss is for people that are working, but are not able to earn as much as they did before the injury due to ongoing restrictions. The reason for the lowered income has to be due to the injury’s restrictions and not due to some other condition – including if you lost your job during the course of the claim.
How Wage Loss Is Paid
Non-working wage loss gets paid at 66.67% of the Average Weekly Wage (an average of the weekly wage for a year before the accident). It typically is paid every two weeks, but cannot be paid unless the appropriate job search forms have been completed and submitted. Working wage loss is a little more complicated. You get 66.67% of the difference between the Average Weekly Wage and the current pay. You must submit your paystubs in order for the working wage loss to be calculated and paid.
John was injured working on a drill press at a factory. John’s Average Weekly Wage is $500 per week based on what he made a year before the injury. After the accident, John is unable to stand more than 3 hours a day due to his injury. This means he cannot return to the drill press job where he was on his feet all day. John takes a new job in assembly where he is able to sit. However, he now makes $380 a week (pre-tax). John would be entitled to wage loss of roughly $80 a week. .6667 * [ $500 (pre-injury Average Weekly Wage) – $380 (current wage) ] = $80
One potential pitfall I already mentioned is documentation of the job search. You need to have detailed information of who you contacted, when and what they said. I have seen the BWC and employer’s representatives call the people listed on the forms. Often the potential employers don’t remember specifically who called, which I can argue around. But if the BWC finds there is no one working there by the name on the form, we have a problem. I also advise my clients to make copies of any applications they complete. If the application was done online, take a screenshot before its submitted. The more documentation the better. Another issue I sometimes run into pertains to the amount of effort put into the job search. Non-working wage loss is viewed as a full-time job search, meaning you must be spending close to a full-time work load applying for work and contacting potential employers. I had a client who was only contacting one or two places a week. Ultimately that was found to not be a valid job search and she was denied wage loss. So make sure you are making as many contacts as possible. The ultimate goal would be to find a job, so putting this amount of effort in should hopefully be worth it! There are less issues for working wage loss, but they still exist. Since you are getting paid the difference from your pre-injury wages, working wage loss will stop once if/when you make it to that wage threshold. This may seem like a non-issue, but for people with a low pre-injury wage rate, they may max out the working wage loss around the minimum wage. One other warning for working wage loss, if you are making significantly less than the pre-injury wage rate, you may need to show that you have put forth a good-faith effort to find better employment. I once had a client that this happened to. She was working for a day care part-time making minimum wage. Ultimately we could not prove that she was unable to find a better-paying job because she should have been able to find at least something for minimum wage full time. Wage loss may be beneficial for many injured workers, but the documentation has to be done correctly. Call our firm if you think you are entitled to wage loss in your workers’ compensation claim. Next time I will talk about another workers’ compensation benefit that helps people transition back to work – vocational rehabilitation. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
“Drugged Driving” – A New Concern
As our population grows older more people are being diagnosed with chronic medical conditions. Whether these conditions are life-threatening or mundane, one thing is for sure – prescription medications are likely to be part of the treatment plan. These prescriptions can help our older population stay mobile for longer. But prescription medications and travel often do not mix. In fact, 78% of drivers age 55 and older take medications that could potentially impact their ability to drive safely. Its being called “drugged driving” and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists driving while on prescriptions as a growing safety concern. Know a Senior Driver? How to Help You likely know someone at risk of driving while impaired by prescription medication. There are steps you can take to help ensure their safety on the road—especially if they take prescription medications:
- Go over the medications—and make sure you read the product warning labels.
- Make sure they know which medications may cause drowsiness, loss of concentration, or other side effects that could impair driving.
- Consider adjusting either the medication schedule or the daily driving schedule if medications must be taken at a certain time.
- As with all medication, make sure to know about any potential interactions with other medications.
No matter what your age, there are risks involved with taking prescription medication and driving. We at The Friedman Law Firm want to remind you – never drive impaired. Be safe out there. Tagged: Auto Accidents
Types Of Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Temporary Total Disability
When someone is hurt at work, most people realize that they have the right to bring a workers’ compensation claim. However, not everyone knows exactly what the benefits are available to them in workers’ compensation. Through the next few posts I will be discussing the different types of workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio.
Temporary Total Disability
Usually the first workers’ compensation benefit injured workers come across is temporary total disability. This is basically compensation for being unable to work due to the injury and is often referred to as TT or TTD. The payments are for temporarily being unable to work.
In order to be entitled to temporary total disability, two forms must be completed. First is the Medco14 – which is the form that the doctor completes listing the conditions causing the disability, and the work restrictions. The doctor also lists a timeframe that these restrictions are likely to be in place. The doctor can of course extend this by completing another Medco14. Most doctors fill out a Medco14 for 3 months at a time. The second form is completed by the injured worker and it is called C84. The injured worker indicates when the last date worked was and indicates if any other income/compensation is being received – such as unemployment, paid time off, etc. It is important to complete this form correctly and truthfully as you cannot receive temporary total disability while being paid through another source if those other payments are compensating you for loss of income/work. If you are getting paid from another source please discuss with an attorney. I have had clients who did not ask if the payments they were getting counted, and ended up having both a workers’ compensate overpayment and a criminal fraud charge brought against them – all because they didn’t ask.
Filing For Temporary Total And A Timeframe:
Once the Medco14 and C84 have been filed, the BWC can process your request for temporary total disability. If the claim (or the condition causing the disability) is not yet allowed, the BWC cannot approve temporary total until there has been a final decision on the claim/condition. The BWC can approve the temporary total outright if there is enough information to do so. However, this is rare. In most cases the BWC will send the request for either a physician review or an examination with one of the state’s doctors. After that report comes back, the BWC can issue a decision to approve the temporary total if the doctor and employer agree to approve it. If everyone does not agree to approve the temporary total, it will be sent for a hearing at the Industrial Commission. If temporary total is sent for a hearing, it will likely take a few months for the hearing process to be concluded due to scheduling and appeal periods.
How Temporary Total Is Paid:
Temporary total is paid every two weeks. If there is a back period of temporary total due, the first check will include that back period to make the payments “current”. There are two different rates that temporary total is paid out at. The first 12 weeks of temporary total are paid at 72% of the Full Weekly Wage. After that, remaining temporary total is paid out at 66.67% of the Average Weekly Wage.
How Temporary Total Stops:
As I said at the beginning, these payments are by definition for a temporary inability to work. So they are not permanent and will eventually stop. The most obvious way for temporary total to stop is if your doctor releases you back to work. Another more common way for temporary total payments to stop is if you are found to reach maximum medical improvement – aka “MMI”. What this means is that a doctor (either yours, the state’s or the employer’s) has found that you have reached a treatment plateau and no further improvement is anticipated. It does not mean that you are better and can return to work. Often my clients are concerned about the doctors saying they are MMI because they still have pain and difficulties. But temporary total is again temporary. If someone loses a leg, at some point the recovery for that loss will be done. They will have adjusted to a prosthetic. At that time they will be MMI and no longer entitled to temporary total. Its not that the leg grew back, but that there is nothing else that will help them get back to the way they were before. Even though temporary total may end, not everyone can return to work at that time. There are other benefits available which may be of assistance at that time. Temporary total is just one of the many benefits available in Ohio workers’ compensation. In the next post I will discuss another benefit that many people pursue when they are found MMI and no longer entitled to temporary total. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ Compensation Wage Rates – Average Weekly Wage
Last time I explained the first type of wage rate in workers’ compensation – the full weekly wage (FWW). But there is another calculation that is used more frequently – the average weekly wage (AWW). The average weekly wage is an average of what was made weekly (pre-tax) in the year before the work injury.
How The AWW Is Calculated:
The AWW is calculated a few different ways. The easiest way is to take all the wages for a year before the accident and divide by 52 weeks.
Injury happens 10/1/16 Injured worker provides paystubs 10/1/15 – 9/30/16 totaling $52,000. The AWW is $1,000 ($52,000/$1000) The above way of calculation presumes though that you have access to exactly 52 weeks of wages before the work injury. This is not always the case. For instance, if the only wage information available is a W2. If we have more than 52 weeks of wages, the AWW can be calculated by dividing the total wages provided by how many weeks accounted for those wages.
If someone did not work the entire year before the injury, there will be wages missing. In this circumstance we normally can get the AWW adjusted by deducting those weeks.
Injury happens 3/6/16 Injured worker was laid off from 3/1/15 – 1/2/16 (So only worked from 1/3/16 – 3/5/16 in the year before) Total wages 1/3/16 – 3/5/16 are $900 (1/3/16 – 3/5/16 is 9 weeks) AWW = $100 $900 divided by nine weeks
How AWW Is Used:
AWW is used to pay out many different workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, if you receive temporary total disability for more than 12 weeks, you get paid at 66.67% of the AWW. (The first 12 weeks of temporary total disability are paid under the FWW rate). Permanent partial awards and wage loss are also paid based on your AWW. There are many exceptions in getting the AWW set correctly in workers’ compensation. Since it impacts benefits in your workers’ compensation claim contact our firm to ensure that your AWW is set correctly and you are getting the benefits you are entitled to. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
Workers’ Compensation Wage Rates – FWW
In this two-part series I will explain the two different types of wage rates in the Ohio workers’ compensation system. The two wage rates are called the Full Weekly Wage (FWW) and the Average Weekly Wage (AWW). These rates impact the amount of your benefits in your workers’ compensation claim.
Full Weekly Wage
This rate is the average of what you made in the 6 weeks before the workplace accident.
How Its Calculated:
The FWW is calculated by taking your last six pay amounts (pre-tax) and dividing by six. If you did not work all six weeks before your work injury the FWW can be adjusted for your special circumstance. For instance, a person had just started working at a job the day before the accident. She had been laid off for several months prior to getting this job. So the only pay she got in the six weeks before the accident was the $80 she made in her first day. If this was divided by 6 her FWW would only be $13 per week. The FWW was ultimately set at $400 a week because that was the rate she would have been making had she not been injured.
When Its Used:
The first twelve weeks of temporary total disability are paid out at 72% of the full weekly wage. After that, the temporary total disability is paid based on the average weekly wage, which will be discussed in my next post. If you have questions about the amount you are being paid in your workers’ compensation claim please call our office. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process
Auto Accident Injuries – The “Basics”
Unfortunately car accidents happen. There are a multitude of reasons for these accidents. However, whether it is someone texting, speeding, talking on a cell phone, distracted by passengers, or plain inattention, the result is often the same – damaged vehicles, possible injuries, and lots of emotions. In the heat of the moment it may be hard to think clearly and know what to do. So its important to know what to do before you are in an accident.
WHAT TO DO NOW:
Get proper insurance coverage. If you do not have insurance you will be breaking the law every time you drive. You also will be putting yourself at risk of financial liability if you cause an accident. If you already have insurance you also need to make sure that you have proper coverage – if you don’t you may be at a loss if someone else causes an accident. You should know the different types of insurance coverage and what you have on your policy. There is uninsured motorists’ coverage – which will protect you if someone uninsured causes an accident. There is also underinsured motorists’ coverage – which will protect you if the person causing the accident did not have adequate coverage. With either of these types of coverage you also need to know what your coverage limits are and make sure those are adequate. If you have low limits (state minimum in Ohio is $12,500.00 per person/$25,000.00 per occurrence) then that could mean you could recover no more than that amount – even in the case of a catastrophic injury. For instance, I had a client who lost his leg in an accident. The person who caused the accident had no insurance. My client had uninsured motorists’ coverage, but he only had state minimum limits. So ultimately the client could only receive $12,500.00 for the accident and losing his leg. As you can imagine, this barely put a dent in anything as the bills themselves were well over $100,000.00. The lesson here – do not trust others to have appropriate insurance coverage. Make sure you have liability AND underinsured/uninsured motorists coverage at the highest limit you can afford.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE IN AN ACCIDENT:
At the time of the accident
- Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers and insurance company details of everyone involved – including vehicle owner if they were not the driver.
- Document a description of each vehicle involved including damage and where the damage and vehicles are located after the accident. Take photos with a cell phone if possible. Even if you cannot take pictures at the time of the accident, take pictures of the damage to your vehicle before it is repaired.
- Document how the accident happened and where/when it happened.
- Take down the names and addresses of any witnesses
- Contact the police. They may not come to the scene in some circumstances, but if you get the above information you can still make a report at the station.
- Keep a cool head at the scene to allow the police to do their job effectively, and help you to get the above information. Yelling at the other driver will never get you anywhere, and could even make your situation worse
After the accident
- Consult an attorney regarding what your rights are and to protect those rights. Most attorneys who take these sorts of cases do not charge hourly or up front fees but work on contingency – so they only get paid if/when they settle the claim. An attorney will have the expertise that you do not have as they have handled these claims before. Find an attorney you trust and feel comfortable with.
- Do not discuss the details of the accident with the insurance company unless you have consulted an attorney. If you provide a statement it could be used against you later to prove you were at fault or not injured.
- Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible – even if the accident is not your fault your insurance may come into play. It could be days before you hear from the other person’s insurance and can get your vehicle fixed. If you have adequate coverage on your policy, they could begin fixing your car sooner (if needed). Again though, discuss this with your attorney prior to making any statements.
- If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Sometimes injuries do not appear for a few days – but seek medical help as soon as you begin to feel injured.
- Continue to receive treatment for your injuries. For most injuries, the only/best way to prove your injuries is to have medical records demonstrating continued complaints and treatment. Also, physical therapy is often more effective than medication alone. Document your treatment and who you receive treatment with.
Tagged: Auto Accidents
Buying a car? Gap coverage and why do you need it.
When you buy a new car you are given many options to choose from regarding financing payment cycle, maintenance options, and warranties etc. Most of these options increase the amount you are paying for the car. So without knowing about these options and of the importance, maybe you are likely to just pass and say no. However one option many people do not know about, is Gap coverage.
What it is.
Gap coverage that will supplement auto insurance when a car is totaled. This coverage does increase the amount of your loan payment. The actual amount for Gap coverage will depend on the value of the car and your loan terms.
How it works
If your car is totaled, the auto insurance companies are only responsible for the actual value of the vehicle. It does not matter who caused the accident or totaled vehicle. So if your vehicle is totaled and the value is less than what you owe on the loan, you are still responsible for the remainder of the loan. You can roll any of the remaining loan into a new loan for another vehicle, but it will obviously increase the payment for the new vehicle. If you have Gap coverage though, the “gap” between the value of your vehicle and what you actually owe on it can be removed, meaning that your loan will be paid in full even if you owe more than the vehicle’s value.
When you need it
Gap coverage is separate from auto insurance. Even if you have a great auto insurance coverage you should still consider Gap coverage since your auto insurance will only cover the actual value of the vehicle. Consider Gap coverage whether you are buying a new or used vehicle and anytime you are going to be making payments on the vehicle.
When it you may not need a Gap coverage:
- When you are paying cash for a vehicle and will not have payments.
- When you were paying less for the vehicle than what it is worth.
- When the value of the vehicle is likely to go up rather than down with time.
Be an informed consumer when you purchase a car from a dealership, they may not explain what all the options are in order to not deter you from buying the vehicle. Getting Gap coverage is important – I have seen too many people end up paying on a car long after it was totaled and they did not have it any longer. Paying $10 or $20 extra a month may be worth it for the peace of mind that if something happens you will not end up paying in the end. Tagged: Auto Accidents • Motorcycle Accidents
Workers’ Compensation Myth: “Suing” the Employer
Injured workers sometimes mention they do not want to bring a workers’ compensation claim because they don’t want to sue their employer. While this often is because the worker is concerned about harassment or termination, sometimes the worker likes his/her boss and feels bringing the claim is suing the employer for doing something wrong. The truth is that you are not suing the employer in a workers’ compensation claim. Workers compensation in Ohio is an area of administrative law. This means that the majority of the process is done in an administrative system and does not ever see the light of a courthouse. So there is no “lawsuit” filed against the employer when a workers’ compensation claim is brought. I would compare workers’ compensation claims to auto insurance claims. You pay (hopefully) for car insurance. When your child backs into your car in your driveway, you call the insurance company. They set up a claim and send someone out to look at the car. You are not suing your child for hitting your car – just processing a claim for the benefits you are entitled to. In the workers’ compensation system, the employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance and the claim is processed under that insurance. No lawsuit is filed and no one is (normally) blaming the employer for any wrong-doing. The big difference from an auto insurance claim is that we do not need to prove fault in workers’ compensation. In Ohio, we have a no fault workers’ compensation system – meaning that we do not have to prove that anyone (whether the employer or someone else) was at fault. This is another reason why no one is “suing” or “blaming” the employer. Now, there are times when cases go to court. If the avenues in the workers’ compensation system have been exhausted then the case can be filed outside of the administrative system and into the court system. The employer will be named in this, but again no one is blaming the employer for anything, they are being named as defendants because the claim is being brought under their workers’ compensation policy. The other time that a case would go to court and the employer would be named is if there is an intentional tort claim. This is separate from a workers’ compensation claim but could be brought if there was significant evidence to prove that the employer had “intent” to cause injury. The reason I say significant evidence is because the law for intentional torts is very particular and it therefore can be very difficult to prove one of these claim. If there were an intentional tort brought, the employer would be sued directly and be being “blamed” – but most of the workers’ compensation claims out there do not have this component to them. Although the system is not set up to blame the employer or sue the employer, it does not mean that the employer will always be happy with a workers’ compensation claim being brought against them. Partly because even employers don’t realize they aren’t being sued. But the workers’ comp system is there for a reason – because people get hurt at work and the law entitles those people to certain benefits (treatment, payment of medical bills, payment of lost income, plus other awards). Tagged: Workers’ Comp Process
Old Workers’ Compensation Claims May Still Have Value
When you are hurt at work your main focus is on your treatment, and lost wages. But once you’re better and back to work, most people forget about their workers’ compensation claims and think they are closed. This is normally not the case and by thinking the claim is over you are missing out on other benefits. Even when you have returned to work and stopped treating, the claim is still open. Most workers’ compensation claims which occurred after 2006 are open for five years from the last payment on the claim. By payment on the claim I mean payment of a medical bill, a payment for lost income, or payment of any other benefit in the claim. Claims before 2006 could be open for up to ten years from the last payment So why does it matter that a claim is still open? Because there are other awards in workers’ compensation than just getting lost income and medical bills paid. Even if you have returned to work and don’t need any more treatment, these awards may still be available. The two main awards that I deal with on older claims are settlements and permanent partial awards. I was recently helping a client with a new claim and he mentioned an old injury – after a little investigation I found that it was a 1994 claim which was about to expire. He had recovered from the injury and had not had treatment in close to ten years. He figured the claim was closed once he returned to work. Fortunately we found the claim before it expired and I was able to settle the claim for him. I always figure it doesn’t hurt to ask if there are any awards available for an old claim. If not, you haven’t lot anything but a little time. But if you can get a settlement or other award – even a nominal amount – its still something that you didn’t have yesterday and probably didn’t know was possible. Tagged: Workers’ Comp Awards • Workers’ Comp Process