Workers Compensation

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The firm’s Workers’ Compensation Practice Group is comprised of highly-skilled lawyers and non-lawyer professionals who provide an integrated, one-stop approach to managing your workers’ compensation program. We combine most of the management services of a third-party administrator with the advocacy skills of an experienced law firm.


Unlike most law firms, SS+D can serve as your third-party administrator by, among other things, assisting with the initial accident investigation, managing claims from beginning to end and proactively identifying injury prevention and cost saving strategies. Unlike many third-party administrators, SS+D does not need to hand matters off to outside lawyers when a claim makes its way to the Industrial Commission or into court.


ADA, FMLA, and insurance issues often complicate the workers’ compensation picture. SS+D’s lawyers can sort through these issues and evaluate your workplace practices and procedures to help you stay compliant, prevent injuries and cut costs.


Our Workers’ Compensation Practice Group provides the following services:


Claims Management

Workers’ compensation administration can be a time-consuming and costly task for employers. We can handle the process for you from beginning to end. Our services include advising and counseling management on accident reporting and investigations and making initial recommendations on certification or rejection of claims and processing paperwork. We can manage all claims and work with independent medical providers, managed care organizations, and the BWC, where necessary, to control costs. We also review and monitor additional allowances, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial and permanent total disability awards, and wage loss claims. We can arrange for independent medical evaluations, assess return to work, rehabilitation, restrictive duty options, and other cost saving strategies. We can even arrange for monitoring and surveillance, where appropriate.


Disability/Family and Medical Leave/Workers’ Compensation Consultation

The interplay of workers’ compensation, family and medical leave, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and long-term and short-term disability insurance can create daunting compliance problems for even the most sophisticated employer. SS+D’s lawyers routinely handle these kinds of complex compliance issues.


Industrial Commission Hearings

SS+D’s Workers’ Compensation Practice Group lawyers will prepare thoroughly for and attend hearings before the Industrial Commission. Preparation can include, among other things, interviewing witnesses, obtaining prior medical records, and reviewing the official BWC claims file to ensure that all the relevant evidence will be submitted at the hearing. Because our lawyers are always representing our clients at the IC hearings, we are better positioned to identify important legal issues and develop meaningful legal defenses.


VSSR Representation

As many employers know, Ohio law permits additional awards to a claimant when an employer violates specific safety regulations. Unlike lost wage, medical, or disability benefits, these awards are designed to penalize the employer and are paid out of the employer’s own pocket. SS+D’s lawyers have defended many such claims for employers. SS+D’s Workers’ Compensation Practice Group can handle the defense of VSSR claims efficiently and effectively, especially where the group has already been managing the underlying claim.


Employment Litigation Services

SS+D’s Workers’ Compensation Practice Group lawyers have significant experience handling, among other things, workers compensation appeals, retaliatory discharge lawsuits, and intentional tort litigation that can arise from the workers compensation context. We can work even more efficiently and effectively in cases in which our group has been managing the underlying benefits claim from its inception. In many instances, we can help you avoid such claims before they arise. When claims do arise, we do not have to get "up to speed" if we’ve already been familiar with the claimant and claim from the very beginning.


Risk Management

SS+D can help you prevent injuries and control costs by developing and updating personnel policies and procedures. We can help with record keeping and reporting of injuries. We can review your workers’ compensation program and assess return-to-work programs, evaluate restrictive duty options and settlement options, and assess the availability of BWC premium discount programs. We also work with outside experts who can provide technical guidance on safety improvements.


Training

We can be your resource for employee training. Our group members have conducted training in policy implementation, internal investigation techniques, accident reporting, documentation, and many other labor and employment topics.



ALTERNATIVE FEE OPTIONS

While we typically bill for our services based upon an hourly rate, SS+D’s Workers' Compensation Practice Group can work with you to establish sensible alternative fee arrangements, whenever appropriate to the nature and amount of services being provided. For example, SS+D’s Workers' Compensation Practice Group can bill a flat monthly rate for many of the services we offer. We will provide an engagement letter, which will clearly set forth which services are, and which services are not, included in the flat rate. When utilizing the more traditional hourly rates, such rates will usually vary depending upon the individuals performing the services.

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