Thousands of employers in the state who were overcharged for workers compensation insurance premiums will have to wait at least a few more weeks before collecting a share of the $420 million court settlement, according to one of the attorneys involved.
The settlement in July ended a class-action lawsuit that dragged on for years. It created a fund to repay businesses that were overcharged for workers compensation premiums from July 2001 to June 2009.
The case had been settled last July. The deadline for filing a claim was in October, with the hope that the money would be paid in February or March. But Stuart Garson, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, tells The Columbus Dispatch that distributions probably will go out until the first half of May.
About 29,000 claims seeking $261 million were filed; 300,000 employers had been eligible in the case.
Garson said about 95 percent of the claims were mostly straightforward, but others have been more complicated to resolve. They include those involving businesses that have filed for bankruptcy and raise questions about who is entitled to the money.
“They have been difficult to process,” he said.
An earlier court ruling said Ohio’s state insurance fund for injured workers set up an illegal rating system that resulted in employers being overcharged nearly $860 million. The state settled the case last year rather than appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation administrator Steve Buehrer said at the time of the settlement that the state has made major changes to its system. Both sides said they were satisfied with the settlement.
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