Ohio: Total Loss of Use of Rotator Cuff Does Not Mean Loss of Use of Arm

In Ohio, with the exceptions of hearing and sight, scheduled loss compensation was originally limited to amputation. More recently, however, (see State ex rel. Kroger Co. v. Johnson, 128 Ohio St.3d 243, 2011 Ohio 530, 943 N.E.2d 541], coverage has been expanded to include loss of use without actual severance where the effect is the same as if there had been an amputation or other physical removal of the limb. Nor is it necessary that the injured member be of absolutely no use in order for the injured worker to have lost the use of it for all practical intents and purposes [see State ex rel. Alcoa Bldg. Prods. v. Indus. Comm., 102 Ohio St.3d 341, 2004 Ohio 3166, 810 N.E.2d 946].

In a recent case, State ex rel. Wyrick v. Industrial Comm’n, 2012 Ohio 4127; 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 3639 (Sept. 11, 2012), an Ohio appellate court has affirmed a denial by the state Industrial Commission of a scheduled loss claim related to claimant’s left upper extremity. The claimant’s physician opined that the claimant had lost the functional use of the extremity. The Commission’s physician agreed that there was a clear loss of the left rotator cuff, but indicated that claimant had significant remaining function of the extremity, with no limitation in the use of the forearm, wrist, and hand, as long as the elbow was at wrist level. The appellate court held that the opinion by the Commission’s decision constituted some evidence upon which the Commission could rely.

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