Until recently, medical treatment in workers compensation claims have been limited to treatment of conditions that are "allowed" in the claim.1 Allowed conditions are medical conditions that are proven to have resulted from a compensable work-related injury or occupational disease.2 The BWC has now taken steps to address cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social and psychological issues in a claim that are not directly related to the allowed conditions.3 Instead, these issues are believed to have arisen after the allowed condition, and these issues are believed to prolong pain and disability of the allowed condition. This does not include mental illness and psychological disorders, but instead, normal emotional responses that many people experience following a serious injury.4 The idea of this new rule is to allow injured workers to get the guidance they need, before these issues turn into something more serious such as depression or opioid addiction, hindering the ability for the injured worker to heal.
According to the book, Ohio Workers' Compensation Law, written by Phillip Fulton, under R.C. § 4123.651 injured workers are entitled to freely choose a physician to treat a covered injury. This includes both the initial choice of physician and any decision by the injured worker to change physicians. The Bureau of Workers Compensation may require the injured worker to give notice of change in treating physician and the reason for change. Once a claimant goes to a private physician for treatment other than on an emergency basis, the claimant is generally regarded as having chosen that physician. Before 1959 employees didn't have a choice of physician. Choosing a treating physician and notifying the Bureau of your choice is important because authorized payment for treatment is only allowed by one physician. According to O.A.C. § 4123-7-05, the Bureau will not approve payment of medical fees for treatment rendered by more than one physician for the same condition over the same period of time. There is however one exception. If the BWC or self-insurer has authorized treatment where a consultant, anesthetist or assistant is required, or it is necessary for treatment to be seen by a specialist, then the BWC can authorize payment for medical fees. Not all licensed practitioners are qualified as treating physicians. Revised code § 1737.01 (A) defines "licensed physicians and surgeons" as persons certified under R.C. § 4731.14, which certification is limited to medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy. A medical doctor or osteopath may therefore be the treating physician. A chiropractor may also be the treating physician, because R.C. § 4734.09 specifically provides that the chiropractor is a physician for the purpose of chapter 4123.
In addition to reporting the injury, seeking medical care after the injury is perhaps one of the most important things to do at the beginning of workers' compensation claims. Obtaining medical care creates documentation of the diagnosis and the injury that was sustained. In many situations, the medical care provided just after the injury can help direct the injured worker to more specialized care or therapy if such treatment is deemed necessary. It is also the first opportunity for a medical expert to offer an opinion on whether there is a cause and effect connection between the injury and the diagnosis.
The settlement of a workers' compensation claim can be a way for an injured worker to receive a final monetary payment under the claim. Once a claim is settled, no further costs (medical or monetary benefits) are payable under the claim.
A lot of people, after suffering a work-related injury or realizing that they have an occupational disease, will immediately file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. For a lot of these people, there is no fear of losing their job or facing retaliation from their employer because they know that this isn't allowed by Ohio law.
The answer to this question is "it depends". It is an important question, however, because compensation as well as medical benefits cannot be paid if the claim has expired.
You may file a workers' compensation claim, even if the injury was your fault. The Ohio Workers' Compensation system is a "no-fault" system, which means that benefits are not determined by looking at who was at fault for the injury. Workers' compensation in Ohio eliminates negligence and fault as bases of loss allocation, and then distributes the cost of injuries among those parties who are best equipped to absorb them. This means that questions of fault, blame, wrongdoing, wrongful acts or omissions, or neglect are theoretically irrelevant under Ohio's workers' compensation system. What must be shown is that the workers' employment had the requisite causal connection with the injury.
Another Ohio workplace has been hit with fines by OSHA. The Reliable Castings Corp. manufacturing facility in Sidney, Ohio was found to have 14 safety and health violations that threatened to injure workers. Amongst the company's violations include failing to install guardrails near floor openings and ovens, failing to require employees to use hard hats and face shields, failing to prevent employee exposure to potential splashing molten aluminum, and failing to ensure an electrical area was protected from water. These violations led to more than $293,000 in fines, but more importantly, placed workers at extreme risk of harm.
Ohio's construction workers are often exposed to dangerous working conditions, including fast-moving cars. These risks sometimes result in construction workers suffering serious, and at times life-ending, injuries. In fact, since 2008, more than 600 accidents happened involving a traveling motorist and Ohio Department Transportation equipment and vehicles. Many times, workers are in the vicinity of these accidents. With this in mind, the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill designed to further protect construction workers.
Ohio has several factories that provide much needed jobs to the areand much needed materials to the country as a whole. These factories would not function if it were not for their workers. As employees act as the heartbeat of these companies, employers should want to keep them as safe as possible.