Ohio Workers’ Compensation: Vocational Rehab

A work injury can leave you with pain, lost wages, medical bills, and struggling to rebuild your career. The Ohio workers’ compensation system can offer relief, but the process can be complex. Mistakes can cost you time, money, and delay you from returning to work.

After an on-the-job injury, speak with an experienced Ohio workers’ comp lawyer. Not every attorney has a detailed knowledge of the Ohio workers’ comp system, the courts, and the claims process.

Victor Kademenos and Adrienne Hines are workers’ compensation specialists, certified by the Ohio State Bar Association for their experience in handling workers’ compensation claims. If you have been injured at work and have questions about vocational rehab or are having a problem with your claim, contact Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA right away.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at 419-625-7770.

What is Vocational Rehab?

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) offers vocational rehab services to injured workers who suffered an industrial injury or occupational disease. These services provide eligible injured workers assistance so they can return to work, retain employment, or obtain new employment.

Vocational Rehab in Ohio

Vocational rehab in Ohio is voluntary for workers, not mandatory. A doctor can refer you to the program through a C-9 Request for Medical Service form. After receiving the referral, the BWC will determine the worker’s eligibility vor vocational rehab based on the injured worker:

  • Missing eight or more days of time due to a work-related injury.
  • Suffering “significant impediment to employment.”
  • Receiving temporary or permanent compensation on the date of referral, or be determined to have reached “maximum medical improvement” in the claim.
  • Not working on the date of referral (except for referral of job retention services).

Vocational Rehab: What’s Involved?

A vocational rehab program will first try to return the worker to the original job they had before the injury. If that is not possible, the worker will be given training and options for a new job.

The goal of the program is to minimize the amount of time the employee spends out of work.

The services may include but are not limited to:

  • Vocational rehabilitation case management
  • Assessments
  • Career counseling
  • Ergonomic study
  • Employer incentive contracts
  • Gradual return to work
  • Job analysis or job modification
  • On-the-job training
  • Physical restoration services
  • Occupational rehabilitation
  • Transitional work and on-site therapy
  • Re-employment Services
  • Other services to support a return to work

Vocational Rehab & Permenant Disability

To qualify for permanent total disability payments, an employee has to have attempted vocational rehab.

According to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4123.58 (D)(4), permanent total disability will not be compensated when “the employee has not engaged in educational or rehabilitative efforts to enhance the employee’s employability unless such efforts are determined to be in vain.”

A Certified Workers’ Comp Specialist Can Help

The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) currently certifies a select number of attorneys in various practice areas. This includes the highly technical field of workers’ compensation.

To be awarded a “specialist” designation by the OSBA, an Ohio workers’ comp attorney must:

  • Have substantial involvement in workers’ comp cases. An applicant must have spent at least 2,250 hours practicing workers’ compensation law in the five years prior to applying for certification. They must also spend at least 520 hours per year on workers’ comp in the three years prior to applying.
  • Undergo peer review and recommendations. Seven other attorneys and specialists with substantial involvement in workers’ comp law (who do not work with the applicant or belong to the same associations) have to provide a favorable reference.
  • Pass a written examination. This exam tests applicants’ knowledge of claims, appellate procedures, statutes of limitations, occupational diseases, benefits, safety violations on the job, and more.
  • Be in good standing. The lawyer must carry professional liability insurance and have no disciplinary action against them.
  • Take continuing legal education courses. The specialist must continue their training in workers’ compensation law yearly to retain their certification.

Contact an Ohio Workers’ Comp Attorney Today

Victor Kademenos and Adrienne Hines have both completed this rigorous process to provide their clients with the very best service. Attorney Kademenos has also served as chairman of the Ohio State Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Committee. He also served on the Special Legislative Committee for Workers’ Compensation Legislation in the State of Ohio. Attorney Hines has spent over 20 years fighting for injured workers and has kept her workers’ comp certification for over a decade.

Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA has spent over 70 years assisting Ohio families recover from the hardship of an occupational illness or on-the-job injury. To set up a free consultation of your case, contact us today at 419-625-7770.