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The Industrial Commission hearing process is fairly simple. Whenever there is an issue in dispute in a Workers' Compensation claim that issue will be addressed at a hearing before an Industrial Commission hearing officer. The disputed issue whether it be the allowance of the claim, or any other issue within the claim, will first be addressed by a District Hearing Officer(DHO). At that hearing, both sides can present evidence in support of their position on the disputed issue. The testimony of the injured worker and any other witnesses will be given and medical evidence will be presented. After all the evidence has been discussed, the DHO will make a decision and issue a written order of that decision. The decision will be mailed and the parties to the claim will receive that decision in approximately 7 days after the hearing.

Once the DHO order is received any party that disagrees with any part of the order can file an appeal of the DHO order within 14 days from receipt of the order. The appeal will be heard by an Industrial Commission Staff Hearing Officer(SHO). The hearing before the SHO is similar to the hearing that was held before the DHO. The testimony of all witnesses will given at the hearing and all parties can present evidence at the SHO hearing, just like at the DHO hearing. After all the evidence has been presented, the SHO will make a decision and issue a written order. The order will be mailed to all the parties and should be received by all the parties within 7 days from the date of the hearing.

Once the SHO order is received any party may file an appeal of the SHO order to the Industrial Commission of Ohio within 14 days of receipt of the SHO order. This appeal may or may not be heard before the Industrial Commission as the Industrial Commission has discretion as to which appeals will be heard. A great majority of the appeals filed with the Industrial Commission of Ohio are refused.

A work injury can affect every aspect of your life. Following these tips may give your claim a greater chance of being accepted, which means quicker treatment approval and quicker healing. When you are injured at work, your first action is to report the injury to someone. The best method is a written record but if that is not possible a verbal report should be given to the employer. Delays in reporting can cause a claim to be denied. Following the report, medical attention is essential. If you are injured you need to be seen by a doctor. The BWC/IC will only consider a medical diagnosis, by a doctor, not a nurse practitioner.

Once at the doctor, report a description of the injury. Injuries that just happen ARE NOT COMPENSABLE. For an injury to be a compensable WC claim, the injury must have been accidental and must have arisen out of or in the course of one's employment. It is not enough that an injury occurred while at work so be specific when reporting your injury to your doctor. Also it is important that the doctor know how you were injured so they can give a reliable opinion as to the allowed conditions and their relation to the work place accident. The doctors will then complete and submit to the BWC a First Report of Injury Form, and a claim number will be assigned to the injury. It is also recommended that the injured worker complete a First Report of Injury (FROI) form which is found at the BWC web site and submit it to the BWC. This will further support "reporting" an injury and will start the BWC processing for claim allowance. Most of the time, this FROI form is supplied by the medical provider.

Following your medical treatment, consider consulting an attorney. Workers’ Compensation has many time limits and forms that must be complied with to receive benefits. Similarly there are several other entities that are involved with the claim who will challenge all or part of the claim or treatment. Simply put, even if the employer agrees with the claim allowance, the other entities may appeal treatment or payment requests. You will need someone on your side to help you with your claim. Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., LPA has a team of well trained, well experienced attorneys and paralegals who will review your claim and fight for your benefits and treatment. NRS is aggressive in their representation, and will ensure that you receive all the benefits that are appropriate in your claim.

Most issues in a workers' compensation claim are decided at the Industrial Commission of Ohio in front of a single hearing officer.  These hearings are informal and brief.  However, many issues in a workers' compensation case can be appealed into the County Courts of Common Pleas and be set for trial in front of a jury.

Whenever a condition is at issue administratively (and administrative appeals have been exhausted), it can be appealed to court.  Then, instead of a hearing officer making the decision on whether to allow or disallow a condition, a jury makes the decision.  The jury answers a yes or no question regarding the right to participate in the workers' compensation system for that condition.

The court litigation process starts by the filing of a Notice of Appeal and Petition/Complaint on Appeal.   Sometimes, a person’s condition is granted administratively and their employer files it into court by filing the Notice of Appeal.  Regardless of who starts the court process, the claimant has to prove their case all over again.  After the court case starts, the discovery process begins.  The discovery process typically entails the answering of written questions known as “interrogatories” and providing documents in a “request for production of documents”.  After written discovery is complete, depositions typically take place.  A deposition is when a person is sworn under oath and answers questions while a court reporter is typing everything down.

After discovery, the parties typically explore settlement.  The majority of workers’ compensation cases in court settle prior to ever going to Trial.  Most courts require parties to pursue settlement.  In the event the case does not settle, then other options may be reviewed.  The other options include going to trial or delaying the case for one year.   It is not always economically feasible to appeal every issue into the Courts of Common Pleas, but the lawyers at Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg aggressively pursue this right for their clients - something that cannot be said of MANY local workers' compensation attorneys.

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