The Appeals Process


Did you know that most Industrial Commission (IC) hearings take place in a small hearing room with a few people present? Our hearings are much different than you might see in a common courtroom. They are informal, quasi-judicial, and less intimidating, while still providing sufficient opportunity for injured workers and employers to present their positions on the claims under review.

Working under the authority and guidance of the Ohio Legislature and the Ohio Revised Code, the IC utilizes a structured hearing process to resolve disputed workers' compensation claims. For a detailed breakdown of the hearing process, check out the IC’s informational Fact Sheets

After receiving a workplace injury claim, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issues an order regarding payment of the claim. An injured worker or employer who disagrees with the order may appeal the decision to the Industrial Commission and request a hearing to evaluate the merits of the claim.

Anyone wishing to appeal a claim to the IC should file Form IC-12 (located on the Forms page) with a local IC office, or file the appeal online by accessing ICON.

If the IC has already decided your case and you wish to appeal the IC decision, access ICON to file an appeal online, or click Hearing Levels for further information on the levels of appeals.

If you are filing a Permanent Total Disability (PTD) application, please review our Permanent Total Disability guidelines.

The state's five hearing administrators help to ensure a smooth and timely hearing process. Hearing administrators review and process requests to continue (postpone) and cancel hearings, and issue subpoenas, depositions, and interrogatories.

Legal representation is not required for IC hearings. However, parties may choose to be represented by an attorney or other authorized person.

District-level and staff-level hearings are generally held at the local office closest to the injured worker's home. For more information on the hearing levels, visit the Hearing Levels page.

The IC may request that injured workers undergo a medical examination to determine the extent or nature of the injured worker's workplace injury or disease.

Injured workers are required to attend any exam scheduled by the IC. The Ohio Revised Code specifies that compensation may be suspended if the injured worker refuses or obstructs a medical exam relating to a workers' compensation claim.

An IC-ordered exam is performed by a medical professional at no cost to the injured worker. Qualified travel, lodging and food expenses may be authorized for reimbursement by the IC.

If you require foreign language interpreting services or hearing impaired services at your medical examination, you must request this service prior to the exam. Requests can be made electronically through ICON, or by faxing a copy of the appropriate form, found by visiting the Forms page, to 614-728-7004. If you have questions regarding these services, please contact Customer Service at 1-800-521-2691.

The Hearing administrator may issue compliance letters granting parties the right to depose or submit interrogatories to a BWC or IC physician. Furthermore, a hearing administrator may issue compliance letters when an injured worker fails to sign medical releases or attend required examinations.

IC guidelines require that a hearing notification be mailed to the concerned parties at least 14 days prior to the hearing. The notice will state the date, time, and location of the hearing, as well as the issues in dispute. If the IC rules on a case without you having received your hearing notice in a timely manner, you may submit a Request for .522/.52 Relief Form (located on the Forms page) asking for a new hearing, or file that request online through ICON.

All parties will be notified of the hearing officer's decision via US mail.

Please see Hearing Levels for details on appealing IC decisions or filing an appeal online through ICON.

Whenever the IC grants an injured worker's appeal, compensation is paid after the order is issued, even if an opposing party appeals the action.

Medical payments are payable when ordered by a staff hearing officer.

The Office of the Ombudsperson serves as an impartial liaison between the injured worker or employer, and BWC or IC. If you feel your claim is not being handled properly by either agency, or have inquiries about your claim that are not being resolved, the Ombudsperson may be able to help.