Dependents of Ohio Worker Who Lived 4.5 Hours After Fall Awarded 1,225 Weeks of PPD Benefits

Continuing a line of decisions that have awarded permanent partial disability benefits to dependents of workers who sustain fatal injuries in a work-related incident, but who survive the incident for brief periods of time, an Ohio court has affirmed an award of 1,225 weeks of PPD benefits to the widow of a 63-year-old demolition worker for loss of use of the worker’s arms, legs, eyes and ears pursuant to R.C. 4123.57(B), where the worker sustained catastrophic injuries to his head when he fell 30 feet from a roof and died four and one-half hours later [State ex rel. Arberia, LLC v. Industrial Comm’n, 2014-Ohio–5351, 2014 Ohio App. LEXIS 5177 (Dec. 4, 2014)]. The award was in addition to death benefits the widow was also awarded.

Finding that the facts were quite similar to those in State ex rel. Moorehead v. Industrial Comm’n, 112 Ohio St.3d 27, 857 N.E.2d 1203 (2006), in which the Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed an award of PPD benefits to the widow of a worker who suffered a spinal cord injury in a fall that rendered the worker a quadriplegic for the 90 minutes he lived following a fall, the appellate court indicated that while scheduled loss awards are usually designed to be distributed on a weekly basis, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation may commute an award to a lump-sum payment. Moreover, there was no duplication between the PPD award and the death benefits to which the widow was also entitled.

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