Effective September 11, 2008, Ohio has amended its Workers’ Compensation Act to provide coverage for out-of-state employees who are injured while temporarily working in Ohio. The new law will allow an out-of-state employee to receive compensation and/or benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws if the employee is a resident of a state that does not preclude the employee from receiving Ohio workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the new provisions, when a claim is filed by an out-of-state employee, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation will be required to determine whether the claimant could have also filed a claim in another state. (Interestingly, the statute does not address whether the employer must make this determination if the employer is self-insured.) If it is determined that the claimant could have filed in another state, the claimant will have 21 days to sign a waiver stating that he or she waives the ability to file a claim in the other state unless the Ohio claim is dismissed for reasons other than on the merits. Also, the law will prohibit an employee or the employee’s dependents from receiving compensation or benefits under Ohio’s workers’ compensation laws if he or she has received a decision on the merits of a similar claim in another state. If an employee receives compensation or benefits in both Ohio and another state, the law allows the Administrator or a self-insured employer to recover the amount of compensation and benefits paid to the claimant, along with any costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by the employer in contesting the Ohio claim.

The new law also allows employers to obtain extraterritorial coverage through an extraterritorial insurer or through the Administrator, so long as the employer submits written notice to the Administrator of its election of such coverage. For a comprehensive summary of the law, see the Ohio Legislative Service Commission’s Bill Analysis.