HB 81 Brings Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law Changes

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Changes to Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Law take effect on September 15, 2020. House Bill 81 makes five notable amendments to the current law:

  • The time requirement for filing a Violation of a Specific Safety Requirement (VSSR) becomes one year from the date of injury for all claims arising on or after September 15, 2020. Right now, injured workers have two years to file.
  • Employees are no longer eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) and wage loss compensation if they are not working, or if they suffer a wage loss for a reason unrelated to the allowed injury or occupation disease. This is supposed to supersede prior court rulings regarding voluntary job abandonment and bring much needed clarity to an area of the law that exists as a result of (some would say, inconsistent) judicial opinions. It remains to be seen if the Legislature will succeed here. This provision applies to all claims pending on or before September 15, 2020.
  • For claims arising on or after September 15, 2020, state-funded employers can no longer deny or withdraw consent to an application to settle a claim if (1) the claim is no longer within the employer’s experience for impacting future premiums or (2) the employee is no longer employed by the employer.
  • The Ohio Industrial Commission has five years to exercise continuing jurisdiction over prior findings and orders regarding certain benefits. Normally the clock begins to run from the date of the last payment of compensation. Now, in cases where no payment is made, the five-year time period is triggered on the last day medical services are provided to the claimant. This provision applies to all claims with a date of injury on or after July 1, 2020.
  • Detention facilities must now pay for post-exposure medical diagnostic services. These services help identify whether a worker sustained an injury or occupational disease by coming into contact with the blood or other bodily fluid of another person. This requirements was previously limited to peace officers, firefighters, and emergency medical workers.

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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