Ohio Workers' Compensation

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Benefits Process

State law dictates how most people will file workers’ compensation claims and qualify for those benefits. If you get hurt or sick at work in Ohio, follow the steps listed below to apply for workers’ compensation. You’ll also find an informative chart showing how the Ohio workers’ compensation program changed from 2015-2019.

Does Your Employer Have Ohio Workers’ Compensation Coverage?

Any business that employs at least one worker must automatically provide Ohio workers’ compensation coverage. According to state law, this policy covers all full-time and part-time employees. However, certain workers are automatically exempt from collecting Ohio workers’ compensation, such as:

  • Federal employees (i.e., postal carriers, maritime or railroad workers)
  • Independent contractors
  • Domestic workers who earn less than $160 every three months (i.e., babysitters, housekeepers, gardeners/yard upkeep)
  • Volunteers
  • Intoxicated workers
  • Workers with self-inflicted injuries, or that result from reckless behavior while on the job

Related: How the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Benefits Process Works

Is Covid-19 an Occupational Illness That Qualifies for Workers’ Comp?

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) recently issued a list of workplace Covid-19 FAQs. It’s possible for you to file a workers’ comp claim for Covid-19, but there’s no guarantee you’ll receive benefits. First, you’ll need to prove that you contracted the disease specifically from workplace exposure. Second, you must also prove you didn’t contract Covid-19 anywhere else, such as home, school or while running errands. Third, you must provide documents showing a positive Covid-19 test and required medical care. While the state did approve some Covid-19 WC claims last year, most came from healthcare workers and first responders.

How to File Your Ohio Workers’ Compensation Claim

To file your workers’ compensation claim, follow these steps:

  1. Notify your employer about your injury accident immediately and seek medical attention. If you don’t seek medical care for your injury or illness, it’s impossible to receive Ohio workers’ compensation. For emergency care, visit the closest ER or urgent clinic. Otherwise, you must see a BMC-authorized doctor to treat your injury or illness. Going to a doctor without BMC authorization makes you responsible for paying those medical bills — not your employer.
  2. Is your workplace injury or illness bad enough to require taking more than one week off work to recover? If you must miss eight-plus workdays due to injury, you must file a claim directly with the Ohio BMC. Otherwise, your employer is only required to pay all medical bills related to your injury.
  3. Once you have a written BMC Order showing your claim in “allowed” status, you can apply for lost-wage benefits. Your order may say allowed, accepted, or approved – these all mean you’re cleared to file for workers’ comp. Then, complete Form C-101, Authorization to Release Medical Information and file it with the BMC. You must do this within one year of your injury or illness diagnosis date to receive Ohio workers’ comp.
  4. The BMC must approve or deny your workers’ comp claim for lost-wage benefits within 28 days.
  5. You have 14 days to appeal a denied claim. To do this, file your completed Form IC-12, Notice of Appeal directly with the BMC.
  6. If the BMC dismisses your claim, you must re-file within one year for injury or death, and two years for an occupational illness.

Since every Ohio workers’ compensation claim is unique, your own experience may vary.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation Statistics, 2015-2019

Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases a statistical workers’ compensation program report for nearly every state. The report shows the total claims filed as well as those filed for each specific industry, plus job restrictions. Our interactive chart below shows high-level Ohio workers’ compensation program statistics from 2015-2019:

Each year, service-industry workers file around 2 in every 5 workers’ comp claims in Ohio (56%-64%). However, just half of all claims annually qualify for lost-time benefits (49.4%-52%). So, what does this mean for you? This means you have a 50-50 chance of needing more than one week off to recover after your accident. Overall, total workers’ compensation claims fell 12% during this five-year period. Service-industry workers filed 15% fewer claims from 2017 to 2018. Ohio employees that missed work, received job restrictions, or changed positions fell 13% from 2015-2019.

There are many reasons why your employer might deny you workers’ comp benefits. For example: Did another coworker start a fight at work that resulted in your injury? Or did you slip and fall on some ice in the parking lot after clocking out? Many gray areas give employers the legal right to deny you workers’ comp, regardless of your injury’s severity. That’s why you should always speak with a workers’ compensation attorney before filing your claim.

Sign up for a free phone call and get confidential claim advice from an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney near you. That attorney can explain what documents to submit that best support your claim or handle your appeal, if needed. Since these attorneys always work on contingency, you pay $0 for legal assistance if you don’t win a cash settlement. But if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.