The state of Ohio this year adopted substantial changes to workers' compensation laws. On June 30, Gov. John R. Kasich signed a bill to fund the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. Many of the significant changes went into effect Sept. 29.
Our Dayton workers' compensation attorneys have examined the new law and provide a summary of highlights below.
Statute of limitations: One of the major changes involves the length of time you have to file a claim - known as the "statute of limitations." Lawmakers reduced the time to file for an injury or death from two years to one. You now must file the claim within one year of the date of your injury or of the date of death, according to the Ohio Legislative Commission's analysis of the bill.
The statute of limitations change means it's more important than ever to contact our attorneys as soon as possible after an accident at work. If you miss the one-year deadline, you lose your rights. Why else is it critical to consult with an attorney sooner than later? It takes time to gather evidence and carefully comb through the details of an injury or death claim at work. We dig deeper at Hochman & Plunkett. Let us put our experience to work for you.
Appeal of Industrial Commission order appeal: Either party now has 150 days to appeal an Industrial Commission order if one side gives notice of intent to settle a claim and the opposing party does not file an objection. Before the legislative changes, parties had to appeal an ICO decision to a Court of Common Pleas within 60 days. An objection would mean the traditional 60-day appeal process would apply.
Payments to incarcerated dependents: An incarcerated dependent would be ineligible for payments arising from a claim on or after Sept. 27, 2017. Prior to the new law, someone who was jailed or imprisoned as a result of a conviction in a state or federal court would remain eligible for payments.
Waiving the scheduling of a 90-day medical examination: The new law allows the Bureau of Workers' Compensation to waive a medical exam to evaluate an injured worker receiving Temporary Total Disability 90 days after the injury, unless the employer objects. The waiver applies to state-funded employers.
Handicap reimbursement: Settlement amounts will be considered an award of compensation for handicap reimbursements. This was prohibited prior to the changes this year.
Dismissal of applications for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD): An employee must schedule a medical examination with the BWC and follow up by attending the examination to receive PPD. A failure to schedule or attend the exam will result in a dismissal of an application for a PPD determination. Under the previous law, the claim was suspended, which extended the statute of limitations.
These are just a few highlights of the new law. Workers' compensation cases can be complex, which is why it's important to speak with an experienced attorney after an injury or after a loved one dies on the job.