Far too often people come to us for help on their Workers’ Compensation cases because they have been provided erroneous information by their employers. The frequency with which the corporate lines are repeated to these prospective clients can’t help but to give rise to a suspicion that there is a deliberate intent on the part of certain employers to capitalize on the injured worker’s lack of understanding of his/her rights. Whether unintended or deliberate, the end result of this misinformation is that without accurate information many people sacrifice valued rights and protections and suffer physically, emotionally, and economically unnecessarily.
In an effort to make certain that there are no misunderstandings about injured workers’ rights, the following are a few often cited myths and the truthful answers to the question.
1. THE LIE – You cannot file a Workers’ Compensation claim because you cannot prove there was an accident on the job. THE TRUTH – Coverage for a workers’ compensation injury may be had by demonstrating a specific accidental occurrence as the cause of the disability or by demonstrating that the disability is a result of cumulative trauma or wear and tear from the workplace. (Village v. General Motors).
2. THE LIE -You cannot file a claim because you did not report the injury within 24 or 48 hours per company policy. THE TRUTH – The law gives you two (2) years from the date of injury to file your claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation or the Industrial Commission of Ohio. Company policy cannot change your rights under the law. ORC 4123.84.
3. THE LIE – You cannot file a claim for an injury if your condition was pre-existing. THE TRUTH – Under Ohio law, an injury which substantially aggravates a pre-existing condition is fully coverable. ORC 4123.54(G).
4. THE LIE – You must treat with a doctor selected for you by your employer, the managed care organization, or BWC. THE TRUTH – You have the right to treat for your injuries with a physician of you own choosing and the only restriction or limitation on that right is that the physician you select must be BWC certified. OAC 4123-6-06.2.
Valued rights, benefits, and protections can be lost if the injured worker doesn’t know and understand his/her rights. When in doubt, please seek advice from someone who is qualified and who is motivated to protect your interests.