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Which State Do You Apply for Workers’ Comp Benefits from If You Work Across State Lines?

April 12, 2021

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Ohio is bordered by five states—Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky. Although Ohio has a robust economy, many residents work in one of those five states. And while doing so can make sense for them financially, it can raise many questions and complications in certain situations, including if they get injured on the job.

Ohio and all of its border states have their own workers’ compensation requirements. That means that virtually all employers in these six states must purchase and maintain valid workers’ compensation benefits. However, the requirements for this insurance vary from state to state.

Apply for Benefits in the State Where You Work

If, for example, you live in Ohio but work in Michigan, you would apply for workers’ compensation benefits in Michigan since that’s where your employer is located. However, there are occasionally exceptions to this, and some employees may be eligible to file for benefits in their home states even if they get injured working in the states where their employers are located.

Your Eligibility May Vary Depending on Which State You Work In

Although Ohio and all of its border states require that employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance, the requirements for which employers must purchase benefits aren’t the same in all six states. Some states require that employers with even a single employee purchase workers’ compensation insurance, while others require it only of employers with three or more employees.

Michigan and West Virginia

If you work for a business with three or more employees in Michigan or West Virginia, your employer must purchase workers’ comp coverage.

Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky

If you work in Indiana, Pennsylvania, or Kentucky, your employer must purchase workers’ comp coverage, regardless of how many employees work there.

Status of an “Employee”

In addition to these requirements, each state also has its own requirements for employees like seasonal workers, agricultural workers, domestic workers, and more. Although the requirements are similar, there are minor differences that can apply in certain situations. We recommend speaking to one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys if you are unsure whether you are covered by workers’ compensation.

What If You Travel Across State Lines for Your Job?

Many employees in Ohio and its border states travel occasionally or frequently across state lines for their jobs (as opposed to commuting to their jobs which are exclusively based in other states). In these cases, employees who get hurt are typically eligible for benefits from the states where their employers are headquartered or located, even if they are working in other states for a prolonged time period.

However, they also may be eligible for benefits in the states where they are injured, especially if have worked in the state long enough to create a “substantial relationship” there.

The “WALSH” Test Can Help Clarify Your Eligibility

Because workers’ compensation is state-run and not federally run, it can be difficult to truly determine eligibility when multiple states are involved in the process. The “WALSH” test can help de-mystify the process. It stands for:

  • Worked—Where does the injured employee typically work?
  • Accident—Where did their accident or injury occur?
  • Lived—Where does the injured employee live?
  • Salaried—Where do the injured employee’s paychecks come from?
  • Hired—Where was the injured employee initially hired?

These questions are ranked in order of importance, and many workers’ compensation claims involving multiple states are settled by answering the first two or three questions.

Get a Lawyer and Protect Your Rights During this Complex Legal Process

When you get hurt on the job or while performing job-related duties, you probably don’t have the time or energy to worry about legal codes, state requirements, or eligibility in your home state compared to your state of employment. You’re too busy trying to get better and finding a way to replace your lost income and pay for your medical bills.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, it’s our job to worry about the legal process for you. We know Ohio’s workers’ compensation system inside and out, and we can help you pursue the benefits you’re owed if you’re an Ohio resident or if you simply work in this great state. You’ve been through enough, and you don’t need any more stress on your shoulders. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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