Everyone agrees that workers’ compensation is a wonderful program. The sense of security it brings to Ohio workers is superseded only by the actual benefits of the program. Some of these benefits include medical treatment for work injuries, income replacement and access to prescription medication. All of these benefits come at no cost to the injured worker.
Injuries are painful both at the time of the accident and throughout the worker’s recovery. Doctors treat pain in many different ways, but prescription pain medication is usually one of the top treatments. Unfortunately, these prescriptions can lead to drug addiction. When left unaddressed, drug addiction can lead to death by overdose.
In our research, we discovered that several courts have ruled that workers’ compensation must pay death benefits to survivors after overdose deaths. Of course, the overdose must link to prescriptions prescribed by a doctor for the victim’s work injury. This precedent is important because it can help survivors cope with the loss of someone who was a beloved family member as well as a breadwinner.
While no one is yet ready to dispute the value of prescription opioids for injured workers, we offer a word of caution to these workers. Consider asking for alternative pain management options when you suffer a workplace injury. This can help you avoid addiction as well as an unintentional fatal overdose.
To families grappling with the overdose death of a loved one, you may wish to reach out to an attorney. If you and your lawyer can show that the overdose occurred because of prescriptions written for a workplace injury, it may be possible to acquire death benefits through workers’ compensation.
We also invite all workers employed in or around Cleveland to learn more about your workers’ compensation benefits. You can find this information by browsing the many work injury pages on our website.