By Mick Proxmire
On March 26, 2020, in response to COVID-19, the Ohio House and Senate passed House Bill 197 (HB197). Governor DeWine, has not yet, but is expected to sign this. Section 22 (A)(1)(c) of HB197 will toll the statute of limitations that are set to expire between 3/9/20 and 7/30/20 and is retroactive to 3/9/20. The relevant portion of HB197 states “shall be tolled: (1) A statute of limitation, as follows: . . . (c) For any administrative action or proceeding, the period of limitation for the action or proceeding as provided under the Revised Code or the Administrative Code, if applicable.”
What does this mean to Ohio employers for workers’ compensation purposes? Any relevant statute of limitations, for administrative action or proceeding within the Ohio Revise or Administrative Code, related to workers’ compensation claims will not expire during the timeframe of 3/9/20 through 7/30/20. By way of example, an injured worker has one year from the date of injury to file a claim. If the claim occurred between 3/9/19 and 7/30/19 the timeframe to file the claim will not expire and will extend beyond the one year by the timeframe of the tolling. Similarly, an appeal of a right to participate decision of the Industrial Commission, to the court of common pleas, has a 60 day timeframe to file a Notice of Appeal. Now, should that 60 days be set to conclude on or after 3/9/20 it will be tolled until after 7/30/20. Maybe more importantly, to the day to day handling of a claim, is the timeframe in which hearings (proceedings) are to be set and heard related to motions, appeals or contested issues by the injured worker or the employer. HB197 now relieves the Industrial Commission of that timeframe for scheduling during the period of tolling.
These are just a few varied examples of the many aspects of workers’ compensation, that have a statute of limitations for administrative action or proceeding, and are impacted by HB197. Should you have questions, related to specific claim issues and the impact of HB197 please do not hesitate to contact one of Reminger’s Workers’ Compensation attorneys.