Explanation of Challenged Workers’ Compensation Amendments
Posted: July, 2006
The following summary highlights the changes harmful to injured workers made by Am. Sub. S.B. 7 which the referendum petition is challenging:
- R.C. 4123.01(C)(1) is amended to require that a psychological injury is only compensable if there is a physical injury to the person suffering the psychological harm. This requirement overrides the Supreme Court’s decision in Bailey v. Republic Engineered Steels, Inc. (2001), 91 Ohio St.3d 38, 2001-Ohio-236.
- R.C. 4123.01(C)(4) adds a requirement that there must be “substantial aggravation” for aggravation of an injury to be compensable. This requirement overrides the Supreme Court’s decision in Schell v. Globe Trucking, Inc. (1990), 48 Ohio St.3d 1.
- R.C. 4123.54(G) provides that if a condition is “substantially aggravated”, no compensation is payable once the condition returns to the state it was in before the injury.
Appeals to Court:
- R.C. 4123.512(D) provides that a claimant cannot dismiss a case in common pleas court without the employer’s consent if the employer filed the appeal. This overrides the Supreme Court’s decision in Kaiser v. Ameritemps, Inc. (1999), 84 Ohio St.3d 411, 1999-Ohio-360.
- R.C. 4123.512(G) raises the attorney fee paid in cases where an injured worker establishes the right to participate in an appeal to court from $2,500 to $4,200.
- R.C. 4123.52 reduces continuing jurisdiction in medical only claims from 6 years to 5 years, and reduces continuing jurisdiction in lost time claims from 10 years to 5 years.
- R.C. 4123.56(B)(1) reduces the total amount of weeks of wage loss compensation by counting R.C. 4123.67 (rehabilitation) wage loss compensation as part of the overall 200 week limit for payment of working wage loss.
- R.C. 4123.56(B)(2) reduces non-working wage loss from 200 to 52 weeks but, together with R.C. 4123.56(B)(3) raises the total possible weeks of wage loss compensation to 226 by providing that 26 weeks of non-working wage compensation do not count against the 200 week limit for wage loss compensation.
- R.C. 4123.58(A) reduces that amount of permanent total paid in some situations by providing that the permanent total amount is based on the average weekly wage at the time of the injury or occupational disease. This overrides the Supreme Court’s decision in State, ex rel. Lemke v. Brush Wellman, Inc. (1998), 84 Ohio St.3d 161.
- R.C. 4123.61 also limits recalculation of the average weekly wage for permanent total awards.
- R.C. 4123.58(C)(1) provides that the loss of one limb does not equal the loss of two body parts, overriding the Supreme Court’s decision in State, ex rel. Thomas v. Indus. Comm. (2002), 97 Ohio St.3d 37, 2002-Ohio-5306.
- R.C. 4123.65(C) provides that a settlement can be voided if the employee dies within the 30 day waiting period after the settlement is signed.