On June 30, 2017, Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 27 into law, not only funding the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), but also enacting a number of substantive changes. The new law became effective September 29, 2017. Below are some of the important substantive changes that are now law:
- Statute of limitations for filing a claim: For claims involving injuries or deaths occurring on or after September 29, 2017, the claimant must file the claim one year from the date of injury or the date of death. Prior to this change, claimants had two years to file their claim.
- Drug testing standards: The new law revises the list of prohibited controlled substances and the threshold limits to reflect the same list of prohibited controlled substances and threshold limits found in the Code of Federal Regulations.
- Allows BWC to waive 90-day examination: The BWC may now waive the 90-day exam for good cause. The employer has the authority to object to the BWC's waiver, and if the employer objects then the BWC must schedule the 90-day exam.
- Incarcerated dependents: The new law prohibits workers' compensation benefits from being paid to a deceased employee's dependent while the dependent is incarcerated as a result of a conviction of any state or federal criminal law.
- Extends deadline to file court appeal: Either party now has the ability to extend the time to file a final Industrial Commission order to the court of common pleas from 60 days to 150 days, but only if a party files a "notice of intent to settle" the claim within 30 days of receiving the final Industrial Commission order and the opposing party does not object.
- Handicap reimbursement: Under the new law, handicap reimbursement awards now apply to settlements if either the award or the settlement occurred after September 29, 2017.
- Dismissal of C-92 applications: The BWC now has the authority to dismiss C-92 applications if a claimant fails to attend a scheduled medical exam. Under the prior law, the BWC would simply suspend the application if the employer failed to attend the medical exam.
All employers should be informed of these new changes and should be aware of how these changes apply to their employees' claims. Please feel free to contact any of the Workers' Compensation attorneys at Coolidge Wall if you have any questions or want to discuss any portion of the new law.