The Ohio Industrial Commission is responsible for conducting hearings on disputed claims issues related to workers' compensation. These hearings serve as a forum for parties to present their cases and resolve disputes regarding workers' compensation benefits.

Who makes the initial decision in state fund claims?

In state fund claims, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) typically makes the initial decision regarding the claim. However, in some cases, the BWC may refer an issue to the Industrial Commission for a hearing without making a decision.

What happens in self-insured employer claims?

In self-insured employer claims, the self-insurer is responsible for making the initial decision regarding the claim. This means that the self-insured employer assesses and decides on the eligibility of workers' compensation benefits for their employees.

Can any party appeal an unfavorable decision in a workers' compensation case?

Yes, any party involved in a workers' compensation case has the right to appeal an unfavorable decision. This includes injured workers, employers, or other relevant parties who may disagree with the outcome of a claim or hearing.

What are the different levels of administrative hearings in workers' compensation cases?

Workers' compensation cases typically progress through a series of administrative hearing levels:

  • District Hearing Officer (DHO): For most matters, the initial hearing is conducted by a District Hearing Officer (DHO). The DHO reviews the evidence and hears arguments from both sides before issuing a decision.
  • Staff Hearing Officer (SHO): If a party is dissatisfied with the DHO's decision, they can appeal to the Staff Hearing Officer (SHO). The SHO reviews the DHO's order and any additional evidence or arguments before making a determination.
  • Commission Level Hearing: The final stage of administrative hearings in workers' compensation cases involves a discretionary appeal from the SHO to the Industrial Commission (IC). If parties remain dissatisfied with the decision made at the SHO level, they can request a review by the Industrial Commission, which consists of three Commissioners.  Unlike District and Staff Level hearings, which are guaranteed to injured workers and employers, Commission Level hearings are granted on a discretionary basis. This means that the Commissioners of the Industrial Commission have the authority to decide whether to hear an appeal or not.

Are there specific time deadlines for filing appeals?

Yes, it's crucial to be aware that strict time deadlines apply to filing appeals in workers' compensation cases. Missing the time limit for filing an appeal can result in the loss of the right to appeal. To ensure you meet the deadlines for filing appeals, it's advisable to consult with legal counsel or seek guidance from the relevant authorities. Timely action is essential to protect your rights in the appeals process.

Please note that this FAQ provides general information about workers' compensation hearings and appeals and should not be considered legal advice. For specific questions or concerns related to your case, it is recommended to consult with an attorney.

Would You Like to Speak to an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Attorney? 

At Justice Law Firm, we believe employers who fail to comply with state laws regarding workers’ compensation benefits should be held accountable for their actions. If you’re having trouble getting your workers’ comp claim approved or believe your employer is retaliating against you for seeking benefits, we’re here to help. Call our office at 614-543-1320, or complete our online contact form at any time.