Governor DeWine approves numerous changes to Ohio workers’ compensation

Bricker & Eckler LLP

Bricker & Eckler LLP

On June 16, 2020, Ohio Governor DeWine signed House Bill 81, legislation that intends to alter a number of aspects of the state’s workers’ compensation system. 

While H.B. 81 was originally created to provide workers’ compensation coverage to corrections officers, detention facility employees and other safety officers if they are exposed to an individual’s blood or other bodily fluids in the course of their employment, it has been expanded to operate as a “clean-up” bill for various workers’ compensation initiatives remaining from the state’s budget bill last spring.   

H.B. 81 creates several other changes to workers’ compensation laws. Specifically, the bill:

  • Codifies the voluntary abandonment doctrine regarding temporary total disability claims, thereby superseding preexisting judicial decisions on the issue
  • Reduces the statute of limitations for filing an application for violation of a specific safety requirement (VSSR) to one year from the date of injury
  • Prohibits employers from refusing or withdrawing from a proposed settlement agreement, if

(i) the employee is no longer employed, and
(ii) the claim is no longer within the date of impact for the employer’s experience/premium calculation

  • Changes the date that the Industrial Commission can invoke continuing jurisdiction to the date of medical services, rather than date of payment
  • Increases the funeral expenses benefit cap from $5,500 to $7,500
  • Expands the appeal period under R. C. § 4123.512, in specific circumstances, from 60 to 150 days for claims pending on and arising after September 29, 2017

H.B. 81 was signed by Governor DeWine on June 16, 2020, and is effective September 14, 2020.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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