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What legal trends can we expect this year in workers’ compensation?

Feb 11, 2022 |

Last year was a busy year across the nation in workers’ compensation law. There were disputes over the types of compensation that should be included in benefits and many issues around marijuana. And, some of those trends will likely continue into 2022?

Exclusive remedy

Recently, there has been an uptick in cases that are challenging the constitutionality and scope of workers’ compensation being a worker’s exclusive remedy for compensation after a workplace injury. Courts have found that some employers cannot look to the exclusive remedy as protection for all liability. In one case, a Home Depot was found liable for negligence because they failed to get the contact information of a negligent third-party customer whose dog bit an employee. And, in other courts, judges found that contract employees were not bound by workers’ compensation’s exclusive remedy, and they could sue the employers directly.

Marijuana

As many of our Cleveland, Ohio, readers know, many states have legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. As a result, courts are trying to determine whether medical marijuana qualifies for workers’ compensation medical reimbursement. Courts have been split on this issue. Conversely, other employers are still firing employees over marijuana use in states where it is legal, which has also not been settled.

Air ambulance reimbursement

There is also a split amongst courts on whether air ambulances that are used as a result of a workplace injury are fully paid by workers’ compensation insurers. Some courts find that they are, but others disagree. On this point, the Fifth Circuit found that air carriers must be paid in full, but this is not a nation-wide policy.

Workers’ compensation law

For most Cleveland, Ohio, workers, they believe that workers’ compensation is fairly straight forward. However, every year, we find that “settled” law is not always so settled, but when help is needed, help is available.