Workers’ compensation injury claims are all unique in some respect. Workplace injuries can happen in a wide array of situations. It can be the result of a sudden mishap, like a slip and fall or lifting a heavy object; it can be from repetitive work activities; or the injury can actually be the result of exposures to fumes, gases, smoke, or dust that results in an “occupational disease.” When workplace injuries or occupational diseases do happen, the level of injury is not always severe.
It is flawed thinking to believe you must wait for the injury to become severe before reporting it to the employer and the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
In fact, waiting too long to report the injury or occupational disease may result in the claim eventually being denied. There are statutes of limitation for filing claims.
It is one year for an injury claim (or death), and two years for an occupational disease claim.
The belief that an injury must be serious before it is reported, or a claim is filed, often causes valid claims to be denied. More often than not, an injured worker believes that an injury at work was “not that bad” and that it will go away with a little time.
In those cases, the injured worker either keeps working in pain or uses his or her private health insurance to visit their family doctor. Those facts are often “turned around” on the injured worker by the employer and the Ohio BWC.
The argument goes:
“If he believed it was a work injury, he would have reported it and NOT seen his own family doctor; he would have reported it when it happened, and he would have gone to see a workers’ compensation doctor.”
The point is that if an injury occurs at work, it needs to be reported to the employer and BWC immediately, even if you don’t pursue the claim at that time. It is ok to see a doctor a few days or weeks after an incident, as long as the incident at work has been reported.
When the injured worker goes to see a doctor, he or she needs to see a “workers’ compensation” doctor and specifically tell the doctor that the injury did, in fact, happen on the job and provide details of how the injury occurred. The doctor will write that information in the chart notes, and those chart notes will help the injured worker when a hearing becomes necessary to prove the claim.
Also, injuries that may start out as appearing minor could become more serious. For instance, an initial diagnosis of an injury might be identified as a strain, yet, when advanced testing such an MRI is performed, it could reveal more serious damage. Those more serious conditions can be added to the claim as either having been caused for the workplace incident or, if they were pre-existing, having been “substantially aggravated” by the workplace incident.
Contact an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Never assume you do not have a workers’ comp claim from a perceived minor workplace injury. Your injury may be more valuable from a workers’ compensation standpoint that you may realize, and you should never have to suffer a lesser version of your life because of it.
Ohio workers should always call (614) 344-6822 Charles Zamora for aggressive and comprehensive representation.