Last updated Oct. 27, 2017.
If an injured worker’s injury or disability is caused by a failure of the employer to comply with some specific requirement of Ohio’s safety laws or codes adopted by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, additional compensation may be given to the worker known as a VSSR award.
A VSSR award is an award in addition to your traditional workers’ compensation benefits. It is designed to be punitive in nature to your employer for failing to provide proper safety in the workplace and at the same time, provide you, the injured worker, with additional compensation.
Application for the VSSR award should be filed immediately after the workers’ compensation claim and within two years of injury, disease, or death. Ohio law states that such additional compensation shall be no less than 15% or more than 50% of the regular award granted the worker. The rate of compensation is calculated on the statewide average weekly wage in effect at the time of injury regardless of the employee’s full or average weekly wage.
What You Need to Know about VSSR Awards
Here are three important points to keep in mind, from our decades of experience in handling thousands of workers’ compensation cases for injured Ohio workers:
- There is a two-year limitation on the time for the filing of an application for an additional award for the failure of the employer to comply with a specific requirement of one of Ohio’s safety codes. An application for a VSSR award must be file in addition to the regular application for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Co-workers should make a careful observation of the safety hazards at the time of the injury for future use in proving a code violation. If at all possible, the safety hazards should be documented immediately after an injury. This will prevent an unscrupulous employer from inserting a safety guard, or otherwise changing the original circumstance and then claiming that they existed at the time of the accident.
- As a VSSR award is designed to be punitive in nature, the code sections are interpreted strictly in favor of the employer. Anytime there is a belief that there has been a safety violation, an injured worker should consult an attorney. Proper knowledge of the VSSR code is essential to determining any possible violation as well as determining if there is potential for a direct lawsuit against any responsible parties.
Contact an Ohio Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today