Most Workers Who Have Been Injured on the Job Find the Workers’ Compensation Process Overwhelming. With Our Extensive Experience, Dworken & Bernstein is Here to Navigate Injured Workers Through the System. Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help You When You Need it the Most

Filing a Claim

After an injury on the job or a workplace exposure, a worker can file an application with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (“BWC”) to start a claim. A doctor, emergency room, an employer or an attorney can also file the paperwork on behalf of the injured worker. A spouse of a deceased worker can also file an application to start a claim for death benefits.

Ohio has deadlines by which a claim must be filed. Due to strict time limits, it is helpful for workers to consult an attorney as soon as possible to make sure they do not miss a filing deadline.

The application for a new claim requires the worker’s contact information, employer name and address, a description of injury and listing of body parts injured. Further, when filing a claim, medical records documenting an injury and diagnosis are important in order to fully support the claim application. Supporting evidence is critical, as an application without it will be denied by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. If the BWC initially denies a claim, the “ball starts rolling” in the process and the injured worker must actively take steps to protect his/her rights. As such, it is important to consult an attorney early in the process to ensure that the BWC has all information and documents needed.

Initial Processing at the BWC

The BWC plays a key role during the life of a workers’ compensation claim. Among other responsibilities, it makes initial decisions on claims and medical diagnoses, payments, and treatment approval.

The BWC is in place to process claims and determine whether benefits should be approved and paid through the workers’ compensation fund.

When a claim is filed, the BWC initially processes the claim by notifying all parties; receiving medical records, wages and witness statements; and evaluating whether the medical records on file support a work injury.

Ultimately, a representative at the BWC makes an initial determination on whether a claim should be approved. The BWC can either issue a decision that approves or denies a claim, or it can refer the claim to the Industrial Commission of Ohio, which is a state agency that conducts workers’ compensation hearings.

Hearing Process

If the BWC’s initial decision regarding a claim is contested by the employer or injured worker or if the BWC refers the claim to the Industrial Commission for further determination, a workers’ compensation hearing is held.

The Industrial Commission will send a notice of hearing to all parties to notify of the hearing date, time and issue at hearing.  Although an injured worker can attend a hearing without an attorney, it would be best to consult an attorney prior to attending any hearing.

During a hearing, the Hearing Officer listens to arguments from both parties. Further, an attorney from the BWC can attend as well and make statements in support of the BWC’s determination. Some decisions take longer, but the Industrial Commission usually issues a decision within about 7-10 days. As the hearing decision contains legal findings and has a short deadline in which a party can contest the decision, it is best for an attorney to review the decision on your behalf.

Dworken & Bernstein’s Workers’ Compensation Department

For someone who does not have experience with Ohio Workers’ Compensation, the claim process can be intimidating and confusing. Further, trying to figure out the system while being injured can be more than a worker wants to take on alone. Dworken & Bernstein believes that our clients should be more focused about getting better and back to work instead of trying to handle their claim or the system by themselves.

Dworken & Bernstein’s workers’ compensation department is comprised of attorneys with extensive experience in all aspects of workers’ compensation law. If you have questions about any level of the claims process, call us for an initial consult to discuss your situation and options.

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