You understand that workers’ compensation insurance protects you if you develop some medical issue because of your work. However, many people never need those benefits and therefore don’t understand the claims process.
Understanding the right steps to take can make it easier for you to get benefits when a work-acquired medical condition will force you to take a leave of absence or necessitate expensive medical care.
When you get hurt on the job
If you get struck by a piece of machinery or burned by a tool, reporting the incident to your employer quickly is a good move. Workers in Ohio typically need to report an incident or diagnosis within a year to protect the right to workers’ compensation benefits.
Once your employer is aware, you will take the next step by filing an official claim through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
When a doctor diagnoses you outside of work
You’ve noticed recurring pain in your back or your forearms for weeks and finally go see the doctor. They perform a few tests and tell you that you have a repetitive motion injury caused by your job responsibilities.
You need them to put information about your diagnosis and any work restrictions in writing so that you can take that to your employer. Notifying your employer immediately about the issue is important, as your employer needs to know about your diagnosis for you to file a claim.
When you have medical bills
Sometimes, such as when you receive a diagnosis outside of work or have an injury so severe that you need emergency treatment, you may have medical bills from before when you initiate your workers’ compensation claim. You’ll be able to submit copies of the invoices for those services as part of the claims process for reimbursement.
Once you have an approved claim, workers’ compensation insurance will directly pay for your continued medical treatment.
When you miss work
You can receive temporary disability benefits during your treatment and permanent disability benefits if you can’t go back to work. There are even partial disability benefits available for those who can do some work but not the same job anymore.
Provided that your medical records and other documentation support the claim that you need time off of work or reduce responsibilities, you can potentially receive up to two-thirds of your lost wages until you go back to work or reach maximum medical improvement for your condition.
When the insurance company denies your claim
Sometimes, you file a claim and get rejected. In that situation, you need to continue seeking treatment, maintaining medical records and working with your employer. You can initiate an appeal, provided that you respond within 14 days, and can hopefully connect with benefits once you prove your need for benefits or connect your condition to your job.
Understanding the rules that govern Ohio’s workers’ compensation program makes claiming benefits a little easier.