Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Permanent Total Disability

by michael on February 6, 2011

In a 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Ohio upheld the Industrial Commission’s finding of permanent total disability for an Ohio injured worker whose 1998 workplace accident resulted in a serious low back disability which made her medically incapable of all sustained remunerative employment.The medical reports relied upon by the IC described an extremely limited capacity for work “fraught with restrictions”.The low back medical history over the past 8 years did not demonstrate any periods of sustained functional capacity which would allow regular employment.

The employer argued that the claimant had non-allowed medical conditions of edema and respiratory dysfunction which contributed to her inability to work and to successfully complete a BVR program intended to to enhance her employability.The Supreme Court disagreed noting that the claimant’s physical incapability of performing all work solely due to the allowed conditions rendered the acquisition of a GED or completion of a job placement assistance program irrelevant to a PTD analysis as these are part of Stephenson factors(non-medical considerations) which need not be considered by the IC if the allowed conditions alone render the claimant incapable of all work.

With vocationally or educationally directed programs, the IC can consider whether the claimant is medically able to perform the type of work the program is intended to faciltate.

Note: IC considered that non-allowed medical conditions began only several months before first PTD medical report.IC also relied upon a rehab FCE report which concluded claimant had less than a  sedentary physical demand level for activity below the waist.

See, State ex el. Nissin Brake Ohio, Inc. v. Indus.Comm.,127 Ohio St.3d 285 (2010)

 

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