In general, if you are hurt on the job, workers compensation is the money you receive to help pay your medical bills and other expenses while you recover. However, different laws regulate benefits for different industries. Depending on where you work and what you do, you may be entitled to different compensation than other workers. Below, our Columbus workers compensation lawyers explain the most common Ohio workers comp laws that apply to injured workers.
Larrimer & Larrimer LLC has offered guidance and assistance to injured Ohio workers for nearly 90 years. We have seen Ohio 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.
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 Ohio workers compensation 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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 and Portsmouth. Contact us online, or call any of our local offices to schedule a free initial consultation today.
“I am very blessed to have found this firm. They have made sure that I have received all the compensation possible related to my claim. This is the firm I would recommend to my own family members and anyone else in need of legal representation due to work related injuries.”
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