Our Toledo, Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys understand that workers’ compensation claims are much different than the negligence cases that result from situations like car accidents or dog bites. In a negligence case, you can be compensated for your medical bills, damage to your property, and your pain and suffering. In some cases, you can even seek additional money to punish someone for their bad behavior, such as when you’re struck by a drunk driver. If a lawsuit needs to be filed, it’s done through the court system and the case is heard by a judge.
The workers’ compensation system was set up to eliminate many of the claims that could be brought through a negligence case. The Ohio General Assembly designed a system that helps employers minimize the costs they might have to bear through employee personal injuries. The theory is that if employers had to pay for things like pain and suffering, or punitive damages, it would be too expensive to do business. Having to defend the cases in court would cost even more money. Whether or not you believe that’s fair to employees who are hurt on the job, that’s the system we have. Instead of having cases heard by a judge or jury, work comp claims are handled through an administrative hearing officer.
The state requires employers to be self-insured or to pay into a fund that is used to compensate injured workers for things like the wages they lost due to the injury and for their medical bills. It’s a no-fault system, which means that it doesn’t matter whether you were injured because of your own actions or as the result of a co-worker or supervisor’s actions. If you were injured on the job, you’re generally allowed to file a claim and get some type of compensation.
In some situations, if an employer’s actions were so outrageous because they ordered an employee to undertake a very dangerous task without the proper safety conditions or if they failed to correct a known safety hazard, the case can be taken out of the worker’s compensation system. The legislature, though, has made filing these types of lawsuits extremely difficult so not many people would qualify.