You are legally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits whenever you are hurt in an on-the-job accident. However, if you file multiple workers’ compensation claims over the course of your career, you may need an attorney’s services to protect your right to benefits. Often, insurance companies will use records from previous injuries to dispute the validity of a new claim for benefits.
There Is No Limit to the Number of Claims You Can File
While no job is without risk, there’s no doubt that certain occupations are more dangerous than others. For example, workers in the following professions typically have injury rates that exceed the national average:
- Farmers and ranchers
- Truck drivers and delivery drivers
- Logging workers
- Iron and steelworkers
- Landscapers and groundskeepers
- Refuse and recyclable materials collectors
- Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
Workers in dangerous occupations are performing tasks that are vital to the well-being of our society as a whole. The law recognizes that they should not be penalized for injuries that occur during the course of their employment. Thus, there is no limit to the number of workers’ compensation claims you can file in Ohio. In fact, it is not uncommon for workers in dangerous professions to file multiple claims throughout their careers. Claims for slips, trips, and falls are the most common, followed by claims for injuries related to overexertion.
It is against the law for your employer to retaliate against you for filing an Ohio workers’ compensation claim. If your employer is harassing you, demoting you, passing you over for a promotion, or changing your job duties and schedule in a punitive way, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
Each Claim Must Be Evaluated Separately
The law requires that each workers’ compensation claim be evaluated on its own merit. This means you should receive benefits as long as you are a covered employee and your injury was not caused by drug or alcohol use, fighting, violating company policy, or making a deliberate attempt at self-harm. You will be entitled to benefits covering the cost of your medical care as well as partial wage replacement.
Unfortunately, a worker’s compensation insurer may attempt to deny benefits by claiming your injury is not work-related. Because the law allows a company to deny coverage for natural deterioration of a pre-existing condition, they may argue that your injury should be attributed to one of your past workers’ compensation claims. For example, if your first claim was for a back injury after a fall and your second claim was for a back injury related to an on-the-job car accident, the insurance company might attempt to use records from your first claim to argue that your new injury is a pre-existing condition.
Another possible complication might occur if you need to make a second workers’ compensation claim before you’ve fully healed from your first injury. For example, imagine you suffered a torn rotator cuff while working for a local landscaping company and decided to seek out less physically demanding employment while continuing treatment. If you had the misfortune of further injuring your shoulder at your new job, it’s possible that the workers’ compensation insurer might argue that your ongoing treatment of the initial injury is evidence that they are not responsible for your current condition.
In both of these situations, a skilled attorney can protect your right to benefits by gathering medical evidence to establish that your injury was caused by your employment duties and demonstrate the necessity of the treatment you’ve received. Your attorney can also advocate for your interests throughout the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) appeals process.
Do You Need to Speak to an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident and are having trouble accessing your workers’ compensation benefits, we encourage you to contact Justice Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help. We welcome your call at 614-543-1320, or we invite you to complete our online contact form at any time.