Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation designed to overhaul the state’s workers’ compensation system, claiming that the move to an administrative system will dramatically reduce the costs to businesses statewide. However, those against the workers’ comp measure argue that the cost savings will come at the expense of injured workers in Oklahoma, whose benefits will reportedly be reduced by about $120 million as a result of the new bill. If you were injured on the job in Oklahoma, contact our knowledgeable attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center as soon as possible. Upcoming changes to Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system could significantly affect you and your family in the event of a workplace injury, so don’t hesitate to protect your legal rights today.
Understanding Workers’ Comp Changes
Beginning on February 1, 2014, workers’ compensation claims will be filed before an administrative body made up of three commissioners instead of before the current court of 10 judges. In addition to this major change, payouts to injured workers in Oklahoma would also be significantly altered – and in some cases reduced – once the legislation takes effect. For workers injured on the job in Oklahoma, medical and disability benefits awarded through the workers’ compensation system are essential for workers to cover the cost of medical care and lost income due to missed days at work. If these workers’ comp benefits are reduced, workers in Oklahoma may face a significant financial burden following an on-the-job accident.
Benefits for Injured Workers May be Reduced
According to Fallin, “S.B. 1062 completely overhauls our flawed workers’ comp system, dramatically reducing the costs to businesses and freeing up private-sector resources that can be invested in jobs rather than lawsuits. Additionally, our reforms ensure injured workers are treated fairly and given the medical care needed to return to work.” Those opposed to the legislation, however, claim that the new workers’ compensation bill doesn’t address medical costs, which make up nearly half of total system costs. According to an analysis by National Council on Compensation Insurance, nearly 98% of surface cost savings associated with the changes to the workers’ comp system come in the form of reductions in the amount paid to injured workers and the duration that workers’ compensation benefits can be collected.
Contact Our Attorneys Today for Legal Help
The Oklahoma workers’ compensation system provides critical financial assistance to workers who are injured on the job throughout the state. Unfortunately, changes implemented by Oklahoma lawmakers could ultimately end up hurting injured workers and their families. With Senate Bill 1062, Gov. Mary Fallin is initiating the most dramatic changes to workers’ compensation insurance in the history of Oklahoma, possibly at the expense of injured workers. If you have suffered workplace injuries in Oklahoma, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal on-the-job accident, consult our reputable lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center for legal help. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injuries and medical bills, which our attorneys can help you pursue.