Depending on the type of work a person performs, it’s entirely possible that an employee could be injured on the job more than once. Many clients wonder if they’re allowed to file for workers’ compensation benefits more than once, whether at the same job or different jobs.
The short answer is yes. Ohio workers’ compensation laws provide that a worker injured on the job is entitled to benefits, no matter how many times they’ve been injured before. Whether you work in a dangerous profession, or you’re just unlucky, a prior claim should not stop you from filing for benefits. As long as you have legitimate injuries recognized under Ohio law, you’re entitled to receive benefits under the workers’ compensation system.
Can I Have More Than One Open Claim at Once?
Generally, yes. It’s entirely possible that a worker could be injured on the job in one manner, return to work, and then suffer a subsequent injury. It’s also common to see injured workers return to the job before they’re completely healed – only to re-injure themselves worse the next time.
Generally, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) will issue separate claim numbers for separate injuries. However, it can become more complicated if a worker merely sustains an aggravation of a prior injury to the same body part. Depending on the circumstances of the aggravation, a new claim number may be issued or an injured worker may seek to re-open an old claim. It can be confusing to know which route to take. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
What if the Subsequent Injuries Happen Off Duty?
Sometimes an employee exacerbates their existing work-related injuries while off duty, resulting in further injury. What happens then? While the facts depend on your specific case, the BWC will almost certainly conduct a full investigation. The BWC might determine that the subsequent injury was just a continuation of the prior work-related injury. Other times the BWC might determine that the subsequent injury is an intervening event, completely unrelated to the prior claim; thus preventing an injured worker from receiving benefits under the workers’ compensation system.
With such a complicated system, it’s crucial that you have a skilled workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Call Dworken & Bernstein for a consultation today. We can help you understand your options and fight for the benefits you deserve.