House Bill 75. -Effective 9/28/21
1). Occupational diseases now have a 1 year statute of limitations to file the claim like other work injuries.
2). Attorneys may use a power of attorney form to sign checks on behalf of injured workers.
3). Injured workers must show new and changed circumstances to file for permanent and total disability if a prior permanent and total disability application was denied. This change is codified in O.R.C. section 4123.58(G)
4). Injured workers receiving salary continuation must wait 26 weeks after their last payment of salary continuation prior to filing for permanent partial disability.
5). Attorneys are now prohibited from entering into an agreement with a journalist for purposes of obtaining injured workers’ personal information for purposes of solicitation of business from injured workers.
House Bill 81 - Effective 9/15/20
1). New VSSR Statute of Limitations: Claims after this date have a 1 year statute of limitations to file for a violation of specific safety requirement. (Prior law is 2 years). The injured worker must file the application within one year of the date of injury or within one year of the date of disability due to the occupational disease began. (Applies to claims with dates of injury after 9/15/20)
2). Voluntary Abandonment Doctrine Case Law is No Longer Applicable:
In an amendment to O.R.C. section 4123.56(f) the legislature states all prior case law related to the judicially created doctrine of voluntary abandonment has been superseded by the new code section. As to what this new section means and how it will be interpreted is yet to be seen and is still in flux. The change arguably imposes a proximate cause standard, meaning is the period of disability causally related to the allowed conditions in the claim. If so, temporary total disability is payable.
However, employers will argue that the change codifies the voluntary abandonment doctrine and has just eliminated the cases within the voluntary abandonment doctrine they find unpalatable. Currently there has been no definitive guidance from the Ohio Supreme Court beyond the text of the statute.
This section applies to pending applications for temporary total disability with dates of injury before and after the effective date of the new statute although prior decisions that have already been adjudicated are not to be disturbed with retroactive application of the new law. See State ex re. OSU v. Pratt, 2021-Ohio-3420.
The new standard for entitlement to temporary total disability is as follows:
4123.56(F) “If an employee is unable to work or suffers a wage loss as the direct result of an impairment arising from an injury or occupational disease, the employee is entitled to receive compensation under this section, provided the employee is otherwise qualified. 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 under this section. It is the intent of the general assembly to supersede any previous judicial decision that applied the doctrine of voluntary abandonment to a claim brought under this section.”
3). Increased Cap on Funeral Benefits: The cap on funeral benefits for deceased injured workers is increased from $5,000 to $7,500.
4). Limits on Employer’s Ability to Stop Settlement: Employers may not longer withdraw from a prosed settlement agreement when the claim exceeds their premium calculation and the injured worker no longer works for them.
5). Changes to Statute of Limitation for Life of Claim: Changes to O.R.C. section 4123.52 modifies the statute of limitations to be five years after the last date medical treatment was paid for under the claim rather than the date the medical bill for this treatment was actually paid. The statute now runs for five years from the date of service rather than the date the service was paid for. Under the prior law the statute of limitations extended five years from the last date the medical bill was actually paid.
6). Expanded Post-Exposure Medical Diagnostic Testing: the new section expands the postexposure medical diagnostic testing covered for additional individuals who come in contact with blood or other bodily fluids in the course and scope of their employment.