What Does Ohio Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?

According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, “Ohio law requires employers with one or more employees to obtain workers’ compensation coverage or be granted the privilege of self-insurance for liabilities associated with work-related accidents or occupational diseases.”

“Employers” include private companies, schools, healthcare facilities, state and local government agencies, and employment agencies. Individuals who are self-employed can also carry a workers’ comp policy on just themselves. This can make sense for people who do general contracting like carpentry or plumbing, as well as people who spend a lot of time driving to meet clients and customers. The risk for suffering an injury that keeps a self-employed person from working should drive the decision to carry workers’ compensation coverage.

Most employers purchase coverage through the Ohio State Insurance Fund, but some can qualify to be self-insured. A self-insured employer must prove each year that it can provide the same level of coverage for injured or ill employees that the workers’ comp plan offered by the state does.

Employers pay the premiums for Ohio workers’ compensation coverage, and an individual who suffers a work-related injury or who develops an occupational illness can apply for the following benefits:

  • Payment of medical and therapy bills related to the coverable injury or illness
  • Replacement of wages at up to two-thirds of their regular pay for the time spent off the job recovering
  • Lump-sum payments for specified injuries such as an amputation, loss of an eye or permanent hearing loss
  • Financial support for retraining or wage supplements for taking a lower-paying job after becoming able to work again

Coverage is available on a no-fault basis, meaning the injured or ill employee does not need to show that their employer or some other party was negligent in any way. Coverage is also available for any medically documented injury or illness that is work-related. Employers and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation can challenge whether an injury or illness is work-related. Also, coverage can be denied if evidence exists to show that the condition was self-inflicted or incurred while the employee was intoxicated.

Most people who qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio will have their medical bills paid and their lost wages replaced. Consulting with a knowledgeable and experienced Columbus workers’ comp attorney will make it clear whether applying for additional types of coverage is justified.

A final thing to know about Ohio workers’ compensation coverage is that it can provide compensation and coverage for long and short-term injuries. However, certain long-term disability issues are best covered by another program like Social Security, a pension plan or a private insurance policy. You should contact an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney to discuss which is better for you. Attorneys with Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP, are available to answer all your questions regarding workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio, You can call our Columbus offices at (614) 221-4221 or schedule a free consultation online.

What Types of Damages Can I Claim in an Ohio Personal Injury Lawsuit?

The laws of Ohio allow a personal injury victim to seek multiple forms of compensation from the person or organization that injured them. The rules for seeking monetary damages apply to all types of personal injury cases, such as

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Motorcycle and scooter accidents
  • Pedestrian and bike crashes
  • Bus and train wrecks
  • Slips and falls
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dog bites and animal attacks
  • Electric shocks
  • Drownings
  • Dangerous and defective products
  • Assaults, which are also called intentional torts

People who have grounds for filing personal injury lawsuits can seek compensatory damages for economic losses and noneconomic damages. Depending on the circumstances, a victim may also be able to seek punitive damages.

Usually, a person hurt on the job can only recover for their injuries through the Ohio workers’ compensation system. However, if the injuries were caused by a third-party, the injured party may also have a negligence claim against that third-party. Consulting with an attorney who has experience handling workers’ comp claims and personal injury lawsuit will clarify whether pursing both legal options makes sense.

Explaining Compensatory Damages

Economic damages, which are also called compensatory damages, reflect the direct cost of recovering from an injury inflicted by another party’s negligence or recklessness. Items that Ohio law treats as economic damages include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Past and future medical bills for emergency care, surgeries, prescription medications, and therapy;
  • Loss of wages and future earning from time missed at work and a persistent disability;
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for goods and services related to recovering from the injury; and
  • Travel and relocation expenses related to seeking health care or making changes to where and how one lives.

Ohio does not impose a cap on economic damage settlements or jury awards.

Noneconomic damages, which are also called general damages for a personal injury, reflect the toll that an injury takes in terms of:

  • Physical pain and suffering,
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress, and
  • Loss of companionship

Except in cases involving catastrophic injuries, Ohio law imposes a cap on noneconomic damages to an individual that is the greater of $250,000 or three times the total of the economic damages. By statute—section 2315.18 of the Ohio Revised Code, specifically—a catastrophic injury is one that leaves the victim suffering a “permanent and substantial physical deformity, loss of use of a limb, or loss of a bodily organ system” or which “permanently prevents the injured person from being able to independently care for self and perform life-sustaining activities.”

Explaining Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are noncriminal monetary penalties assessed against the person or organization that inflicted an injury. They are also called exemplary damages because they are meant to serve as an example of the price to be paid for acting without regard to others’ health, safety, and well-being.

Although punitive damages are not awarded in every case, when they are they are subject to caps as well. In Ohio, punitive damages are capped at twice the value of compensatory damages. If the defendant is an individual or a small employer, however, that cap is limited to 10% of their net worth, up to a maximum of $350,000.

What About Attorneys’ Fees?

Generally, a personal injury lawyer will take a percentage of the final settlement or court award as payment for services. If no recovery is made, there is no attorney fee. Attorneys with Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP, advise and represent plaintiffs in all types of personal injury cases throughout Ohio. We offer free consultations to potential clients, and we work hard to maximize recoveries of specific and general damages for personal injury victims. Call us at (614) 221-4221 or schedule an appointment online to learn what we can do for you.

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