OCTOBER 18,2017 | POSTED IN: WORKERS COMPENSATION
The law of the land is an ever-changing thing, and this is especially true of Ohio’s worker compensation laws. Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on three cases, and all of them had an effect on how claims will be treated in the future. Here’s what you need to know about these rulings.
State ex. Rel. Camaco LLC v. Albu, 2017-Ohio-7569– In this case, an employee was troubleshooting a problem with a specialized piece of robotic equipment surrounded by fencing. Instead of using the gates, which automatically shut down the machine, the employee used a small opening in the fencing so that power would continue to run. He was subsequently hit in the head by the machine and awarded a VSSR claim on the grounds that employer did not require him to wear head protection. Using evidence from an outside expert, the employee proved that there was a defect with the machine, and that meant the employer should have required the headgear. The employer appealed the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled that the employer had no prior knowledge of the defect, and so was unable to mandate appropriate headgear. This case was then sent back to the Industrial Commission to determine if the employer knew, or should have known that the machine had a defect.
2006 Ohio law, R.C. 4123.512(D)– requires employer consent to dismiss a workers compensation case submitted by the employer. This measure was put into place in order to speed up the workers comp appeals process, which can be very different than a normal court appeal. However, when an employee attempted to dismiss a case where he was declared the plaintiff, that rule required that he get employer consent, which was denied. The employee later filed a declaratory judgement arguing that 4123.512(D) was unconstitutional, giving the employer too much power in a case where the employee was reclassified as the plaintiff. The employer appealed all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled the measure constitutional.
State ex rel. Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Servs., Inc. v. Indus. Comm., 2017-Ohio-7577– A woman was awarded both permanent total disability for depression and permanent partial disability due to back impairments. However, a previous case—State ex rel. Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Servs., Inc. v. Indus. Comm., 2016-Ohio-8024 (Ohio Presbyterian I)—set out that the Industrial Commission has no authority to award concurrent permanent partial disability when permanent total disability has been awarded on the same claim. The woman asked the court to reconsider, but the Ohio Supreme Court upheld its previous decision.
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