A work injury can cause major disruptions to your life—not only your health, but also to your career, finances, and overall well-being. The Ohio workers’ compensation system is designed to compensate you for some of those losses and get you back to work as soon as possible. However, worker’s comp also limits the amount of money you can receive from your employer. This article explains the types and amounts of benefits that are available through workers’ comp. (To get these benefits, you will need to file an Ohio workers’ compensation claim.)
Ohio pays temporary total benefits to workers who need more than seven days off work due to their injuries. The first week of disability is not paid unless your disability continues for more than two weeks. The amount of your benefits depends on your typical wages and whether you are totally disabled or partially disabled. These benefits are paid until you reach maximum medical improvement, but not longer than 200 weeks.
Temporary total benefits are 72% of your average weekly wage for the first twelve weeks and two-thirds of your average weekly wage after that. However, state law places a cap on weekly benefits. For 2017, the maximum benefit is $902 per week if you’re not receiving social security retirement benefits and $601.33 if you are. (The cap is updated annually in July; you can find a list of the maximums at the website of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.)
Workers who experience a wage loss because they aren’t able to return to their normal positions can receive wage loss benefits. Wage loss benefits are two-thirds of the difference in your current earnings and your average weekly wage before your injury. If you are out of work, you can receive benefits for up to 52 weeks while you look for a new job. If you found a new job but it pays less, you can receive benefits for up to 200 weeks. For example, suppose you used to earn $1,000 per week, but you now earn $400 per week. You could receive two-thirds of $600 ($1,000 - $400), or $400 per week.
Once your medical treatment is complete and you have reached maximum medical improvement, your doctor will evaluate you for a permanent disability. A permanent disability is one that:
If you are found to have a permanent and total disability, you will continue to receive weekly payments at your temporary total rate for life.
If your doctor finds that you have a permanent partial disability, you may be eligible for additional benefits. Ohio workers’ compensation pays for scheduled losses, percentage losses, and disfigurement.
A scheduled loss of use award is available if you suffer an amputation or are unable to use certain body parts, such as the eyes, ears, arms, legs, hands, or feet. The award is paid at 100% of the statewide average weekly wage for a number of weeks determined by a state schedule. For example, the schedule lists a total loss of use of a foot at 150 weeks. For 2017, 100% of the statewide average weekly wage for 150 weeks is the equivalent of $135,300.
A percentage of permanent partial disability award is available if an independent medical examination reveals that you have a permanent impairment as a result of your injury. These benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage, subject to a statewide maximum. For 2017, the maximum weekly benefit is $300.67. The duration of these benefits is based on the percentage of your disability, up to a maximum of 200 weeks. For example, if you have a 50% disability, you will receive payment for 100 weeks.
An additional award of up to $10,000 is available if you have a disfigurement to the face or head that would impact your ability to find work.
Ohio workers’ compensation also provides additional benefits, including:
As you can see, workers’ compensation only pays of a portion of your lost wages. Workers’ comp also does not pay anything for the pain and suffering caused by your injury. While this may seem unfair, it is part of the trade-off that is the workers’ comp system. The advantage of workers’ comp is that you can get benefits relatively quickly without needing to file a lawsuit or prove that your employer was at fault for causing your injury. The downside is that you can’t get the full value of your losses. (However, in some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover pain and suffering and other losses. To learn more, see our article on suing outside of the workers’ comp system.)