BWC Claims Without a Lawyer

We are all familiar with the old proverb that “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.” A recent case out of Greene County, Ohio demonstrates how true this is with workers’ compensation claims.

In Amara v. ATK Space Systems the injured worker had a back injury in 2005. His BWC claim was allowed. In 2010 he sought to additionally recognize his claim for the additional condition of “disc herniation L4-5.” When this request was denied, he filed an appeal to the Greene County Court of Common Pleas. He did this all without a lawyer.

His case lingered on until 2013 when he failed to appear for court-ordered mediation or to respond to the Court’s request for an explanation as to why his case should not be dismissed. This was all repeated in 2014. In 2015 he sought to transfer venue to a Michigan U.S. District Court arguing that extensive pre-trial publicity would make it impossible to seat an impartial jury. Again, the Court dismissed his case. The injured worker appealed.

Ohio Revised Code § 4123.512 establishes jurisdiction of the injured workers’ claim in Ohio common pleas court. It is not possible to remove a case to another state. Moreover, since the injured worker’s case was dismissed “without prejudice,” he still retains the ability to refile in Greene County and ultimately have a jury decide its’ outcome…so long as he follows the right procedure.

This case has languished in and out of court for five years. Had the injured worker retained counsel, it is likely that this could have been resolved years ago. Workers’ compensation claims are complicated legal matters. Both the BWC and the employer have lawyers, and so should you.