Today’s article was shared by Jon L Gelman, who practices law in New Jersey, and the blog post comes from workers-compensation.blogspot.com. This article is a good example of how states can dramatically vary in how they treat injured workers and even businesses when it comes to workers’ compensation systems. The trend seems to be towards businesses (or their insurance companies) gaining cost savings through decreasing protections of workers, or at least adding hoops for workers to jump through and also doing blanket denials of needed care for a hurt worker. like in this article “Opting Out” of Worker’s Compensation Hurts Workers and Employers (Part 2).
However, in Oklahoma, where workers’ compensation is no longer mandatory for businesses, there is some pushback coming from a couple of state senators and a firefighters’ group. It will be interesting to see what happens next in that state. And the example of Oklahoma is a good reason why, if workers suspect they have a case that might include more than one state, it’s important to speak with an attorney to figure out those details so the workers’ compensation case can move forward in the jurisdiction that makes the most sense for the situation.
The recently enacted, and high innovated cost-savings opt-out program in Oklahoma workers’ compensation has come under direct legal attack as being unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, Sen. Harry Coates (R-Seminole) joined Rep. Emily Virgin (D-Norman) and the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma in filing a challenge against the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1062, the workers’ compensation reform bill passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Fallin during the 2013 legislative session.
“As a longtime businessman, I recognize that it’s necessary to have workers’ compensation rates as low as possible. In fact, I believe we need a workers’ compensation administrative system, just not the unconstitutional and unworkable system created by Senate Bill 1062.
It’s wrong that a fire fighter or any other injured worker should have to pay back benefits after returning to work. This is just one of many problems with this new law.
Instead, I’d support a bill that would give Oklahoma an administrative system like that in Missouri, which is working very well only a few years after being approved by that legislature. Back in 2005 when Missouri went to an administrative system, The Oklahoman advised the Oklahoma legislature to adopt the Missouri workers’ compensation system. That was good advice!
In 2012, the often-quoted Oregon Study showed that while Oklahoma had the sixth highest workers’ compensation rates in the…