Anthony Castelli has been handling in Ohio Workers Compensationfor over 30 years. The worker's compensation laws provide monetary compensation to pay for medical expenses and to replace lost income as a result of injuries or illnesses that arise out of an employment as well as other monetary benefits.
If the employer contests the claim, a denial may be issued even without a hearing. Therefore, it is important for you to immediately seek the advise of an attorney if you get anything from worker's compensation. Mr. Castelli handles his worker's compensation claims on a contingency basis, which means that a legal fee is paid only if he successfully obtains a recovery for you, although there may be expenses.
What are the Rehabilitation Rights of Injured Workers?
The word "rehabilitation" in the area of workers' compensation has two very different meanings. When most people think of rehabilitation, they think of physical therapy or rehabilitative care aimed at overcoming an injury and regaining functionality. Did you know that there is also vocational rehabilitation? In many states, injured workers who cannot return to their former employment are entitled to this type of rehabilitation at the expense of their employer's workers' compensation carrier.
The amount and type of vocational rehabilitation provided to injured employees varies from state to state. Some of the services to which an injured worker may be entitled include:
- On-the-job training
- Transferable skills analysis and testing
- Resume and job application completion services
- Interview skills and techniques assistance
- Labor market surveys
- Job analyses
- Job search assistance
- Wage assessment evaluations
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling
- Ergonomics assessments
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodation assistance
- Medical case management
- Education and Tuition payments for retraining
The actual vocational rehabilitation benefits to which an injured employee will be entitled are determined not only by the employee's specific situation, but also must comport with statutory and regulatory limitations.
In many states, the only specific employee responsibility in connection with vocational rehabilitation is that the employee must "accept" it. Inherent in this responsibility is the requirement that the employee cooperate with vocational rehabilitation efforts and make a valid attempt to return to suitable employment. Other states have different types of requirements. In certain states, for example, an injured employee is not required to participate in either physical rehabilitation or vocational rehabilitation.
- A Notable Difference: In Ohio, an employee needs to make a request for vocational rehabilitation, but may make the request at anytime within 15 years from the date of injury!
- Warning to Employees: If an employee refuses to cooperate with rehabilitation service providers, the workers' compensation carrier may reduce, if not suspend, wage loss benefits for the period of non-cooperation.
Employers (or their workers' compensation carriers) also have statutory and regulatory responsibilities which they must fulfill. For example, in some states, an employer must offer rehabilitation-counseling services to any employee who has an injury that has resulted in 60 days of lost time from work. The offer must be made within five days after that threshold has been reached. However, if the employee sustained a back injury, they only need lose 30 days of work in order for the employer to be required to offer rehabilitation counseling.
In other states, however, an employer must offer vocational rehabilitation within 120 days if the injury resulted in a loss of "suitable gainful employment."
In some states, an employer may be required to pay for items such as tuition, living expenses, room & board, child care expenses, and travel expenses, in addition to regular wage loss benefits while an employee is participating in certain vocational rehabilitation programs. In some states, only specifically qualified individuals are allowed to provide vocational rehabilitation assistance to injured workers. For example, only individuals who are Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs), Certified Disability Management Specialists (CDMSs) or Certified Case Managers (CCMs) may provide vocational rehabilitation assistance to injured employees in some jurisdictions.
The laws regarding the responsibilities of both employers and insurers vary by state. If you were injured on the job, ask an attorney to review your state's laws and explain your rights and responsibilities to you.
Ohio's scheme of workers compensation includes self insured employers as well as State fund employers. A self insured employer pays benefits to workers out of the employer's own pocket. So they may fight you and keep you in the dark about your rights. Even if the employer is state funded, they to will often fight your benefits, since they fear Bureau of Workers' Compensation insurance premiums will rise.
Warning: You case may under certain circumstances be over in 6 years. You could leave money on the table. However, if you knew how to work the system or settle your claim you could get everything due you. That's another reason to speak with a workers compensation lawyer today. Call Anthony Castelli at 1-800-447-6549 for a free case consultation.