The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is trying to figure out the impact of the April 16th. Supreme Court ruling that sided with an injured worker with a low IQ and limited reading skills who broke his leg in a fall at a Galion factory back in 1997. (See Article)
In that case, State ex rel. Wise v. Ryan, the injury was incurred in 2005, there had already been surgery, and Wise was receiving temporary total disability when he was approached by his employer’s third party administrator purporting final settlement of his claim. Wise settled his claim but did so without the benefit of an attorney’s assistance; five years later, with that assistance, he sought to reopen his case – which is where the current situation ended up.
Central to the case is ORC § 4123.65, which was amended two years ago. Wise was given a standard form from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which instructed the parties to “clearly set forth the circumstances by reason of which the proposed settlement is deemed desirable.” That portion of the form had been left blank. The Court found, too, that “the claimant had a fourth grade comprehension level, but the settlement agreement is obviously written in legal wording that is well beyond that which could be read & understood by a fourth-grader.”
“R.C. 4123.65(A)’s language is mandatory,” the Court said, “not permissive…. Moreover, the requirements of R.C. 4123.65 demand strict compliance.”