Workers Compensation Laws for Ohio Industries
Columbus Workers Compensation Lawyers Explain Your Options
Larrimer & Larrimer LLC has offered guidance and assistance to injured Ohio workers for nearly 90 years. We have seen workers compensation laws change over the decades. As a result, we always go out of our way to thoroughly research and understand new regulations. No matter what industry you work in, we can help you file the right kind of claim to get you all the benefits you deserve.
What Laws Regulate Workers Compensation Benefits?
Each state has its own workers compensation laws that require employers to provide for employees hurt on the job. In Ohio, most companies pay a premium to the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) for workers comp insurance. Then, in the event of a workplace accident, an injured worker can file a claim for benefits with the BWC. However, these laws do not apply to all professions. For example, federal workers and those in the maritime industry are not covered by any state laws. Instead, specific federal laws apply to these occupations. Some of these special workers compensation laws include:
- Federal Employees Compensation Act
- Federal Employers Liability Act
- Merchant Marine Act (The Jones Act)
- Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
- Black Lung Benefits Act
- Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
Federal Employees Compensation Act
The Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) applies to all federal government workers across the Unites States, except those covered under separate laws, such as members of the military. FECA provides compensation for federal workers who are hurt on the job or develop occupational injuries. In many respects, it is similar to most state workers comp systems.
In order to apply for FECA benefits, you must work directly for a federal agency, not a privately owned company. Like traditional workers comp, federal benefits cover all work injuries and illnesses, regardless of fault. FECA benefits may include:
- All expenses for medical treatment, including surgery, medication and rehabilitation costs.
- Lost wages. Typically, the federal agency that you work for will pay a portion of your lost earnings for the first 45 days after your injury. If you are disabled longer than that, then you will be compensated through FECA going forward.
- Permanent disability benefits, if your work injury results in permanent partial or total disability. The amount of this compensation depends on the severity of your injury and how much it affects your ability to work.
- Training expenses, if you need additional vocational training when returning to work after an injury.
- Survivors’ benefits for the wrongful death of a loved one, especially the primary wage earner.
Federal Employers Liability Act
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) applies to injured railroad workers. Since the federal government regulates trade between states, federal workers comp laws protect railway workers. Under FELA, you may pursue your claim in either state or federal court. However, unlike many workers comp systems, recovery under FELA is fault-based. This means that an injured worker must prove that negligence by the railroad caused the accident to receive benefits.
In addition, settlements are awarded on a comparative fault basis. This means that if you contributed to the accident that caused your injuries, you will receive reduced benefits. Still, benefits granted by FELA tend to be higher than regular workers comp settlements. Under FELA, you may collect benefits for any of the following:
- Medical expenses, including costs for future care.
- Lost wages.
- Pain and suffering that arose from a specific physical ailment.
- Permanent disability benefits, including loss of earning capacity for both partial and total disabilities.
- Wrongful death benefits for family members. However, FELA does not include compensation for grief or pain and suffering for family members in these claims.
Merchant Marine Act, or the Jones Act
State workers compensation laws do not cover maritime workers. Instead, the Jones Act, which began in 1920, provides benefits for workers after maritime accidents. In Ohio, maritime workers include those who work in the shipping industries on the Ohio River, Lake Erie or any body of water. Fishermen, ferry drivers and others may also be covered. Essentially, in order to qualify for Jones Act coverage, you must spend at least 30 percent of your time working on a vessel in open waters.
Under the Jones Act, employers must provide injured maritime workers with “maintenance and cure”. This means that your employer must pay your medical expenses and lost wages until you can return to work. However, maritime law is a complex legal area. Therefore, you should always consult a lawyer before filing this kind of claim.
Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
The Jones Act applies only to those who work on ships or other vessels in open waters. It does not include maritime workers like longshoremen and dock workers. Instead, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) provides injury compensation for people in these professions. The LHWCA applies to those who work adjacent to or near navigable water and perform jobs directly related to the maritime industry.
The LHWCA allows workers to recover compensation for injuries or occupational illnesses they sustain on the job. Possible benefits may include:
- Lost wages compensation. Under the LHWCA, you may receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage when injured.
- Medical expenses, including travel costs to and from treatment facilities.
- Re-training costs, if you cannot return to your original job.
- Temporary partial or total disability benefits.
- Permanent partial or total disability benefits.
- Wrongful death benefits.
Black Lung Benefits Act
The Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA) applies only to coal miners who are totally disabled by pneumoconiosis as a result of their work. This disease, caused by the inhalation of coal dust, affects the lungs and makes breathing difficult. Coal miners who develop black lung disease should receive workers compensation benefits from their employer. The BLBA provides additional benefits to cover medical expenses related to the disease. This includes medication, surgery, nursing home care and rehabilitation costs.
Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) is similar to the Black Lung Benefits Act. It provides for Department of Energy workers, including those working for contractors and subcontractors, who develop serious illnesses as a result of radiation exposure in the workplace. Exposure to radioactive substances can cause aggressive cancer and other illnesses. Injured workers or their families can file an EEOICPA claim for medical expenses, lost wages, wrongful death and other compensatory damages. However, the application process is extensive, so you should always consult an Ohio workers comp attorney before filing.
Workers for several companies and laboratories throughout Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio may have grounds for an EEOICPA workers compensation claim. In addition, workers at the Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Portsmouth are part of a Special Exposure Cohort, according the EEOICPA. This facility, which operated from the mid-1950s to the year 2000, processed uranium for use in nuclear engines and power plants. Former Portsmouth workers who develop serious radiation-related diseases do not have to prove the cause of their condition during the EEOICPA application process.
Hurt at Work? Get a Free Review with Ohio Workers Compensation Lawyers
All injured workers deserve compensation so that they can heal without worrying about their financial future. However, different workers compensation laws apply to different industries. This can then make filing a claim confusing. At Larrimer & Larrimer LLC, our team is committed to helping Ohio workers after a workplace accident. For us, that means staying informed about the latest workers comp regulations and opportunities for compensation.
If you sustained injuries on the job in any Ohio industry, then our workers compensation lawyers can give you legal advice about your work injury claim. We have offices throughout Ohio, including Columbus, Zanesville, Newark, Shadyside, Lima and Portsmouth. Contact us online, or call any of our local offices to schedule a free initial consultation today.