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Governor DeWine Signs Significant Workers’ Compensation Changes into Law

By Susan Baker

July 7, 2020

A legislative effort to expand workers’ compensation coverage for post-exposure testing for peace officers, firefighters, and corrections officers who had come into contact with blood and bodily fluids, expanded significantly over the last few months to include a number of “clean up” changes to Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws. On June 16, 2020, Governor DeWine signed House Bill 81 into law, altering a number of important provisions effective September 14, 2020.

The changes can be summarized as follows:

  • The statute of limitations for filing an application for violation of specific safety requirement (VSSR) is reduced from two years to one year from the date of injury.
  • The voluntary abandonment doctrine for temporary total disability claims (which has been followed by Ohio’s courts for over two decades) has now been codified and supersedes any pre-existing judicial decisions on the issue.
  • The time in which to file an appeal from a final Industrial Commission Order to a court of common pleas may be extended from 60 to 150 days where a party provides notice of its intent to settle the claim and where no objection is filed by an opposing party. This applies to claims that are pending or arise after September 29, 2017.
  • Employers are prohibited from refusing or withdrawing from a proposed settlement agreement if:
    • the employee is no longer working for the employer, and
    • the claim is no longer within the “date of impact” for the employer’s experience rating.
  • Alters the date on which the Industrial Commission can invoke continuing jurisdiction to the date of medical services, rather than the date of payment.
  • Increases the funeral benefit cap from $5,000 to $7,500.

Please do not hesitate to contact your Critchfield workers’ compensation attorney should you have any questions regarding these important changes to Ohio’s workers’ compensation law.

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