Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
By Barbara Kate Repa for NOLO.com
Find out how – and where – to file for workers’ comp.
If you’ve been injured or become ill at work, you may need to file for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation pays for medical care, rehabilitation, and some wage replacement if you have to miss work. To get these benefits, you must file a claim and follow your state’s procedures carefully.
Filing a Claim
Get immediate medical care if your injury requires it. You must then inform your employer of your injury as soon as possible. This is a tricky part of processing a workers’ comp claim since states have wildly different limits on the number of days you have to notify your employer; in most states, the limit is one month, but the range is from a few days to two years.
In the unlikely event that your employer refuses to cooperate with you in filing a workers’ compensation claim, a call to your local workers’ compensation office will usually remedy the situation.
Typically, your employer will have claim forms for you to fill out and submit or can obtain a form quickly. It then becomes your employer’s responsibility to submit the paperwork to the proper insurance carrier. Depending on state law, you—rather than your employer—may need to file a separate claim with your state’s workers’ compensation agency. There is a time limit on this, too—often a year after injury. But your state may have a shorter limit.
If your claim is not disputed by your employer or its insurance carrier, it will be approved and an adjuster for the insurance company will typically contact you or your employer with instructions on how to submit your medical bills for payment. But be prepared; things do not always go smoothly. The employer, in an attempt to keep workers’ comp rates from skyrocketing, may fight your right to benefits. The best way you can counteract such disputes is by producing good documentation, including complete medical records, of your injury and treatment.
If your injury is not permanent and does not cause you to lose income, getting payment for your medical bills will probably be the extent of your claim; there won’t be much else for you to do. If you are temporarily unable to work because of your injury, you will also begin receiving checks to cover your wage loss—typically within a week or two after your claim is approved. Your employer will notify the insurance company to stop sending you wage-replacement checks as soon as you recover and return to work.
Ohio Workers’ Compensation Office
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
30 W. Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215