Understanding The Full Benefits of Workers' Compensation
Understanding The Full Benefits of Workers' Compensation
Workers' compensation provides for employees who are injured or becoming ill while carrying out their job duties. What makes Ohio's program different from workers' compensation in most states is the state covers it rather than private companies.

Most Businesses operating within the state that has more than one employee must maintain this coverage to ensure workers are protected in the event of an illness or injury. What should employees know about this program? 

What Does the Program Cover? 

Individuals who are injured or become ill while on the job want to know what this program will cover. Will it help with their medical bills? Will they receive a paycheck during the time they are unable to work? What other expenses might be covered under this program? 

Anyone who is entitled to worker's compensation will find medical bills related to the accident or injury are covered. In addition, they may receive compensation for wages lost as a result of the incident or funeral costs if the worker lost their life while on the job. 

Types of Benefits

Workers must understand the program offers different benefits, and the benefits they may be entitled to vary by the worker and the nature of the incident. The worker might find they need to contact an attorney for help in securing the compensation they are entitled to under the law.

Temporary total (TT) compensation provides funds to workers who are temporarily disabled because of an occupational injury or disease. If the injury or disease results in permanent damage, the worker will receive permanent partial compensation. 

Percent of permanent partial compensation is provided to a worker who sustains an injury if that injury results in lasting effects or permanent damage, such as when the worker breaks an arm and it will no longer extend fully.

Permanent total disability compensation, in contrast, compensates the worker when they cannot perform sustained remunerative employment because they were injured on the job. This type of compensation is provided when the worker can no longer perform the same job they did before the injury.

These are only a few of the many types of compensation a worker might receive. Other types include wage loss compensation, change of occupation compensation, and compensation for travel expenses for medical appointments. Many workers choose to hire an attorney to ensure they receive all the compensation they deserve.

Who Isn't Covered?

In certain situations, workers' compensation insurance coverage isn't required. Employers who have no employees aren't required to maintain this coverage. For example, sole proprietors and family farm corporate officers don't need to purchase this protection. The same is true of limited liability companies that function as sole proprietors or partnerships. 

Most domestic workers find they aren't covered by workers' compensation. The same holds for those who volunteer and make less than $160 in a quarter. If a person is not covered by workers' compensation, they are responsible for any bills associated with an illness or injury on the job. 

Claim Deadlines

Report any injury or illness to the employer immediately. The employee or employer must file a First Report of Injury within two years of the date of the illness or injury. Failing to do so could mean the employee will not receive any benefits. 

How Much Should the Affected Employee Receive in Benefits?

Most workers' compensation claims fall under the Temporary Total Disability (TTD) category. The worker will return to work once they recover from the illness or injury suffered on the job. If it is determined the claim is valid, all medical costs related to the illness or injury will be paid.

During the 12-week period following the injury or illness, the worker receives 72 percent of the pay they made at the time they became unable to work. Following this 12-week period, the employer must pay them 66 percent of their pre-injury wage. 

The state does cap the amount that must be paid. The employer will not be required to pay more than the statewide average weekly wage if this is less than the worker's take-home pay prior to the injury. When the statewide average is more than the employee was bringing home prior to the injury or illness, the benefit will be capped at the pay they were making at that time. 

The minimum an employer can pay in temporary disability benefits is 33 percent of the statewide average weekly wage or the employee's actual wages. The state determined the minimum benefit for TTD benefits is $316 and the maximum benefit is $980, as of 2020.

However, a person who made less than that amount would receive the amount of their wages. They wouldn't receive a pay raise by filing for workers' compensation. 

What Injuries and Illnesses Does Workers' Compensation Cover?

Ohio's workers' compensation program covers most injuries and illnesses sustained on the job. This includes traumatic injuries, such as those incurred during a fall, and concussions. Knee and ankle or lower back injuries qualify for compensation under this program, as do broken bones. 

If a person suffers a concussion while on the job, they will be eligible for benefits. The same holds when they suffer a muscle, ligament, or tendon injury. Any injury that happens while on the job should immediately be reported to the employer.

However, a person may become ill while on the job. They may develop a respiratory illness or be diagnosed with cancer as a result of exposure to toxins while working. Infections have been reported, along with neurological disorders.

When a person receives a diagnosis of a major medical condition and believes it may be related to their work duties, they should report it to their employer and speak to an attorney. The attorney will help them determine how to proceed with a workers' compensation claim. 

Every worker should remain protected while on the job. If an employer fails to provide this protection, they need to be held liable. Workers' compensation insurance helps the employee during their time of need. For this reason, anyone who sustains an injury or becomes ill while carrying out their job duties should alert the employer immediately and begin the process of filing a workers' compensation claim.