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Ohio Worker’s Compensation – A Description of the Appeal Process

April 23rd, 2022

The Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC) in concert with the Ohio Industrial Commission is responsible for administering Ohio’s Worker’s Compensation System.

For all injured workers employed by a state funded employer, the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation will make the initial determination on whether an injury is compensable. At this point either the employer or employee can appeal the decision to the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC), which will set up a hearing in front of a District Hearing Officer or DHO. The DHO will issues his or her order within 7 days. If either the employee or employer is not satisfied with the order, they can begin the appeal process as described below.

Appeal Process

The Ohio Revised Code and Worker’s Compensation regulations guarantee all employers and injured employees have the right to appeal the order of the DHO. If either the employee or employer is not satisfied with the decision, they may appeal to a Staff Hearing Officer. This appeal must be timely filed, and the party has fourteen days to do so. All that is necessary is to file an appeal form with the Industrial Commission within the fourteen day appeal period. The form can be filed in person, by fax, or online.

Staff Hearing Officer

A hearing before a Staff Hearing Officer will be scheduled within 45 days from the filing of an appeal of the District Hearing Officer decision. A Staff Hearing will proceed exactly as the District Hearing did. Each side will get an opportunity to present their case, and the Staff Hearing Officer (SHO) will ask any questions which he or she feels necessary to reach a decision.

As with a District Hearing, the SHO will issue an order or Record of Proceedings within seven days. The Industrial Commission will then notify all parties in writing of the SHO decision. Once again, any party that is not satisfied may appeal the SHO order, but must do so within fourteen days.

The Commission

The final level of appeal is directly to the Industrial Commission. If a party files a timely appeal the Commission will decide whether or not to hear the case. As a practical matter the Commission rarely agrees to hear these appeals. On the other hand, if the Commission does, it proceeds as do the District & Staff hearings. They are heard within 45 days of an appeal, and a decision is rendered within seven days of the hearing.