Skip to content
Understanding Workers Compensation Claims

Understanding Workers Compensation Claims

April 8, 2024
By Willis, Willis & Rizzi, Personal Injury Attorneys Akron
Play Video

Understanding Workers Compensation Claims

What is workers compensation?

Workers compensation was created by the government. If you go back in history to the beginnings of the industrial revolution, you had workers in big factories who were seriously injured because there were insufficient safety protocols. Employers were being sued for having these bad workshops where employees were suffering injuries.

From this, the Workers Compensation system was developed, and it is set up so that by law, in Ohio, you cannot sue your employer for negligence. The theory behind this is that if we protect employers, we encourage them to hire people to work, which is good for the overall economy.  Instead of being able to sue the employer because you were hurt on the job, you will go into this administrative process, Workers Compensation, to cover your medical bills and oversee your claim.

Are You an Employee or a Subcontractor?

One of the big issues that comes up regarding Workers Compensation claims is centered around are you considered an employee, or a subcontractor? Many times, people will work for a business and not be paid a standard W2 wage or salary (where taxes and benefits are withheld) but rather they will be paid the full amount of their compensation and will be given a 1099 income statement at the end of the year. Businesses do this to avoid paying the associated social security taxes, unemployment, reporting requirements, and Workers Compensation fees associated with a W2 wage or salary employee. The IRS and state governments have begun enforcing stricter rules regarding this practice.

Ironically, businesses are content to call you a 1099 sub-contractor until you get hurt – and then they want the protection of Workers Compensation! The question of whether an individual is an employee, or a subcontractor comes into play in many cases.

Were You on The Job or Not on The Job

Sometimes in Workers Compensation claims the question arises of were you on the job or not on the job when the injury occurred? For example, you are driving from point A to point B, but you stop for a personal errand along the way. Are you on the job at the point or not? Were you in a company vehicle or your personal vehicle? All of these types of questions come into play when determining if you were considered on the job, or not.

Workers Compensation Claims vs. Common Law Claims

In other situations involving Workers Compensation claims you have someone who is injured on the job but by someone other than a fellow employee of your employer, or machinery equipment owned by your employer. For example, consider a construction site where you have many different trades such as an electrician, a carpenter, HVAC specialists, architects, engineers, masonry workers, etc. A masonry worker is working on a scaffold laying bricks and drops a brick on the head of a carpenter on the ground. The two individuals in question here work for two different companies. The carpenter has a Workers Compensation claim since they were hurt on the job, however since they were not injured by a fellow employee or equipment owned by their employer, they also have a personal claim or what is called a “common law” claim against the masonry company for the negligence of their employee.

Serious Injuries Require an Attorney

If you have suffered a serious injury, you need to get an experienced personal injury attorney involved as soon as possible. Even if you only have a Workers Compensation claim, there is a process that needs to be followed. Additionally, Workers Compensation claims can stay open for a long period of time. The injured person can come back to Workers Compensation and report that the injury has gotten worse and requires additional medical treatment. This is not possible in a common law case as once that case is settled, there is no going back.

It’s important to get an attorney involved to evaluate your situation and help you determine what claims you may have, and to ensure that your Workers Compensation claim is being handled appropriately. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we do this on a daily basis to evaluate if there are claims that go beyond Workers Compensation and to get everything going in the right direction.

Contact Willis, Willis & Rizzi today at 330-535-2000 or fill out the form on this page to speak to a personal injury attorney today.



Contact Us Today

For A Free Personal Injury Case Consultation


    Willis, Willis & Rizzi Co., L.P.A

    Personal Injury Attorneys

    670 West Market St. 
    Akron, Ohio 44303


    Willis, Willis & Rizzi, Personal Injury Attorneys Akron

    Be sure to read these other important articles from Willis, Willis & Rizzi: