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Ohio Workers Comp, Can You file A Work Injury Claim If You Get Injured Doing a Job Test


Can you file a BWC claim if you get injured doing a job test before you are hired ? That is can you recover compensation and medical benefits from such an injury.

The answer might surprise you. Its one of those areas of law where my expectations are completely wrong. The general rule with anything workers comp related is the answer depends. But the current body of Ohio BWC case law suggests that an injury sustained during a pre-employment physical, agility test, or pre-employment “try-out” test may be a compensable injury assuming the following factors:

  • -prior to the test an employment agreement had been reached, the person taking the test is under a contract for hire
  • the employer derives a real, substantivize benefit from the individual taking the test

There’s two scenarios discussed in the video. One involves an individual applying for a police officer position who became injured taking part in a pre-employment obstacle course. The court in the case, Dotson v. Conrad, indicated that the individual had not yet been hired. Assuming he’d successfully made it through the obstacle course he would still have to undergo an interview and background check, before he could be offered a position. The employer derived no benefit from him undertaking the obstacle course test. He was not performing police officer duties for the city. The court concluded that the potential employee subjected himself to the obstacle course for his own gain.

Again, eye opening. You apply for a job, are told that part of the hiring process requires you to do a physical test. The only reason you took the test is to get the job. You suffer what you think is a work injury , but now not only do you not have the job, but you also are not able to file an Ohio Workers Comp Claim. Considering that in the United States, and Ohio, most folks’ health insurance is tied up with their jobs, you may not even have personal health insurance. Seems like a pretty horrible outcome if you ask me.

The other factual situation is derived from an Industrial Commission Order, you can find it here by typing “Dotson” in the search bar and choosing the Full Commission Order that was heard on January 5, 2016.

If you can find the order, read it, pretty short. Otherwise, essentially this individual was looking to get hired on at a lumbar yard type facility. He applied for the job, as part of the hiring process he had to demonstrate he could cut a length of wood. He was instructed to observe current employees cut wood on a machine. He then was instructed to demonstrate he understood the process. He managed to lacerate and fracture his hand.

The full commission determined he did not have a workers comp claim: 1.) he had not yet been hired; and 2.) the employer derived no benefit from the employee doing the test. Yikes !!! This poor guy does not have a job, his hand is mangled, he may not have health insurance, he will not have a workers comp claim for his work injury. Horrible, horrible outcome. But that is the current state of this area of law in Ohio. Be careful out there. Very scary, very outcomes.

So maybe if you are required to do some pre-employment test, where there is a potential for a physical injury, you might think twice about undertaking the test. Maybe get some clarification from your potential employer whether you will be covered in case of an injury.

A video discussing this topic can be found here .

As with anything workers comp related, reach out to the attorneys at Malek & Malek if you have any questions at all. The consult is free. Don’t do this workers comp stuff alone, too complicated, too many ways that you can make a mistake.