The process for filing a workers’ compensation claim can be overwhelming, especially when it’s your first time doing so. We havehandled thousands of workers’ compensation cases and thoroughly understand the process, which is why we always recommend getting legal help when you need to file a claim. Even with legal help, it’s still important to understand the overall process when filing so you know what to expect.
Workers’ compensation claims in Ohio are filed with the BWC (Bureau of Workers’ Compensation). When the BWC receives a claim, it is classified as either Medical-only or Lost-time.
- Medical-only – This is for claims where the injured worker missed seven or fewer days of work due to their work-related injury. Usually, the worker can still report to work, but can receive treatment and/or benefits for their injury while doing so.
- Lost-time – This category relates to injuries that cause workers to miss eight or more days of work.
Step 1: Finding the Right Legal Help
To maximize your potential workers’ compensation benefits, we highly recommend getting legal help. The experienced attorneys at our firm have filed thousands of successful cases and deeply understand how to get injured workers the compensation they deserve.
Also, filing a claim on your own can leave you vulnerable to your employer taking advantage of your situation and fighting you with their team of lawyers. This can be very frustrating and difficult for a person with no legal experience to overcome.
Step 2: Notify Your Employer About the Injury that Occurred
Injuries either happen as the result of an accident or gradually over time. If the injury occurs because of an accident, it’s recommended that you notify your employer as soon as possible.The longer an injured employee waits to file a claim and/or notify their employer, the more difficult it can be to receive the full benefit amount. If the injury occurred gradually over time, notify your employer as soon as you start having symptoms and see a medical professional’s opinion.
Step 3: Filing a FROI (First Report of Injury)
After you have notified your employer, you should file a first report of injury (or FROI) with the BWC. This will allow the BWC to document your claim and assign you a claim number. Once your claim number is assigned, the BWC will mail you an identification card. This card should be used similarly to a health insurance card when getting any medical services or treatment regarding your work-related injury.
Step 4: Your BWC Customer Service Specialist
Once your claim is filed with the BWC, you will be assigned a customer service specialist for your case. The CSS will be involved throughout the claim process, including the allowance of your claim, payment of compensation and the issuance of orders.
Step 5: Cooperating with Your BWC Specialist
In order for your claim to be approved, you must cooperate with your BWC specialist in a timely manner. You should be as responsive as possible, whether you’re asked to send in documents or return a phone call.
Again, it’s recommended you have an attorney through this process, even when sending in requested information or scheduling any requested medical tests. Doing so will allow the process to continue at a faster rate. Note that failing to cooperate with the CSS assigned to your claim may result in being denied.
Step 6: The BWC’s Decision
The BWC will use all the information provided to make a decision regarding your claim. After the decision has been made, the employer or injured worker has the right to appeal it within a statutory timeframe. If the decision is appealed, the issue will be decided before the Industrial Commission of Ohio.
While it’s advised to have legal representation from the onset, if your claim has a hearing scheduled, it is especially important to have legal representation focused on your best interests.
Although this is a very high-level overview of the workers’ compensation claim filing process, you can still see how complex things can get. This is especially true if the BWC’s decision is appealed and sent to a hearing.
If you have recently become injured while on the job, contact our office and see if we can help you get the benefits you deserve.