It’s been said that if both sides in a dispute are unhappy with you, you must be doing something right. That could be the situation involving the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) since it faces two separate lawsuits …
one filed by workers, the other by employers.
The BWC has had a lump sum payment program for injured workers since 1994.
Workers are offered a lump sum payment instead of getting checks every other week.
Since these cases apply to permanently injured workers, the BWC has to estimate what lifetime benefits would be for each person.
A lawyer is seeking to file a class action lawsuit, alleging that the BWC offered much less than the workers were entitled to receive.
One videotaped deposition shows a BWC official admitting the bureau routinely offered injured workers only 70% of what they were legally entitled to receive. However, the official says the offers were just starting points: The final payment amount could go up or down.
However, a former BWC employee says he and his colleagues were trained never to go above 70% according to a sworn affidavit. In 12 years he performed lump-sum settlements, no one ever received more than 70%, according for the former employee’s statement.
Employers on the other hand are complaining the BWC has cheated them out of $200 million a year.
Their lawsuit accuses the bureau of giving discounts of up to 95% on workers’ comp insurance to businesses with good safety records, then sticking it to other employers by jacking up their rates.
By some estimates, the BWC forced 2,500 businesses per year to shut down.