Workers Compensation and Disability Statute of Limitations

by The Bainbridge Firm, LLC | May 26, 2020 | Social Security and Disability Compensation

Workers and military personnel can obtain great benefits to ease their healing process, cover their expenses, and retain the dignity they deserve.

Unfortunately shame, concern for lost wages, fear of your employer, or even just waiting to see how it all turns out can cost you dearly. Don’t let any of these factors deter you from speaking to an attorney and getting your application process started as soon as possible, because some of these applications are subject to a Statute of Limitations.

In plain terms, the Statute of Limitations refers to how long an injured party has to file a claim. It varies whether you are applying for workers compensation, social security disability, or Veteran’s Disability. However, the common factor between them is that failing to act quickly and guided by competent legal counsel can prevent you from obtaining these benefits.

Ohio Workers Compensation Statute of Limitations

workers compensationWorkers compensation insurance in Ohio is only sold through government operated funds, and administered by the Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC). All businesses with at least one employee are required to carry it. Four conditions must be met for a worker to successfully claim Workers Comp: they must be (a) truly an employee—not an independent contractor—and (b) accidentally hurt while attentively following company protocols (c) on the job and (d) the injury is related to their employment. They can receive compensation for medical bills and a portion of their lost income. In Ohio, the employee is not required to prove that the employer caused the injury, but they will not receive money for intangible damages (like pain or suffering) and cannot sue the employer for negligence.

What is the current Statute of Limitations—and why?

As of 2017, the Ohio Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation was lowered to one year for acute injuries and two years for work-related diseases, or six months from the date of a diagnosis of a work-related disease.

Employers will often try to do everything they can to prevent a claim from being filed. As such, they may give an injured employee time off to recuperate, or even “treat” them to paid health insurance. Life gets busy, and before they know it, an injured individual can find that it’s become too late to file a claim. The problem is especially onerous for employees of a company that won’t work harmoniously with Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorneys.

Lawmakers who favored this change will point to the fact that almost two dozen states have a one year statute of limitations for workers compensation claims, and that most cases are filed within a year anyway. The 12-month timeframe also helps businesses eliminate spurious claims or claims that can get bogged down in a legal battle as one side attempts to disprove the other.

What and when you need to get started on your claim—and what documents you need.

As soon as you’ve been injured on the job (whether that’s on site, en route to a work related function, or off-site while working) you need to file a claim.

The claims process begins when you, your employer, or your doctor files a First Report of Injury (or FROI) with the BWC either via mail or online. In addition to filling out the standard information about yourself, you will need to provide a detailed description of the accident or illness in question, and provide a medical diagnosis, supplemented by medical documentation that links necessary treatment to your injury, along with information about the injury or disease and a medical professional’s opinion about the outlook for your recovery.

Keep in mind that this FROI is going to set the tone for the rest of your case, so it’s best to consult with an Ohio workers comp lawyer before filing it. Also keep in mind that the BWC is a state-run insurance agency, and like any insurance agency, they want to maximize the number of premiums they collect, while minimizing how many benefits they award.

What role will the Statute of Limitations play if my claim is denied?

As long as you’ve filed your claim within the statute of limitations, you can appeal your claim if it’s denied. The BWC will provide their decision in writing 28 days after your claim is filed. You will then have 14 days to submit a written request for an appeal either via mail or in person at a BWC office. Be proactive in keeping track of dates, and call if you are wondering when you’ll get the paperwork. As long as your initial claim was filed on time, and you file disputes within the time frame, the Statute of Limitations will not play a role in the denial of your claim.

How can Ohio Workers Compensation attorneys help?

Work with an attorney before filing your claim or having it filed for you with the BWC, an entity for helping Ohio employers by keeping their costs down (and not for protecting employees). Moreover, with the Statute of Limitations lowered to one year (for injuries) it’s important to make sure life doesn’t carry you away from filing your claim before it’s too late. An Ohio workers compensation attorney can help you stay on track with a claim and follow it through.

Ohio Social Security Disability Statute of Limitations

social security disability attorneySocial Security Disability Insurance provides cash benefit payments to Ohio individuals with disabilities who used to work or have a guardian who worked. These benefits are earned based on credits accrued while working. SSDI should not be confused with Social Security Insurance (SSI) which is available to low income individuals or those over the age of 65, regardless of work history. Both of these programs are managed and paid out by the Federal Government.

What is the current Statute of Limitations—and why?

There is no time-based Statute of Limitations on SSDI, per se. However, generally speaking, you will need to have been employed during the last decade and have earned at least 40 credits. Taxpayers who make Social Security payments from their paycheck get up to 4 credits per working year, according to the current system, and $1,410 is the amount needed to earn one credit.

You will need to be gainfully employed for at least 20 of the 40 quarters that transpired before your attempt to collect SSDI. This is popularly referred to as the 20/40 Rule. If this requirement is not met, you are not eligible.

The formula for SSDI is complex. Individuals under 24 years of age only need 6 credits obtained within the three years prior to their disability. Individuals aged 24 to 31 can qualify even if they only worked part time. For individuals 34 years of age and older, the number of credits you need to collect SSDI depends on your age.

The Federal Government has created this credit system to make sure that those collecting SSDI were indeed gainfully employed, and not attempting to use a personal injury to collect what would essentially be free money.

What and when you need to get started on your claim—and what documents you need.

You will need your birth certificate or other proof of birth, proof of citizenship (such as a passport) or lawful alien status, discharge papers if you served in the military before 1968, your tax returns for the previous year, medical evidence of your condition, and any supporting documents such as award letters or settlement agreements. You will also need to fill out a comprehensive adult disability report.

What role will the Statute of Limitations play if my claim is denied?

Remember that there is not really a time-based Statute of Limitations on SSDI per say, but that if you remain unemployed for too long, you will not be eligible. And, assuming that your injury prevents you from returning to work, such a lapse in coverage could be detrimental. If your claim is denied and your lapse in employment violated the 20/40, recovering your application can become an arduous process.

How can an Ohio SSD Attorney help you now?

Filing anything with the Federal Government is notoriously difficult, but it could be said that it’s all the more so with SSDI, since the application process is accompanied by a comprehensive Adult Disability Report. If your paperwork is not filed the right way, it could result in a bureaucratic holdup that costs you dearly. To avoid these complications and their potential fallout, you will want to work with Ohio Social Security Disability Attorneys like the team we have at Bainbridge.

Ohio Veteran’s Disability Statute of Limitations

veterans disabilityVeteran’s Disability Compensation is offered by the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) and provides a tax free monthly payment to military veterans whose injury or sickness was initiated during their service, or if their service made an existing condition worse.

What is the current Statute of Limitations?

There is actually no Statute of Limitations for obtaining VA Disability compensation pay. However, any good Ohio VA disability attorney will tell you that you should initiate your application as soon as possible, because the VA can sometimes take months, if not years to grant benefits. You will only have a one year period of time to submit any supporting evidence to your claim, dated from the day you submitted your application.

Fortunately, if benefits are issued they will be backdated to the date of your application.

In a gesture of appreciation for the service of Veterans, the Federal Government has not placed onerous time restrictions on filing for VA Disability. However, if your application is denied, there is a Statute of Limitations for Ohio Veterans Disability appeals (which is actually the same in every state) of one year from the time of the VA issuing their decision.

What and When they need to get started on their claim…and what documents you’ll need.

In order to file, you will need supporting documentation either from a VA hospital or private medical records, along with statements from family, friends, clergy, or other personnel to validate your claimed condition and/or how it worsened.

How the role of the Statute of Limitations play if your claim is denied

If your application is denied, there will be a Statute of Limitations from the date of the VA sending your denial letter. During this time, you must file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). Before your case goes to the Board of Veterans Appeals, you can request a hearing from a Decision Review Officer (DRO) at any point. Either way, the NOD will in turn trigger a Statement of Case (SOC) from the VA, which will explain why the VA made their decision. You will then have 60 days to file an appeal by filing a particular form, Form 9.

How can an Ohio Veterans Disability attorney help now?

If your application is still denied, you have 120 days to appeal to the Board of Veterans Affairs again. Alternatively, you can also file an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), which oversees the VA. As you can see, the whole process is potentially fraught with setbacks that can place an undue burden on you, which adds insult to injury after your service. Working with an Ohio Veterans Disability lawyer can save you lots of headache and hassle as they assist you in making the most convincing case to the VA and navigating any unfavorable decisions.

The Bottom Line

The Bainbridge Firm, LLC has worked with injured employees and veterans to obtain the money they deserve and need to continue life with ease and dignity. Though our main office is in Columbus, we also serve clients throughout Ohio, in locations like  Ironton, Cambridge, Springfield, Portsmouth, Marion, and Waverly. While the benefits offered by the VA, the State of Ohio, and the Department of Social Security can be truly helpful, the process of obtaining those benefits can be difficult. But by starting the process in a timely manner and working with a competent attorney, you can get the benefits you deserve.

 

 

Tags: attorney Ohio Social Security Ohio social security disability attorneys Ohio Workers' Compensation Attorneys Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI SSI Statute of limitations VA disability compensation veteran's disability compensation workers compensation insurance in Ohio