November 20, 2023
In Ohio, when workers suffer a work injury, they are given temporary total benefits to make up for the loss of income. This benefit has been a bedrock of Ohio workers’ compensation law. One of the qualifications for securing temporary total benefits is that the worker must either be currently employed by the employer, be fired by the employer, or leave the employer’s employment because of the work injury.
In the past, when a worker quit after their injury or gave their two weeks’ notice and subsequently is injured at work, their path to temporary total benefits became murky. Ohio employees received good news from the Ohio Supreme Court in the case of The State Ex. Rel. Ohio State University v. Pratt.
In case, the employee, Lori Pratt, gave her two weeks’ notice indicating she was leaving The Ohio State University’s (“OSU”) employment at the end of two weeks. Subsequently, Ms. Pratt sustained a work injury, had surgery, and accepted an offer of employment from a different employer. The Ohio Industrial Commission awarded Ms. Pratt temporary total benefits and OSU appealed to the 10th District Court of Appeals. At the appellate court, OSU won, arguing that Mr. Pratt left OSU’s employment for reasons other than her work injury, and therefore was not eligible for workers’ compensation.
The Ohio Supreme Court reversed that decision and ruled in favor of Ms. Pratt. The Court found that Ms. Pratt was not voluntarily leaving the workforce as evidenced by her acceptance of employment at a different employer. She had merely left OSU’s employment position. The Ohio Supreme Court found that an employee must leave the workforce entirely and not merely an employer’s position, to be ineligible for temporary total benefits. Here Ms. Pratt clearly intended to return to the workforce and therefore was eligible for temporary total benefits.
These issues can be complicated. If you suffered an injury at work, even if you have quit that job or left for some other reason, it’s vital you call the Hurm Law Firm to ensure you’ve done everything to protect yourself and your family.