Temporary Total and Abandonment Doctrine Clarified
State, ex. rel. Staton v. Indus. Comm. (5/23/01), 91 Ohio St.3d 407.
This case involves an injured worker who had stopped working and later applied for temporary total. He quit working due to medical conditions unrelated to the allowed workers’ compensation claim.
The Court indicates that the reason for leaving the work force is important to temporary total eligibility because an injured worker only loses temporary total eligibility if they “voluntarily” leave the job market. Where the allowed condition causes the injured worker to quit working, it is not considered to be a “voluntary” abandonment.
The decision indicates that an injured worker retains temporary total eligibility unless they have voluntarily abandoned the entire job market. The Court stated:
State ex rel. Baker v. Indus. Comm. (2000), 89 Ohio St.3d 376, 732 N.E.2d 355, declared that voluntary departure to another job no longer barred TTD. It retained, however, the prohibition against TTD to claimant’s who voluntarily abandoned the entire labor market. Thus, the claimant who vacates the work force for non-injury reasons not related to the allowed condition and who later alleges an inability to return to the former position of employment cannot get TTD. This, of course, makes sense. One cannot credibly allege the loss of wages for which TTD is meant to compensate when the practical possibility of employment no longer exists.
This should make it clear that an injured worker who does not voluntarily abandon the entire labor market remains eligible for temporary total.