Recently, Gov. Kasich signed into law the workers’ compensation budget. In addition to funding the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), the bill enacted a number of substantive changes to the law. These changes are effective Sept. 29, 2017. Below are some of the significant amendments impacting Ohio employers:
- Decreases statute of limitations: For claims with dates of injuries on or after Sept. 29, 2017, injured workers must file a claim application within one year of the date of injury. This is a reduction from the current two year time limit.
- Extends deadline to file court appeal if settling claim: The new law extends the time to appeal a final ICO order to the court of common pleas from 60 days to 150 days if the parties file a “notice of intent to settle” the claim within 30 days of receipt of the appealable order.
- Prohibits payment of compensation to incarcerated dependents: Previously, dependents were eligible to receive benefits even if incarcerated. Further, this law applies to incarcerations, regardless of whether in jail or prison.
- Permits the BWC to waive 90 day examinations: For state-funded employers, typically the BWC schedules an examination to evaluate an injured worker’s extent of disability after 90 days of being off work. Now the BWC can waive that examination unless the employer objects.
- Increases amounts included in handicap reimbursements: Settlement amounts are treated as a reducible cost for handicap reimbursements.
- Dismisses PPD applications: The BWC may now dismiss C-92 applications if an injured worker fails to attend a PPD examination. Previously these claims were suspended, thereby tolling the statute of limitations.
- Raises the maximum attorney fees for a successful court appeal to $5,000.
Most of these changes impact claims with dates of injuries occurring on or after Sept. 29, 2017. Employers should double check to determine whether rules governed by these new amendments apply or whether the former rules apply.