Personal Injury Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, Discusses Disability and Workplace Injuries
Getting hurt or sick on the job can end your career and make returning to work of any kind impossible. Government disability programs and insurance policies exist to ensure injured workers receive necessary medical care, rehabilitative services, and supplemental income, but no one automatically qualifies for benefits or settlements. Navigating Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation or the U.S. Social Security program is so difficult that it often prevents and limits payouts. That is even more true for plans and programs that cover special categories of workers such as government employees, teachers, and school support personnel.
Clearing the seemingly arbitrary and insurmountable obstacles to receiving the financial support needed to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally from a workplace injury usually requires assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer with Leist Warner. Initial denials of applications, tight deadlines for filing appeals, demands for extensive amounts of new evidence, and trips to court are standard. No hurt or ill person should travel this gauntlet alone without a knowledgeable guide and legal champion.
Know Where to Look and Prepare for a Tough Fight
Most businesses in Ohio are required to pay into a workers’ compensation fund, and the majority of workers have Social Security contributions withheld from each paycheck. In many ways, those monies constitute insurance premiums for individuals who get injured or fall ill on the job. Therefore, the first call or email to make after suffering a workplace injury or job-related disease should be to an attorney at Leist Warner who will help you navigate the maze of organizations that may require notification, including such organizations as:
- Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
- Local Social Security Office
- Ohio Public Employee Retirement System
- State Teachers Retirement System
- School Employees Retirement System
- Human resources staff
- Union organizations
Explaining the differences among each program’s application, review, decision-making, and appeals process is beyond the scope of this overview. What each applicant will need to provide, however, is similar. At a minimum, establishing eligibility for disability payments following a workplace injury or work-related disease requires:
- Proof the injury occurred at work and resulted from work-related activities, which can include truck accidents and exposure to smoke and fumes
- Proof that the injury makes performing every aspect of one’s job difficult or impossible
- Proof that medical treatment was received
- Proof that a program of rehabilitation designed to allow return to work was undertaken
- Proof of pre-injury income and post-injury earning potential
- Documentation of current and future expenses
- Submission of various program-specific forms
- Undergoing physical and mental assessments by health professionals chosen by the program
- Completing a review by one or more levels of decision makers
The application and review process usually cannot begin until an injured or sick worker leaves the hospital. Programs can take months to review new applications, and an initial appeal typically must be filed within 30 days. Subsequent appeals can stretch over additional months, and a court case involving the disability program can take a year or more to reach a resolution.
Do Not Expect to Sue an Employer
Going through the onerous process outlined above is necessary because Ohio makes it very difficult for an injured or sick worker to hold an employer directly accountable for accidents on the job. A state law and a series of decisions from the Ohio Supreme Court essentially exempt businesses from being held liable for workplace injuries, except in cases that can be deemed intentional torts. Attorneys at Leist Warner can help you determine whether your case must proceed through Ohio’s worker’s compensation program or if it qualifies as an intentional tort in which you may be able to directly sue the employer.
Another recourse an injured worker may have is filing a product liability lawsuit against the company that manufactured the equipment that caused the injury. Pursing such an option is not necessarily easier than dealing with workers’ comp or Social Security, but holding a company accountable for making and selling a defective or dangerous product can provide a sense of justice and some much-needed financial peace of mind. Attorneys at Leist Warner can also help you determine whether you have a potential product liability claim related to your injury.
Speak With a Columbus, Ohio, Personal Injury Attorney
A lawyer at Leist Warner can file an application on an injured or sick person’s behalf, determine whether an injured or sick person has a potential intentional tort claim and evaluate whether a potential product liability claim exists. The point when having a Leist Warner attorney in one’s corner becomes necessary is immediately after the injury causing incident. Additionally if you have already filed a claim for worker’s compensation and have been denied benefits, it is essential to immediately contact an attorney at Leist Warner. The appeals clock start ticking immediately, and an applicant has little time to waste on figuring out what kind of evidence is needed to have the denial reversed.
If you or a family member has been unjustly denied workers’ compensation, Social Security, or other disability benefits after a workplace injury, do not hesitate to contact a Columbus personal injury attorney with Leist Warner to request a no-cost case evaluation. We cannot take every client, and we never guarantee positive outcomes, but our legal team can provide the answers you need to take on a system that seems designed more to frustrate you than help you. Our phone number is (614) 222-1000, and you can also share your story by filling out this form.