workers' comp

Court Ruling Could Change How Workers’ Comp Cases Are Heard

Jan 17, 2015
Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission
Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission

A district court ruling that could prove to significantly impact the way worker’s compensation cases are handled in Oklahoma may soon be heard by the state Supreme Court, according to officials at the Advisory Council on Workers’ Compensation.

A district judge ruled this month that Pottawatomie County man Darrell Duck’s injury while on the job at a Shawnee Hibdon Tire location was foreseeable, and therefore was not covered by the state’s workers’ compensation act, and concluded that Duck has a right to sue his employer for compensation.

Bob Burke, a workers’ comp lawyer and a former council member, said in a presentation to the council that Duck, who he is representing, was trying to loosen a bolt when he fell and was injured.

Burke said if Duck’s injury is not covered, then he is without remedy, which is in violation of a violation of the Constitution. “For every wrong, there’s a remedy,” Burke explained. “You’ve got to have some place to go to get a remedy.”

Oklahoma Workers Compensation Commission

The Oklahoma attorney general says state law requires the Workers Compensation Commission to open its meetings to the public.

The Tulsa World reports Attorney General Scott Pruitt's opinion ends two commissioners' desire to discuss appeals involving injured workers' cases in closed meetings.

The three-member commission has declined to hear appeals involving injured workers' cases, waiting for Pruitt's decision on the matter. The panel reversed its position Thursday, voting to hear at least eight out of 18 pending appeals.

Oklahoma Supreme Court 2013

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has upheld a plan to convert the state workers' compensation insurance agency into a mutual company.

The state's highest court handed down a decision Tuesday that affirms legislation adopted last year to convert CompSource Oklahoma into the CompSource Mutual Insurance Co. The new company would be organized under state law, but independent of the state. The change goes into effect on Jan. 1.

gavel lying on desk
steakpinball / Flickr Creative Commons

Opponents of Oklahoma's new workers' compensation law are asking the state Supreme Court to find it unconstitutional.

Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit that alleges the law violates the state Constitution and should be struck down.

Two state lawmakers and a firefighter's organization filed the lawsuit in September. The lawsuit says provisions of the new law would deny treatment and compensation to injured workers under certain circumstances.

Fallin Signs Sweeping Workers' Compensation Bill

May 6, 2013
Back injuries are a common workers' compensation claim.
Darcie / Flickr Creative Commons

Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law Monday a sweeping overhaul of the way Oklahoma treats workers hurt on the job. Senate Bill 1062 changes the state’s court-based workers’ compensation system to an administrative plan.

Supporters of the bill, including its authors, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman and House Speaker T.W. Shannon, say it will reduce costs for businesses.

But detractors, including many Democrats, say the new law saves money at the expense of injured workers and does nothing to reduce medical costs associated with workers’ compensation claims.

Senate Sends Workers' Comp Overhaul to Fallin

Apr 30, 2013
Back injuries are a common workers' compensation claim.
Darcie / Flickr Creative Commons

The Oklahoma Senate has approved a Republican-backed plan to overhaul the state's workers' compensation system, sending the proposal to Gov. Mary Fallin for her likely signature.

The nearly 300-page bill went through several rewrites and adjustments before passing the House, and the Senate approved the House version with a 35-12 vote Tuesday along party lines. All Democrats present opposed the bill.

Okla. GOP Leaders Agree on Tax Cuts for 2015

Apr 24, 2013
Gov. Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), and House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) announce their tax cut proposal in the Blue Room of the State Capitol - April 23, 2013.
Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

The Republican leaders at the State Capitol gathered in the Blue Room Tuesday to announce what they’re calling major agreements on several key proposals before lawmakers this session.

Gov. Mary Fallin, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) and House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) each took turns describing the plan to cut state income taxes, change the workers’ compensation system and repair the State Capitol.


The House Judiciary Committee this week approved workers' compensation legislation by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), but didn’t get in any hurry about it.

The novel-length bill that would move the decision on how to compensate injured workers from a court-based system to an administrative one is another step closer to being law. The hearing on the bill was delayed by two weeks while the House made changes to fix some problems in the plan.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin told members of the Oklahoma City Chamber she supports many of the changes contained in workers' compensation law making its way through the legislature.

"Oklahoma's ranked among the top states in the nation on workers' compensation premium costs," Fallin said. "I've told our legislators, and our Pro Tem, and our Speaker, 'If you get a bill to my desk that does those things, I am very supportive of moving toward an administrative system.'"

Fallin's comments on Feb. 21 were the first to endorse the plan outlined in a bill by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman of Sapulpa.