Like most states, Ohio makes it nearly impossible for an employee to sue their employer for negligence following an on-the-job injury or the diagnosis of an occupational illness. The same barriers exist for families who seek to file wrongful death lawsuits after losing loved ones to deadly workplace accidents.
Ohio law does, however, carve out a significant exception to the rules that broadly prohibit personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits when grounds for claiming workers’ compensation benefits exist. Specifically, section 2745.01 of the Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C) permits intentional tort claims.
In the most general terms, an intentional tort lawsuit is a demand for compensation from a personal or organization that meant to injure or kill the victim. Suing someone for the payment of medical bills after they deliberately physically attack you is an example of an intentional tort lawsuit.
O.R.C. 2745.01 provides a narrower definition of what constitutes an intentional tort in a workplace setting. According to the statute, grounds for a lawsuit exist when the victim can prove the employer/defendant intended to cause an injury or acted “with the belief that the injury was substantially certain to occur.”
The statute further explains that an employee or an employee’s family can sue an employer when the employer intentionally removes safety guards from equipment or deliberately misrepresents the health risks posed by a toxic substance. The state law characterizes those two actions as creating “a rebuttable presumption that the removal or misrepresentation was committed with intent to injure another.”
The phrase ‘rebuttal assumption (should say rebuttable presumption)” does a lot of work for defendants in intentional tort workers’ compensation cases in Ohio. Proving intent is always difficult, and employers will do all the law allows to portray their actions as honest mistakes. Some employers may go so far as to attempt to redirect blame on injured, ill, or deceased workers.
At Agee Clymer, our workers’ comp and personal injury attorneys will work with clients to hold employers accountable for intentionally harming them. We can never make guarantees regarding outcomes, but we have the staff, resources, and experience needed to pursue intentional tort claims.
You can schedule a free, no-pressure consultation by calling our Columbus, Ohio, offices at (614) 221-3318. Our workers’ compensation and intentional tort attorneys are available to advise and represent clients throughout Ohio, so feel free to connect with us online, as well.