How Long does Workmans' Comp Last?
Injured workers in Ohio may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. How long does workers comp last? Depending on the injury, workers comp can last anywhere from one week to the rest of a person's working life. The exact duration of payments comes down to the insurance company, the injured worker, their employer, and the medical practitioner.
What Are Workers' Compensation Benefits?
A workers' compensation insurance company provides cover for several expenses. In short, any cost or reduction of income that directly results from the work-related injury or illness can be covered by a workers' compensation insurance company. Some of the potential expenses that a person can claim include:
Wage loss benefits
Medical bills relating to the injury
Other medical benefits include medical care for long-term disabilities
Cost of mileage and transport to and from hospital
Living maintenance (limited to six months)
If the injury results in death, some workers' compensation policies in Ohio may also cover funeral expenses. It is best to speak directly with experienced workers' compensation lawyers in Columbus in this case.
The way workers' compensation is calculated also varies from case to case, based on several factors. You can find more information provided below.
IMPORTANT: Injured workers must ensure that they report the injury to their employer immediately and tell the first doctor they see for treatment that the injury or illness is work-related. They then must ensure the doctor files the relevant report with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. If this process is not followed, they may miss out on benefits altogether.
How Long Can I Claim Workers Compensation Benefits?
Under Ohio law, a person can claim workers comp benefits until one of the following three criteria is met:
They are fit and able to return to work in their previous position or in a new role that they are reasonably able to perform within their current ability.
Their doctor declares that their condition cannot improve further with medical care or treatment. It is known as maximum medical improvement and essentially ends workers comp based on the fact the injury cannot recover further, and the person can likely never be able to resume their role.
The compensation time reaches 200 weeks. That is the maximum amount of time a person can claim workers comp in Ohio, regardless of the injury. If it is considered not to be enough compensation, that is where a personal injury claim comes into play.
Conditions of Workers Comp Benefits in Ohio
To receive workers' compensation benefits in Ohio, certain conditions determine what a person is eligible for. A workers' compensation insurer looks at the following elements to determine the amount of compensation payable.
Days of Work Missed
A person does not receive workers' compensation benefits for the first week of missed work unless signed off for at least two weeks straight. If they are excused by a doctor for more than 14 days, they should receive benefits for the entire time missing, including the first seven days. Miss only 11 days, for example, and only four days are covered.
The calculation of workers comp also changes depending on how many days of work are missed. In Ohio, the system is as follows:
In the first 12 weeks, benefits paid should total 72% of the pre-injury wage of the employee. The maximum payment cannot exceed the SAWW (State Average Weekly Wage) of the injured party's take-home wage from before they were injured.
After 12 weeks, the benefits are adjusted to equal 66% (two-thirds) of the person's pre-injury wage, as long as the amount does not exceed the SAWW.
Additional to the wage loss benefits calculations stated above, a person is also entitled to workers' compensation if they cannot continue their previous job and have to take work that pays less. In this case, some of the difference is paid to the claimant. In Ohio, the rate is two-thirds of the difference between pre and post-injury wages.
Take a person who earned $1000 each week before their injury. Perhaps it was a physical, labor-heavy job they can no longer manage. Their company gives them a job in another department, but the wage is now $700 per week. That means there is a difference of $300, which means they receive benefits of $200 each week on top of their current wage.
The time frame of this type of lost wages benefit is usually up to 200 weeks if working for the same employer. An exception is if a person needs to take time to find a new job that is suitable for their disability. 52 weeks are given, for which time the lost income comp is applicable. Once they find work, half of the time taken is added to the maximum, bringing the total to 226 weeks at most.
The Severity of Injury or Illness
If an injury caused at work means a person has a permanent total disability (more details below), there are further benefits and compensations available on a case-by-case basis. In most instances, if a person suffers a life-altering injury, they must pursue a personal injury claim if they feel that workers' compensation maximum benefits do not suffice.
Medical Treatment and Regular Examinations
An injured worker must submit to a regular medical exam for prolonged entitlement to benefits. It is essential to visit a doctor for a prognosis to assess eligibility to return to work and the likelihood of recovery.
The types of medical treatments people receive may play a role, but what matters most is the opinion of the doctor on the future of an injury and the injured worker's chance of returning to their previous role.
What Is Maximum Medical Improvement and How Does It Affect Workers Comp?
A person is deemed to have reached maximum medical improvement if a doctor believes there is possible further improvement. If they decide a person has a permanent injury that can not get any better with reasonable medical care, this is called MMI.
Under the Ohio workers comp system, the person can no longer claim these benefits and must pursue other avenues. If, for example, the doctors state that a partial disability can not lessen in severity, the affected party can sue for personal injury.
Types of Workers Compensation Benefits
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary total disability benefits essentially mean that a person is unable to work from a debilitating injury but is expected to make a complete recovery. Standard workers' compensation falls into this category and is awarded after 14 days of absence from work.
People suffering from a coccyx injury who need to take time off may fall under this category.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
Similar to TTD benefits, temporary partial disability benefits apply to injuries that need time to recover but should one day heal entirely.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent total disability (PTD) benefits apply if, after the 200 weeks maximum benefit time, a person is classed as permanently disabled. On the disability rating scale, total disability benefits apply to anyone with full paralysis, partial paralysis, blindness, brain damage, or any other permanent injury that significantly alters a person's quality of life.
Permanent disability benefits through workers' compensation are awarded to anyone who cannot sustain long-term gainful employment because of their injuries. If this is found to be the case, the weekly payments continue for the rest of the person's life, or until retirement age, depending on the case.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Permanent partial disability benefits may apply to someone whose injuries can never recover but do not completely restrict their ability to work. Say, for example, a person loses the use of one limb through nerve damage, but they can work, they could continue to claim benefits past the 200 weeks. These cases are more complicated and must be discussed with an attorney.
If a worker dies because of an accident, Ohio benefit law states that the workers' compensation insurance company may be liable for survivor's benefit payments. These go to the dependents of the deceased. It is not a replacement for a wrongful death claim, but it can help to provide relief for lost income.
How Can Larrimer & Larrimer Help Your Workers Comp Case?
Larrimer & Larrimer has been a leading workers compensation law firm for almost a century. Few attorneys can offer the same level of experience and first-hand knowledge as this team. Anyone injured at work or re-injured after returning to work and who believes they have a claim may not know where to start. One call to Larrimer & Larrimer, and the path becomes clear.
Over the years, these attorneys have helped countless injured workers and their families get the support and compensation they deserve. Their in-depth knowledge of state law, rules, and regulations is a valuable asset to have on the side when pursuing a claim.
Contact the Team Today
If you have a workers compensation claim, contact the expert team at Larrimer & Larrimer today. Call the number on our website to arrange a free consultation and get the ball rolling. We fight for you, and you can trust us to get the best possible outcome.