Typing “average workers’ compensation settlement for a back injury in Ohio” into Google or another search engine will return a few dollar amounts. However, the numbers are unlikely to be very accurate for an Ohioan who suffered a back injury on the job.
The reality is that many factors go into determining what constitutes a fair and acceptable settlement amount. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the injured worker will have to ask and answer some questions, including:
- How much has treatment and therapy for the back injury cost to date?
- How long will the injury and its symptoms require treatment and therapy?
- How much will ongoing treatment and therapy cost?
- How long did the worker spend off the job while recovering?
- Has the worker been medically cleared to return to their job?
- Has the worker already resumed working?
- Are any replacement wages still due?
- Is any lump sum settlement for an amputation, loss of use, or some other permanent injury due?
- Is the injury so serious that returning to work seems unlikely and that disability benefits from Social Security or the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System are possible?
A workers’ compensation claim can be settled at any time, even before the claim is allowed. However, an employer cannot force its employee to settle a claim. Nor can an employer retaliate against a worker who reports an on-the-job injury.
The injured worker has an undeniable legal right to seek the advice of an experienced and knowledge employee rights attorney while considering these questions. But the final decision on whether to accept a settlement offer from the workers’ compensation program rests entirely with the individual.
One More Consideration
A related issue will be whether the person who suffered a back injury on the job could have grounds for filing a personal injury claim against a party other than their employer. What lawyers call third-party claims can be filed against those other than co-workers whose negligence causes an injury such as drivers who crash into company vehicles, makers of defective tools, and contractors who failed to comply with electrical and building codes.
A settlement of the workers’ compensation claim will not affect an injured employee’s right to pursue a third-party claim. However, knowing that a personal injury settlement or jury award is possible could influence an individual’s willingness to conclude their dealings with, and reliance on, workers’ compensation for the payment of medical and therapy bills.
A third-party claim arising from a work-related injury has the same burden of proof as any other personal injury case. To succeed in securing a settlement or winning jury award, the injured person must produce evidence that the defendant’s negligence caused their injury resulting in damages. In the third-party claim, the damages include pain and suffering which are not available in the workers’ compensation claim.
Attorneys with Barkan Meizlish DeRose Cox, LLP, are available to help with Ohio workers’ compensation and personal injury cases in Columbus and across the state. You can schedule a free consultation online of speak with a lawyer directly by calling (614) 221-4221.