Many jobs require workers to travel outside Ohio, and there is no less risk of injury there than there would be at home. Actually, there may be a higher risk of injury, given that the employee is on the road and could be dealing with unfamiliar situations. Any Ohio employee engaged in a worked-related activity in another state—including travel—when injured is covered under Ohio workers’ comp. They would file the claim in Ohio just as they would a claim for an injury that happened in Ohio. However, these claims can get complicated, and there are a few situations where you might want to consult an Ohio workers’ comp attorney to be sure you are getting what you deserve.
What Is Extraterritorial Coverage?
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) includes extraterritorial coverage, meaning that Ohio employees are covered by the BWC when working temporarily outside of Ohio. There is no limit of time this coverage applies to employees working outside of Ohio, but it is not designed to cover employees who routinely perform work for an Ohio company outside of Ohio. Because workers’ compensation is a state-level program, however, each state has its own requirements, policies, and insurance companies. If you are working in another state for any period, your employer could get into trouble with that state if they don’t follow that state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Some states require that workers’ comp coverage be purchased in their state for any employee working there, no matter where their employer is located or how briefly they are there. While this is not really your concern as an injured worker—remember that you will be covered in Ohio—your employer could face penalties, fines, and even stop-work orders if that state discovers that they have uninsured workers there. If you go to the hospital in the state where you were injured and are asked if your injury was work-related, you should be honest and not worry about it triggering a problem for your employer. You will need accurate medical records to support your Ohio claim when you get back home.
What Is Other States Coverage?
Most Ohio companies have the option to buy Other States Coverage through the BWC. This policy prevents coverage gaps and protects the company from penalties and stop-work orders in other states. This coverage is particularly important for Ohio-based airlines and trucking companies, but any company that sends workers to other states should have Other States Coverage. If your company regularly has employees working in other states and they have not bought this optional coverage, then that is on them. You should not suffer because your employer has not complied with state laws.
Remember that just because a state is close by, it doesn’t mean we have a better workers’ comp relationship with them than states farther away. While West Virginia and Indiana do recognize Ohio BWC coverage for Ohio residents working temporarily in their states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky do not.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured in Another State?
The bottom line is that you are not responsible for understanding workers’ comp law in each state you travel to for work. If you are injured in another state while performing work-related duties—including a car accident on your way to or from a job site—for your Ohio employer, seek the closest medical care, answer the doctor’s or hospital’s questions honestly, and be ready to file a claim when you return to Ohio. In addition, probably also talk to an Ohio workers’ comp attorney about your situation.
Turn to a Trusted Columbus Workers’ Comp Law Firm
With over 30 years of experience as a workers' comp attorney in Ohio, I have helped people suffering from all kinds of injuries get the compensation they deserved. Contact Monast Law Office to discover how we can help you. Learn more by requesting a free copy of our book, The Worker's Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, then fill out our online contact form or call our Upper Arlington office at 614-334-4649 to get started.