Working Wage Loss – Job Search and Supplementation of Supporting Medical Evidence Requirements Upheld

In State of Ohio ex rel. Humphrey v. Indust. Comm. 2012-Ohio-2650, the Tenth Appellate District Court of Appeals ruled that a request for working wage loss in a worker’s compensation claim can be denied when the claimant does not engage in an adequate job search for the purpose of seeking work. Pay must be comparable to his or her former position and supplemental medical evidence must be filed every 180 days during the period being requested. In this case, the claimant obtained work, but did not present sufficient evidence of an ongoing job search as required by OAC 4125-1-01(C)(5). Simply obtaining a job within one’s medical restrictions under the allowed conditions is not enough. Also, if the job obtained is only part-time, the claimant has a duty to seek out full-time work in most instances. In this case, the claimant took a part-time job paying $8.50 per hour while his former position paid $19.58 per hour. The court acknowledges there are exceptions to this rule, but they are limited.

The court also held that when a claimant’s medical restrictions are permanent, OAC 4125-1-01 (C)(3) requires these restrictions to be supported by medical reports every 180 days. In this case, the claimant only submitted one supplemental medical report, which did not meet the requirement, and he was also barred the payment of working wage loss compensation. There has been a tendency by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) to not follow this portion of the rule when restrictions are permanent, and it should be challenged should this occur.

Should you have any questions, please contact any of our offices to discuss with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys.

Contact: Brian A. Tarian

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