When there are any disputes in an Ohio workers’ compensation claim, the particular disputed issue will be referred to the Industrial Commission of Ohio and the matter will be set for a hearing. The injured worker will receive a Notice of Hearing in the mail at least 14 days prior to the hearing. The Notice of Hearing will provide the date, time, and location of the hearing, along with the issue(s) to be heard at the hearing. Since the Covid 19 Pandemic, the Industrial Commission allows parties to participate at the hearing in person, on the telephone, or by using a virtual meeting host, called Webex.
The hearing will begin with the hearing officer making a record of all parties participating in the hearing and will outline the specific issues to be discussed at the hearing. After discussing these preliminary issues, the hearing officer will then allow the parties to make their arguments as to why the issue being heard should be decided one way or another.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer will likely take the matter under advisement and issue the decision in the mail. The injured worker should receive the Order in approximately 7-10 days after the hearing.
A few things to keep in mind at these hearings. First, the Hearing Officer only has jurisdiction to decide the issues noticed on the Notice of Hearing. Any issues not noticed on the Notice of Hearing will not be adjudicated at that hearing. All arguments should be focused solely on the particular issues being heard.
Second, be prepared to testify and respond to questions. If the injured worker is not represented by an attorney, then the injured worker will also need to be ready to present the evidence that has been collected and make a cogent argument why the hearing officer should decide the way the injured worker wants it to be decided.
Last, opposing parties will come to the hearing with years of experience and knowledge in winning hearings. If the injured worker does not fully understand the ins-and-outs of Ohio workers’ compensation laws, it will be hard to argue effectively. I highly recommend all injured workers retain legal representation for workers’ compensation claims and attend all hearings with an attorney. Workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and do not require an injured worker to give them any money to start working. Injured workers’ have nothing to lose.
If you have any questions regarding a hearing with the Industrial Commission, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
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