Labor & Employment Alert: Changes to Workers' Compensation Law When HB 81 Takes Effect
By Linda L. Stepan on September 15, 2020
Significant changes to Ohio workers’ compensation law take effect September 15, 2020. The time for a claimant to file a Violation of a Specific Safety Requirement (VSSR) is shortened. An employer’s right to contest a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) settlement is limited. The life of a medical-only claim is shortened. And voluntary abandonment case law is now codified, putting the future of this doctrine in question.
- VSSR filing deadline is changed to one year for claims arising on or after September 15, 2020.
- State-funded employers can no longer object to BWC settlement of claims if the claim is no longer within their experience to affect premiums or if the claimant is no longer their employee. This applies to claims arising on or after September 15, 2020.
- The Ohio Industrial Commission continues to have five years from the last payment of compensation to exercise continuing jurisdiction. The new provision applies to medical only claims arising on or after July 1, 2020. The five-year period begins on the last day medical services are provided, not the last payment.
- Voluntary abandonment case law, which stopped disability benefits if a claimant retired, quit or was terminated, is now superseded by statute. ORC 4123.56 now states: “If an employee is not working or has suffered a wage loss as the direct result of reasons unrelated to the allowed injury or occupational disease, the employee is not eligible to receive compensation.” Memo D5 of the Adjudications before the Ohio Industrial Commission is rescinded and not replaced as the future of the Voluntary Abandonment Doctrine remains to be determined.