By Grace Szubski
The legal term “statute of limitations” has significance in an Ohio workers’ compensation claim. In simple terms it means a “deadline” for taking some sort of action for or with a claim. Here are some significant deadlines:
DEADLINE TO FILE A CLAIM
First, there is the statute of limitations for filing a claim with the Ohio BWC. An injured worker has TWO years from the date of an accident at work to file a claim with the Ohio BWC. An injured worker has TWO years from a date of diagnosis of an occupational disease to also file claim. There are some nuances to filing deadlines for occupational disease claims, but this is the general rule. Your attorney can provide further guidance on filing dates for an occupational disease. The point, however, is that a claim must be timely filed timely or an injured worker is barred from pursuing the claim. The burden for filing a claim is on the injured worker.
Also, all body parts must be alleged within two years. Otherwise, an injured worker is precluded from amending the allowance of a claim for body parts not alleged within that time frame. This is why it is important to be precise in listing the conditions and body parts that are alleged on an application for a new claim. It is also important to tell the doctor, urgent care facility or emergency room exactly how an accident happened and what you hurt.
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT MEDICAL BILLS FOR PAYMENT
Second, there is a ONE year statute of limitation for filing a medical bill for payment. This means one year from the date of the medical service. The bill must be submitted for payment within that time frame to either the Ohio BWC/Managed Care Organization (MCO) or the self -insured employer’s representative. Make sure your medical provider has the claim number and contact information to submit any bills in a timely manner.
DEADLINE FOR CLAIM TO EXPIRE
Third, an Ohio workers’ compensation claim expires if there is no activity after a certain period of time. The expiration date can be FIVE years or TEN years from the last date a medical bill or compensation is paid in the claim. The date of accident or diagnosis of an occupational disease determines whether the claim has a five year or ten statute of limitation. Your attorney can give you further guidance on the applicable date.
There are other statute dates to consider and be aware of in an Ohio workers’ compensation claim. This is an overview of the more important and universal dates for consideration in a claim.
By Grace A. Szubski
The pitfalls of social media are widely publicized. Your privacy on the internet should always be a concern. This is a particularly true if you have a pending workers’ compensation claim. So this is a friendly reminder to be cautious about your posts on social media.
Surveillance is no longer restricted to the old fashioned private investigator. Surveillance now encompasses social media and other information that can be accessed via the internet. Your employer and/or the Ohio BWC representatives may very well be monitoring your activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Information about other legal matters can easily accessed such as a prior criminal record or other civil litigation matters Some information is merely public record. Other times you can help yourself by not giving your adversaries fodder to challenge your claim.
Here are some general suggestions:
1) Do not post derogatory remarks about your employer, co-workers or supervisor on social media. If your claim goes to a hearing such posts can be used to attack your credibility. If nothing else, it may motivate your employer to be more aggressive against your claim.
2) Review your past social media posts. If there is even a hint that something could be considered contrary to what you are alleging in your claim, then delete the post immediately. What you may think is inconsequential can be construed differently by your employer or the Ohio BWC. This is particularly important if you were granted permanent total disability or a loss of use award. An example: A client alleged an injury to her wrist at work. The employer used her Facebook posts to argue against the claim. The employer argued that the wrist apparently was not injured if she was able to bake large quantities of holiday cookies. There were photos of the client using a commercial size mixer, hand mixing cookie dough with the injured wrist, and hundreds of cookies as the finished product.
3) Consider suspending your social media accounts if you can’t trust yourself to be impulsive while a claim is being adjudicated.
4) Review your resume and past work history on your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. Or even consider taking down a LinkedIn account. Another example: a client filed for permanent total disability. He opened a Linked In account with the intent of only keeping in touch with former co-workers. However, such an account raised the possibility that he was ready and able to return to work. Obviously this was contrary to what was being sought after with the permanent total disability application.
Bottom line, THINK before you post!
Congratulations to Grace Szubski who was recently highlighted in Best Lawyers Magazine. The article describes Attorney Szubski's start in workers' compensation law, passion for her work and recent cases.
To read the full article, visit Best Lawyers.
Congratulations Attorney Grace Szubski for being named to the Ohio Super Lawyer List. She has been named "Top Rated Workers' Compensation Attorney in Cleveland, OH."
Attorney Szubski focuses primarily in Ohio Claimant Workers' Compensation. She works tirelessly to advocate for injured workers. Her thoroughness, dedication and experience is a invaluable component to the Garson Johnson team.
We are proud of Grace's accomplishments and thankful for her contributions to our firm.
about super lawyers
Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, we limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public, i.e., lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys. From www.superlawyers.com
Congratulations to Grace Szubski and Jim DeRoche Named to the Super Lawyers List 2016
WHAT IS SUPER LAWYERS
We are very proud to congratulate Grace and Jim on this honor. Only 5% of the attorneys in Ohio are named to this list every year. To learn more about the exclusive selection process, visit Super Lawyers.
Attorneys, hearing officers, claim representatives and others often use abbreviations for terms pertinent to adjudicating an Ohio workers’ compensation claim. This can be confusing so here’s a glossary with some common abbreviations to help you navigate through the system:
A AWW Average Weekly Wage. One of the rates calculated for payment of compensation in a claim. Generally the wages of an injured worker for the year prior to the date of accident are used to calculate this rate.
B BWC Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. The agency that administers workers’ compensation claims.
C C9 The form a medical provider must submit to the managed care organization for approval of treatment for allowed conditions in a claim.
D DWRF Disabled Workers Relief Fund. Cost of living factored into permanent total disability claims. It is paid when the rate of compensation and other benefits of the injured worker do not meet the annual weekly rate.
E ER Emergency room.
F FCE Functional Capacity Evaluation. An extensive evaluation to determine the work level an injured worker is capable of performing.
G GJ Garson Johnson LLC. Our firm is very experienced in representing Ohio injured workers. Call for a free consultation.
H HR Handicap Reimbursement. Financial relief given to an employer with proof an injured worker has a pre-existing medical condition that impedes/delays the recovery of a work injury. Often arthritis or diabetes are the reason for awarding this to an employer.
It reduces an employer’s workers’ compensation premium.
I IC Industrial Commission. This state agency adjudicates all disputes in a workers’ compensation claim.
J JE Judgment Entry. A document filed by the Court with a finding/determination. This is pertinent to claims that are in litigation.
K K EKG (okay, a little stretch here). Many diagnostic tests are performed by the medical community to determine the extent of an injury and/or progress in recovery. MRI, EMG, NCV are abbreviations for common diagnostic tests.
L LM Living Maintenance. Compensation paid while an injured worker participates in vocational rehabilitation.
M MMI Maximum medical improvement. When an injury reaches complete recovery or there is no longer room for improvement. Temporary total disability will no longer be paid in a claim if the allowed conditions reach MMI.
N NWWL Non-working wage loss. An injured worker may be entitled to compensation if he/she makes a good faith effort to look for comparable work within the restrictions due to the allowed conditions in a claim.
O O.R.C. Ohio Revised Code. The rule book. It contains the legislation enacted in Ohio. O.R.C. 4121 and 4123 govern Ohio workers’ compensation.
P PPD Permanent partial disability. Compensation an injured worker may be entitled to for residual effects/problems for the allowed conditions in a claim.
Q QA Quality assurance. The state agencies and managed care organizations have quality assurance policies to ensure claims are processed properly and timely.
R RTW Return to work.
S SC Salary continuation. An employer can elect to pay salary continuation in lieu of temporary total disability compensation while an injured worker recovers from an injury. The parties have to agree to this and it often helps the employer save on premiums while the injured worker does not have to wait for a claim to be processed before compensation is paid. TTD is not taxable but SC is taxable income.
T TTD Temporary total disability. The compensation paid to an injured worker while recovering from an injury at work.
U U You. Manage your health care and keep on top of the status of your claim. For example, ask questions if you do not understand why a medical procedure is recommended or why an issue is going to hearing. But let the professionals do their job and heed their advice.
V VR Vocational rehabilitation. A program offered to injured workers to assist in a return to work. The services vary but generally include work hardening, some very basic computer/clerical training, and help with a job search.
W WWL Working wage loss. Compensation an injured worker may be entitled to if he/she returns to work with restrictions that reduce the number of hours in a work week and/or the rate of pay. WWL is calculated based on current earnings less the AWW rate.
X XR X-ray
Y YTD Year to date. An entry on most paystubs. It can often be used as documentation of earnings to calculate the AWW.
Z Z The end!
Who are the 2015 LAWYERS OF THE YEAR?Congratulations Grace Szubski for being named Best Lawyer in Workers Compensation in 2015! We are very proud of your accomplishments!
by Grace Szubski
We ask our workers’ compensation clients to send us their W2s and paystubs for a specific reason. This documentation is needed to calculate wage rates in a claim. The compensation paid in a claim depends on an injured worker’s earnings six weeks prior to as well as one year prior to the work accident. Our goal is to get the highest calculation possible.
The first twelve weeks of temporary total disability are paid at 72% of the average earnings for the six weeks prior to the work accident. This mirrors an injured worker’s take home pay. This is rate is known as the Full Weekly Wage (FWW). This calculation is quite simple and there is no consideration for special circumstances during the six week period used for the calculation.
All other compensation is based on the Average Weekly Wage (AWW). This rate is calculated by taking an injured worker’s earnings one year prior to the work accident and dividing by 52 weeks. However, this calculation can be modified if there are special circumstances.
Under Ohio law, the Industrial Commission has the discretion to consider “special circumstances” in the AWW calculation. Examples of “special circumstances” are: high school students working part time after school, time off to care for a terminally ill family member, a recent college graduate just entering the work force in a chose profession. Investment income and retirement benefits are not considered in the AWW calculation. While they may represent income, they are not wages.
Our office may contact you for your work history. We need as much information as you can give us to determine whether we can request the Industrial Commission to set the AWW at the highest rate possible due to “special circumstances.” Record keeping is important, too. The more information we have, the better we can assess whether your AWW can be adjusted to accurately reflect the compensation you may be entitled to in your claim.
By Grace Szubski
Our clients may wonder why the attorneys in our office are in Columbus so often. Short answer, we're working for you! Longer explanation, we travel to Columbus for a variety of reasons. Columbus is our State's capitol city and many courts and state agencies are based there. It is also the geographic center of the state which is convenient for meetings.
We travel to Columbus to attend Industrial Commission third level appeal hearings. We travel to Columbus for oral arguments before the 10th District Court of Appeals which has jurisdiction over mandamus actions in workers' compensation claims. Mandamus actions are requests for the appellate court to take extraordinary action to reverse an Industrial Commission order because it abused its discretion in adjudicating a claim. We travel to Columbus for Ohio Supreme Court oral arguments for appeals on an array of cases as this is the highest court in our state.
We travel to Columbus for meetings for professional organizations. We are members of the Ohio Association for Justice which advocates for injured workers. This organization meets with the managers of the Ohio BWC to discuss policy changes, rules changes and other such matters. OAJ also is an advocate for injured workers in Ohio legislative matters. We are members of the Ohio State Bar Association. OSBA's membership is broader, but it too advocates for injured workers in policy matters and procedures. It also provides opportunities for networking and continuing legal education.
So we're working for you not only in our office in Cleveland, but in other parts of the State, too.