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Jurisdiction and Workers’ Compensation

What happens when a workplace injury occurs in Ohio, but the employer is located in another state? Which state law applies? For example, what happens if you are a resident of Florida, employed by a Texas company, but injured while in the course of employment in Ohio?

Recently in Linardos v. Joe Tex, Inc. 12th Dist. No. CA2013-08-067, 2014-Ohio-4522, the Court of Appeals decided just that when it held that an injured worker who lived in Florida, was employed by a Texas company, and was injured while on the job in Ohio could participate in Ohio’s workers’ compensation system pursuant to R.C. 4123.54(H). The employer argued that because the employee was covered by a third-party insurance policy in Texas, the injured worker could not participate in Ohio workers’ compensation. However, the Court disagreed. Linardos at ¶ 5.

In its opinion, the Court stated that Ohio courts have interpreted R.C.4123.54 to preclude Ohio workers’ compensation for an employee when (1) the employee is a resident of a state other than Ohio; (2) the employee is insured in a state other than Ohio; and (3) the employee is only temporarily in Ohio. Wartman v. Anchor Motor Freight Co., 75 Ohio App.3d 177, 181 (6th Dist. 1991). All three of these conditions must exist to preclude an employee from receiving benefits in Ohio. Wartman at 181.  Because the employer in Linardos was covered by a private third-party insurance policy (legal in Texas) instead of Texas’ workers’ compensation system, the Court determined that the employee was not covered by a similar workers’ compensation law in Texas.

As a result, the employee in Linardos was allowed to participate in the Ohio workers’ compensation system, even though he was a resident of Florida and employed by a company in Texas. Thus, when an employee is injured in Ohio, but employed by an out-of-state employer, they can participate in the Ohio workers’ compensation system if they meet the criteria set forth cases like Wartman. Be sure to inquire about your employer’s policy, so you are aware of your rights as an employee.

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