Ohio's system of workers' compensation is compulsory, meaning that employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance to their employees. Workers' compensation insurance may be obtained through a state fund. Waivers may be permitted to exclude certain employees from coverage, including sole proprietors.
Exemptions from coverage may apply to certain employees, including officers of family farms, and very low-earning domestic workers and casual laborers.
Medical Benefits are provided to employees entitled to workers' compensation benefits, including coverage for necessary medical care to be provided by doctors certified by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.
The employee selects the initial treating physician, and may change physicians at any time. The employee request second opinions, subject to review for the reasonableness of the request. The employer may request one independent medical examination (IME) per year.
Indemnity benefits are payable to injured workers to help make up for lost income. There is a waiting period of 7 days before a worker is eligible for indemnity benefits, but if the worker's disability lasts more than 14 days indemnity benefits become retroactive to the date of the injury.
Benefits available to injured workers include the following:
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are paid to workers who are unable to work due to injury, but who are expected to make full or partial recovery such that they may return to work. Benefits are based upon 72% of the injured worker's pre-injury wage, subject to a cap, and continue for the duration of the temporary disability. Offsets may apply for other benefits received by the injured worker, including employer-sponsored disability insurance and Social Security retirement benefits.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
When a worker is not expected to recover from a total disability caused by a work-related injury, and as a result suffers a total loss of earning capacity, the worker becomes eligible for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits. In Ohio PTD benefits are calculated based upon 2/3 of the injured worker's pre-injury wage, subject to a cap, and may continue indefinitely. Offsets may apply for Social Security benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
Once an injured worker has recovered to the maximum possible extent, the worker may be able to return to employment but nonetheless remain partially disabled, and may potentially qualify for permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. In Ohio PPD benefits are determined based on a statutory schedule or, for nonscheduled injuries, based upon an assessment of the injured worker's whole person impairment. Benefits are calculated based upon 33 1/3% of the average weekly wage, subject to a cap. For unscheduled injuries, workers may be awarded two weeks of PPD for each percent of impairment, for a maximum possible benefit of 200 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
When a worker suffers an injury that limits his ability to return to work, resulting in a reduction of income as a result of reduced hours or wages, the injured worker may be eligible to receive a benefit based on the difference between the worker's pre-injury earnings and their reduced, post-injury earnings. In Ohio, wage loss benefits are paid based upon 2/3 of the difference between the injured worker's pre-injury and post-injury wage, subject to a cap.
For some, more serious injuries, workers' compensation indemnity benefits may be paid according to a statutory schedule, instead of following the standard model of the weekly benefit based on the duration of the disability. Scheduled injuries include such injuries as the amputation of an arm, the loss of a dominant hand, the loss of a leg, the loss of a foot, the loss of an eye, or loss of hearing in an ear.
Coverage may be available for cumulative trauma, disfigurement, and occupational hearing loss.
When a worker dies as the result of a work-related injury, workers' compensation pays additional benefits, including a burial allowance, and benefits for a surviving spouse and dependents. Survivor benefits discretionary based on the facts of the case. If awarded, benefits may continue for minors until the age of 18, the age of 25 if the dependent is a student, or indefinitely in the event of disability. Spousal benefits end upon remarriage, and a lump sum benefit may be paid at that time.
If a deceased worker suffered a scheduled injury, the scheduled amount may be paid to the estate.
Attorney fees are not subject to any special limits.
This article provides a quick overview of the benefits available to injured workers, but the full formulas used for assessment of benefits, coordination of different types of benefits, and assessment of injuries and disability ratings can quickly complicate the determination of benefits. Also, states frequently revise their workers' compensation laws. Most workers who suffer a significant injury or wage loss as the result of a workplace injury will benefit from consulting a workers' compensation lawyer.
The state agency responsible for workers' compensation is:
Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation
30 West Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215-2256