In the Summer of 2006, the Ohio Legislature took away significant rights of Injured Ohio Wrkers. Here are some of the highlights of the rights that your state legislators voted to take away. Check with your legislator to find out if he/she voted in favor of Senate Bill 7. If the answer is yes, you should assist in voting that legislator out of office.
Thorton v. Montville Plastics & Rubber, Inc., 2009-Ohio 360
A recent decision issued by the Supreme Court of Ohio has clarified the effective date of the recent changes to Ohio's workers' compensation laws pursuant to Senate Bill 7, but it has also raised some questions regarding the status of claims for aggravation of pre-existing conditions that arose between the new and old effective dates. The Court issued its decision in Thorton v. Montville Plastics & Rubber, Inc., 2009-Ohio 360, on February 5, 2009.
Briefly, in Thorton, the Supreme Court of Ohio concluded that the provisions in Senate Bill 7 apply prospectively, except that the provisions amending R.C. 4123.512(H) apply retroactively. Having found that most of Senate Bill 7 is prospective only and that Thorton's workers' compensation claim arose on June 27, 2005, before Senate Bill 7 became effective on August 25, 2006, the Supreme Court concluded that former R.C. 4123.512(D), and not amended R.C. 4123.512(D), applies to Thorton's claim, thereby allowing Thorton to voluntarily dismiss his complaint without prejudice and without securing permission from the employer.
The determination by the Supreme Court that Senate Bill 7 became effective on August 25, 2006 has significance beyond the limited issue determined by the Court in Thorton. Since the decision will apply to all presently existing claims, it calls into question what becomes of claims that arose between August 25, 2006 and October 10, 2006 in which a determination was made with regard to the "aggravation of a pre-existing condition."
Senate Bill 7 changed the standard for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition. The legislation requires that any aggravation be substantial in nature and be supported by
- objective diagnostic findings,
- objective clinical findings, or
- objective test results.
Prior to Thorton, the date to which the substantial aggravation standard applied was for claims on or after October 11, 2006. However, with the change in the effective date of Senate Bill 7, this means that claims which arose between August 25, 2006 and October 10, 2006, in which a determination was made with regard to the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, may have the potential to be revisited and reviewed under the heightened standard.
In order to secure a review of a decision made in a claim which arose between August 25, 2006 and October 10, 2006, and in which a determination was made with regard to the aggravation of a pre-existing condition under the previous "symptomatic aggravation" standard, a motion will have to be filed with the Industrial Commission of Ohio pursuant to R.C. 4123.52 asking that it exercise continuing jurisdiction to review and modify, if warranted, its determination with regard to the claim.
If you have been denied an aggravation of a pre-existing condition because your date of injury fell between August 26, 2006 and October 10, 2006, you should consult with a Workers' Compensation Specialist to determine your continuing rights and actions with regard to your claim.