Can a Colorado-based worker collect benefits in Ohio for an accident in Cincinnati?
A medical science liaison was hired in Texas and moved to Colorado five years later. She was based in Colorado but the majority of her work required travel. She was occasionally asked to travel to Ohio for various reasons, including an annual national meeting. Over her eight-year career with the company, she spent 110 days in Ohio, but her time spent in Ohio decreased after she started her position as a liaison.
The liaison traveled to Ohio to attend an optional two-day class to provide financial and retirement guidance for employees. While in the company's general office, she lost her balance and fell while walking down a staircase on the way to the class. She incurred injuries. She received workers' compensation benefits from the company in Colorado under its self-insured workers' compensation program.
She also filed for benefits in Ohio -- where a worker who is a resident of another state and is insured under the workers' compensation laws of another state is not entitled to benefits if injured while temporarily in the state. The Industrial Commission denied her workers' compensation claim. The trial court also denied benefits.
Was the trial court correct in finding the liaison was not entitled to benefits?
A. No. The liaison was not temporarily in Ohio since she visited the state frequently for her work.
B. Yes. The liaison was temporarily in the state when she was injured because she was there for a two-day class.
C. Yes. The liaison received Colorado benefits, so she could not also be entitled to Ohio benefits.
How the court ruled: B. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the liaison was not entitled to benefits. Hardy v. Procter & Gamble Co., No. C-110047 (Ohio Ct. App. 10/21/11).
The court said that it was undisputed that the liaison was a resident of Colorado and insured under the workers' compensation laws of Colorado. The court said that to determine whether a worker is temporarily in Ohio for purposes of workers' compensation coverage depends on the length of time a worker was in the state or expected to be in the state at the time of the accident. Here, the liaison was only in Ohio for a two-day class, so she was temporarily in the state and precluded from seeking Ohio workers' compensation benefits.
A is incorrect. The court said that although the liaison spent 110 days working in Ohio prior to her injury, she was still temporarily in Ohio at the time she was injured.
C is incorrect. The court explained that although the liaison received benefits in her home state of Colorado, she could have received benefits in Ohio if she had not been working temporarily in the state.
Editor's note: This feature is not intended as instructional material or to replace legal advice.
December 1, 2011
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