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Hearing Process Archives

What to expect at your first workers' compensation hearing

Knowing what to expect at your first workers' compensation hearing is important in helping to understand how the workers' compensation process works. When a hearing is scheduled, it is scheduled because the parties to the claim (the injured worker, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, or the employer) do not agree over some aspect of the claim. The dispute can be a large issue (for example, should the claim be allowed in the first place?) or a smaller issue (for example, should a specific doctor's bill be processed under workers' compensation?).

The Industrial Commission hearing process

In the Ohio workers' compensation system, there are two separate entities responsible for the handling of workers' compensation claims. The Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) handles the processing of claims and premium payments by employers while the Industrial Commission (IC) resolves disputes between parties to a claim. The Commission resolves such disputes through its hearing process.

What do I do when I am injured on the job?

If you are injured on the job, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention, especially if your injury is severe. Second, your supervisor should be notified about your injury and the way in which it occurred. Next, you should complete the appropriate claim forms to participate in the workers' compensation system.

Who may appeal the decision of the Industrial Commission?

Revised Code § 4123.512 provides that the claimant, the employer, or both may appeal a decision of the Industrial Commission to a court of common pleas. Although the Administrator may prosecute an administrative appeal, the Ohio Revised Code does not afford the Administrator a right of appeal to a court of common pleas. 

The hearing process

Upon receiving a claim, the Industrial Commission is required to refer the file to an "appropriate district hearing officer" in accordance with rules adopted by the Commission under R.C. § 4121.36. The Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) identifies what an "appropriate district hearing officer" is. The OAC requires the scheduling of hearings before a district hearing officer from the Industrial Commission service office in the city nearest the claimant's residence, or for out-of-state claimants, from the service office nearest the claimant's home if the service office is within one hundred and fifty miles thereof, or in Columbus for those claimants who live more than one hundred and fifty miles from an Industrial Commission service office, unless otherwise directed.

If my claim is disallowed what can I do?

If your claim was disallowed, you may want to file an appeal. Once you have received the BWC order disallowing your claim, you have 14 days to file an appeal if you disagree with the decision. You may file the appeal online through the Industrial Commission Online Network (I.C.O.N.), or you may file an appeal in writing. To file an appeal in writing you must print the Notice of Appeal (IC-2) form, fill it out and send the form to any Industrial Commission service office. Once the Industrial Commission receives your appeal, they will notify you of the time, date, and location of your hearing. 

Must the BWC Comply with Due Process Requirements?

Yes, due process must be provided when the legal rights of the injured worker or employer are affected. All parties must be given timely and appropriate notice of the decision and provided an opportunity to raise issues in an appropriate manner. BWC provides due process by:

The Hearing Process

Upon receiving a claim, the Industrial Commission is required to refer the file to an "appropriate district hearing officer" in accordance with rules adopted by the Commission under R.C. § 4121.36. The Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) identifies what an "appropriate district hearing officer" is. The OAC requires the scheduling of hearings before a district hearing officer from the Industrial Commission service office in the city nearest the claimant's residence, or for out-of-state claimants, from the service office nearest the claimant's home if the service office is within one hundred and fifty miles thereof, or in Columbus for those claimants who live more than one hundred and fifty miles from an Industrial Commission service office, unless otherwise directed.

Staff Hearing Officers

The Staff Hearing Officer holds hearings and rules on disputed matters. A party unhappy with a District Hearing Officer decision can appeal to the Staff Hearing Officer (SHO). The Staff Hearing Officer hearing is the second level of decision making at the Industrial Commission. A party unhappy with a Staff Hearing Officer decision can appeal to the Industrial Commission. A SHO must have the same qualifications as district hearing officers, including being admitted to the practice of law in Ohio. Staff Hearing Officers exercise original jurisdiction over the following matters: applications for permanent total disability awards; appeals from district hearing officer orders; applications for VSSR awards; application for reconsideration of permanent partial disability awards; and reviews of settlement agreements approved by the Administrator pursuant to R.C. § 4121.65. 

District Hearing Officers

The District Hearing Officer (DHO) is classified as a state civil servant. DHOs are full-time employees of the Industrial Commission and all must be admitted to practice law in Ohio. The District Hearing Officer holds hearings and rules on disputed matters within a workers' compensation claim. The DHO hearing is the first level of decision making at the Industrial Commission. A party unhappy with a District Hearing Officer order can appeal to the Staff Hearing Officer

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The Bainbridge Firm, LLC

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900 Michigan Avenue
Columbus, OH 43215

Toll Free: 800-762-1612
Phone: 614-545-9990
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