Temporary Total Disability & Voluntary Abandonment

Barkan Meizlish , May 19, 2015

Recently, the 10th Appellate District of the Court of Appeals of Ohio released a favorable decision for an injured worker who was determined to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (“MMI”) for his physical conditions, but not his allowed psychological conditions. In Cummins v. Lee, 2014-Ohio-5296 (2014), an employee was shot in the back during an attempted robbery while in the course of his employment. The employee suffered very serious physical and psychological problems as a result of the incident.

In this case, the physical conditions were determined to be “MMI” on January 25th 2009. However, on October 29th 2009, the employee’s workers’ compensation claim was allowed for post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), and he filed for Temporary Total Disability Compensation (“TTD”) which was granted. A significant gap in treatment followed, until the employee attempted to reinitiate treatment for his PTSD years later with his doctor.

Upon reinitiating treatment, the employee filed for TTD and was denied due to the lack of treatment, and alleged voluntary abandonment of his job. The employer argued that because he never returned to the workforce after February 27th 2010, the employee had voluntarily abandoned his position (the employer cited to Eckerly v. Indus. Comm., 105 Ohio St.3d 428 (2005)). However, the Court of Appeals determined that Eckerly did not apply, as the employee’s industrial injury had removed him from his job, as opposed to his own voluntary abandonment. As such, the Court issued a writ of mandamus ordering the commission to vacate its order, which denied the employee TTD and to re-determine whether or not relator is entitled to an award of TTD.

Thus, it is important to contact an attorney, should you have questions about temporary total disability compensation, voluntary abandonment, or any other issues regarding workers’ compensation. For more information, please see the Court of Appeals decision cited below.

Source: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/10/2014/2014-ohio-5296.pdf

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