(A) A state fund employer or the employee of such an employer may file an application with the administrator of workers' compensation for approval of a final settlement of a claim under this chapter. The application shall include the settlement agreement, and except as otherwise specified in this division, be signed by the claimant and employer, and clearly set forth the circumstances by reason of which the proposed settlement is deemed desirable and that the parties agree to the terms of the settlement agreement. A claimant may file an application without an employer's signature in the following situations:
(1) The employer is no longer doing business in Ohio;
(2) The claim no longer is in the employer's industrial accident or occupational disease experience as provided in division (B) of section 4123.34 of the Revised Code and the claimant no longer is employed with that employer;
If a claimant files an application without an employer's signature, and the employer still is doing business in this state, the administrator shall send written notice of the application to the employer immediately upon receipt of the application. If the employer fails to respond to the notice within thirty days after the notice is sent, the application need not contain the employer's signature.
If a state fund employer or an employee of such an employer has not filed an application for a final settlement under this division, the administrator may file an application on behalf of the employer or the employee, provided that the administrator gives notice of the filing to the employer and the employee and to the representative of record of the employer and of the employee immediately upon the filing. An application filed by the administrator shall contain all of the information and signatures required of an employer or an employee who files an application under this division. Every self-insuring employer that enters into a final settlement agreement with an employee shall mail, within seven days of executing the agreement, a copy of the agreement to the administrator and the employee's representative. The administrator shall place the agreement into the claimant's file.
(B) Except as provided in divisions (C) and (D) of this section, a settlement agreed to under this section is binding upon all parties thereto and as to items, injuries, and occupational diseases to which the settlement applies.
(C) No settlement agreed to under division (A) of this section or agreed to by a self-insuring employer and the self-insuring employer's employee shall take effect until thirty days after the administrator approves the settlement for state fund employees and employers, or after the self-insuring employer and employee sign the final settlement agreement. During the thirty-day period, the employer, employee, or administrator, for state fund settlements, and the employer or employee, for self-insuring settlements, may withdraw consent to the settlement by an employer providing written notice to the employer's employee and the administrator or by an employee providing written notice to the employee's employer and the administrator, or by the administrator providing written notice to the state fund employer and employee. If an employee dies during the thirty-day waiting period following the approval of a settlement, the settlement can be voided by any party for good cause shown.
(D) At the time of agreement to any final settlement agreement under division (A) of this section or agreement between a self-insuring employer and the self-insuring employer's employee, the administrator, for state fund settlements, and the self-insuring employer, for self-insuring settlements, immediately shall send a copy of the agreement to the industrial commission who shall assign the matter to a staff hearing officer. The staff hearing officer shall determine, within the time limitations specified in division (C) of this section, whether the settlement agreement is or is not a gross miscarriage of justice. If the staff hearing officer determines within that time period that the settlement agreement is clearly unfair, the staff hearing officer shall issue an order disapproving the settlement agreement. If the staff hearing officer determines that the settlement agreement is not clearly unfair or fails to act within those time limits, the settlement agreement is approved.
(E) A settlement entered into under this section may pertain to one or more claims of a claimant, or one or more parts of a claim, or the compensation or benefits pertaining to either, or any combination thereof, provided that nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require a claimant to enter into a settlement agreement for every claim that has been filed with the bureau of workers' compensation by that claimant under Chapter 4121., 4123., 4127., or 4131. of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 10-01-1996; 2006 SB7 10-11-2006