Ohio settles lawsuit over workers’ comp overcharging

Today’s post was shared by The Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and comes from www.dispatch.com

A years-long legal fight over allegations that hundreds of thousands of Ohio employers were overcharged workers’ compensation premiums from 2001 to 2009 was settled last night.

The state agreed to create a $420 million fund to pay claims to employers — many of them small businesses — that had sued over the premiums. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and a group called Pay Us Back Ohio BWC announced the agreement.

The $420 million is about half of the $860 million that a Cleveland judge had ordered the bureau to pay in March 2013.

An appeals court upheld the bulk of that ruling this spring but ordered a recalculation of the damages that reduced the award to $651 million. The bureau also had been pursuing an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court.

Both sides praised the settlement last night.

“Ohio has made major changes to its workers’ compensation system over the past several years,” Steve Buehrer, the bureau’s administrator and CEO, said in a statement. “The policies that were at issue in this litigation in 2007 are not the same ones in place today, and we’re pleased that we have reached a settlement so we can move forward. Improvements have been made to how premiums and discounts are calculated, as well as to billing practices, and premiums are continuing to go down as a result.

“Sound management of the trust fund made it possible to return $1 billion in rebates to customers last year, and major…

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