Garson Johnson Law Blog

Ohio Makes changes to Workers' Comp laws with HB 27

Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 27 changing 7 areas of Ohio workers' compensation law effective September 29, 2017. Here are the details you should know:

Deadline to File a Claim (Statute of Limitations)
Before 9/29/17:::::24 months (2 years) from Date of Injury (DOI)
After 9/29/17::::::::12 months (1 year) from Date of Injury (DOI)

Prior to September 29, 2017, injured workers had 2 years from the date of injury to file a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation. Now, you must file within 1 year. People in Ohio that are hurt on the job sometimes hesitate to file a workers comp claim for many reasons. With this new change, the employee should not "wait and see" how it goes. They need to file quickly to ensure the injury has been recorded and documented with their employer and Ohio BWC.Need to file a workers' comp claim? Visit Ohio BWC website to complete a First Report of Injury.

Time to File Appeals

Before 9/29/17::::: Within 60 days from final decision
After 9/29/17:::::::: Within 150 days from final decision
House Bill 27 extends the time period to file a claim from 60 days from final decision of the Industrial Commission to 150 days. However, this only applies if the injured worker or the employer files a notice of intent to settle the claim AND the other party does not object.To learn more about appeals and the industrial commission, visit Ohio BWC- Basics.​ 
Drug Testing
Before 9/29/17:::::Types and amounts of controlled substances did not comply with
Code of Federal Regulations
After 9/29/17::::::::Types and amounts of controlled substances COMPLY with Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
While this is a minor change to the law, it is important that employees know and understand their employers drug and alcohol policy. Many Ohio employers participate in the Drug Free Safety Program offered by the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. In addition, employers can seek to disallow a claim that involves a positive test for alcohol or certain controlled substances.
Did you fail a drug test after a workplace accident? Contact an experienced attorney today to discuss your options.
Permanent Partial Disability Applications

Before 9/29/17::::: Suspends PPD Application if IW Does Not Attend Exam Scheduled by BWC
After 9/29/17:::::::: Provides BWC Right to Dismiss Application Completely
When filing for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), the injured worker is not always available and/or able to make the scheduled exam. Prior to the new rule, BWC would suspend the application until the injured worker could re-schedule and attend a state medical examination. However, this new rule allows the BWC to completely dismiss the application if the injured worker is a "no-show" or misses the state doctor's examination. Apparently, this change is going to increase BWC ability to operate more efficiently and effectively. That is yet to be determined and very doubtful. However, the new rule will unfairly create a lengthier, more tedious process for the injured worker and his/her attorney causing delays in compensation.
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Receiving Workers Compensation Benefits while Incarcerated
Before 9/29/17:::::Dependents awarded workers comp benefits received $ regardless of confinement status

       After 9/29/17::::::::Incarcerated dependents cannot receive compensationFor many years, injured workers could not receive any workers' comp benefits while imprisoned. Now, the new rule applies this rule to dependents as well. In some workplace death cases, dependents are awarded compensation also known as death benefits. The revised statute suspends any death benefits paid to a dependent while that dependent is incarcerated. 
Waiver of 90 Day Exam

Before 9/29/17::::: Statute required BWC to schedule 90 day exam
After 9/29/17:::::::: Provides BWC right to waive 90 day exam with good cause
When an injured worker received Temporary Total Disability (TT) for 90 days, the BWC was required to schedule a 90 day exam with a state doctor. According to the Ohio BWC website, "This exam addresses a number of issues, including continuing compensation, return-to-work barriers and potential solutions, the need for further medical treatment or supportive care and the potential for rehabilitation."After 9/29/17, the HB 27 allows the BWC to waive the 90-day exam for good cause. However, the employer has the right to object, and then the exam will be scheduled. 
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Calculations of Full Weekly Wage 
Before 9/29/17:::::BWC would not pay Temporary Total without wage documentation

       After 9/29/17::::::::BWC will set rate at 33 1/3% of statewide average weekly wageIf an injured worker is awarded Temporary Total (TT) benefits due to a workplace injury, the BWC needs wage verification to determine the amount of weekly benefits. The benefits are calculated by determining the injured worker's full weekly wage (FWW). Sometimes, it is difficult and time consuming to collect documents, verify prior earnings and calculate the amount. The new statute allows the BWC to set the FWW at 33 1/3% of statewide average weekly wage. Once the actual FWW is determined, Ohio Revised Code 4123.56(E) allows for the amount to be adjusted.​To learn more about Temporary Total and the calculations visit, Ohio BWC. 
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Thanks to the hard working men and women of Ohio for allowing us to serve you. The workers comp system is very challenging. By no choice of their own, workers find themselves injured, off work, and desperate for answers and treatment. We are honored to focus on our clients not just their legal case. The best complement we receive is a referral from existing clients. The second best is their words of thanks and appreciation.

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