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Ohio workers' comp

Curious how workers' comp works in Ohio? Read on for everything you need to know about eligibility, how to apply, and more.

evident Editorial Team
December 1, 2023
Columbus cityscape

If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may have questions about workers’ compensation in Ohio. This article covers everything you need to know, including what workers’ comp is, how workers’ comp works in Ohio, and details about the process such as how long you have to apply or how long it takes to get workers’ comp benefits in Ohio.

Key Takeaways

What is workers’ comp?

Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated program that requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance in case their employees get injured or sick from a work-related cause. 

Ohio’s workers’ compensation, unlike other states’ systems, is a monopolistic system. Sounds odd, but that just means that all workers’ comp claims are handled by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (hence the “monopoly”) and not through private insurance companies.

How does workers’ comp work in Ohio?

So, how does workers’ compensation work in Ohio? Let’s take a closer look at key questions such as who is eligible for benefits and what the different types of workers’ compensation benefits are in Ohio. 

Who is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio?

Almost all employees in Ohio are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured on the job or fall ill due to work. 

The key exception is that self-employed individuals may be exempt from Ohio workers’ compensation laws. Additionally, workers' compensation coverage only applies to employees, so independent contractors might likewise be exempt from coverage.

Otherwise, though, Ohio employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance and an injured worker in Ohio can generally file a workers' compensation claim.

What are the types of workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio?

Ohio workers' compensation benefits range from medical benefits to  “change of occupation” awards. 

Types of benefits available through Ohio workers’ comp include:

  • Medical benefits – any proper and necessary medical treatment related to your work injury or illness will be covered. 
  • Temporary disability – if you cannot work for seven or more days due to your work-related injury or illness, workers’ compensation will pay a portion of your regular wages. 
  • Permanent disability –  additional compensation is available if you are determined to be permanently disabled due to your injury or illness. 

Check out the Ohio BWC’s website for more details on the specific types of benefits available, such as the breakdown between Permanent Partial, Percent of Permanent Partial, and Permanent Total Disability. 

How to get workers’ comp in Ohio

Now that we have an overview of how workers’ compensation works in Ohio, let’s examine the nuts and bolts of how to get your benefits. 

How to apply for workers’ comp in Ohio

If you have suffered a work-related injury or fallen ill due to your job, the key steps to take are: seek medical treatment; notify your employer about the injury; and file a workers' compensation claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.  

Medical treatment is important because your health is ultimately the most important thing after an injury. It can also strengthen your workers’ comp claim, but again, your health should be the priority. 

Notifying your employer about the injury, ideally in writing, is also critical to create a clear record of your injury and help facilitate your claim process. 

You should be able to access the forms for submitting a claim through your employer, and they will also be available online. 

What time limits are there to apply in OH?

You must file a workers’ comp claim within one year of the date of the injury in order to get compensation under Ohio’s workers’ comp laws. If you do not file your claim within a year, the statute of limitations will prevent you from seeking recovery. (A statute of limitations is essentially a time limit for someone to bring a legal action).

How long does it take to get workers’ compensation benefits in Ohio?

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will typically inform you whether your claim has been approved or denied within 28 days. 

Once the BWC issues an initial decision on the claim (known as a BWC Order), there is a 14-day appeals period during which either you or your employer can appeal the decision. If either party does choose to appeal the BWC Order, they must file an appeal with the Industrial Commission of Ohio within 14 days from the date you receive the BWC’s decision in the mail. 

What to do if your application for workers’ comp in Ohio is denied

If your claim is denied, you have 14 days from the date that you receive the BWC Order to appeal the decision to the Industrial Commission of Ohio. 

There are two ways to appeal a denial of your workers’ comp claim by the Ohio BWC Order. 

First, you could fill out an IC-12 form (available online here) and submit the completed form to the ICO either via fax or by logging onto the Industrial Commission of Ohio’s website

The second way to submit an appeal is to mail, fax, or drop off a written notice to the Claims Service Specialist (or CSS) assigned to your claim. The written notice must include various info such as your name, your employer’s name, your claim number, and the reason for the appeal, among other things.

When to hire a workers’ comp lawyer

If you’re applying for Ohio workers’ compensation, you may be wondering whether to hire a workers’ comp lawyer or how much a workers’ comp lawyer costs

Well, the first thing to know about how much an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney costs is that they typically work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not pay out of pocket for the workers' comp attorney fees. Instead, they are paid a percentage of your successful claim. 

In terms of whether you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer, at a high level, it typically makes sense if:

  • Your work-related injury or illness is serious
  • Your initial claim has been denied 
  • Certain legal scenarios apply to your claim, such as grounds for a separate lawsuit

FAQs about Ohio workers’ comp

construction hate, Ohio workers' compensation

How long does it take to get a workers’ compensation settlement in OH?

Some workers’ comp claims are processed in a matter of weeks, while other claims may take years if the initial claim is denied. The Ohio BWC should tell you whether your claim has been approved or denied within 28 days once your claim is filed. So you should get some clarity relatively quickly, but how long it takes to get a workers’ comp settlement in OH will vary significantly if your claim is not approved.

Does Ohio workers’ comp pay for pain and suffering?

Ohio workers’ compensation does not pay for pain and suffering. Workers’ comp benefits are aimed at replacing a portion of your lost wages and include other types of compensation, including to cover medical bills for reasonable and necessary medical treatment. But Ohio workers’ comp does not pay for pain and suffering.

How often should I hear from my workers’ comp attorney?

There is no “correct” answer to how often you should expect to hear from your workers’ comp attorney. 

You should expect to hear from them if there are any major updates about the status of your case or any approaching deadlines. But beyond that, there may be periods of time where not much has changed or you are awaiting an update from the Ohio BWC or ICO. 

In fact, asking your workers’ comp attorney how often you should expect to hear from them is a great question to ask early on in the process so that you and your attorney have a chance to get on the same page and share your communication preferences (e.g. email, text, phone) if you have any.