It is almost once a week that I meet with a new client who has suffered a workers compensation injury and is told by the employer that he/she can’t file a claim because they did not complete an accident/incident report within 24 hours of the injury. This is a blatant lie! Oftentimes, people will have injuries while doing there jobs (either a specific incident or repetitive trauma injuries) and will not report the injury to the employer. Sometimes, they do not report it immediately because they think it is just a pulled muscle and will get better with rest and unfortunately, it only worsens. Other times, they are unaware that the problem is caused by their job until they seek medical treatment and talk to a physician.
Under Ohio law you have 2 years from the date of an injury to file a workers compensation claim. While you should always file an incident report if you can, not filing one immediately is not a fatal flaw. It is, however, important that you seek medical treatment if the condition is not improving and tell your medical provider exactly what happened and when so that they can provide a good record for consideration.
Another blatant lie is that you, as the employee, must go to a specific place for treatment if you are injured at work. Oftentimes it is the employer’s handpicked occupational health facility. You have the right to treat with a physician of your choice as long as they are BWC certified. While the employer may require a drug test to be done at a certain facility, they can not tell you that you must treat with a certain facility or doctor for a work related injury. Additionally, even if you start out treating with the employer’s preferred facility, you can change physicians at any time as long as you complete a change of physician form (BWC form C-23).
It is important for you to know your rights under the workers compensation system and not rely only on your employer to give you the information. Our workers’ compensation attorneys would be happy to meet with you about your rights at any time.