Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Limits on Lawsuits Against Employers

 

In two separate decisions, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a 2005 state law limiting an employee’s ability to file a lawsuit against his employer when injured on the job. The court found that restricting an employee’s ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against his employer while he is still collecting workers’ compensation benefits does not violate the Ohio Constitution. According to the 2005 law, employees must prove that their employer acted with deliberate negligence, causing the work-related injury if they wish to file a lawsuit.

In their lawsuit, injured workers claimed the limits on their ability to sue their employers violated their rights when workplace conditions were egregious and highly likely to result in an injury. In both decisions, the justices overwhelmingly ruled in favor of the limits imposed by the 2005 law.

The main justification for upholding these limits related to the unique nature of workers’ compensation laws. According to the court, workers’ compensation laws are intended to create a compromise between employers and employees. Employees give up their right to sue, resulting in a potentially smaller financial recovery. However, they are much more likely to receive reasonable compensation for their injuries. Employers give up their ability to defend themselves against these claims, but in return they are shielded from unlimited liability.

The justices also argued that since workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, it doesn’t matter whether the employer’s negligence directly caused the injury. There are also instances where an employee is able to receive benefits even when his actions directly caused the injury.

It seems that in this case, the Ohio Supreme Court correctly upheld the spirit and the letter of workers’ compensation law.

Written by Andrew Martin: professional blogger and guru of misfortune.