After Lawsuit, Oklahoma Supreme Court Tosses Out Workers Comp Reform Bill
In September, the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a recently passed piece of workers comp legislation, Senate Bill 1062. Senator Harry Coates (R-Seminole), and Representative Emily Virgin (D-Norman) joined the lawsuit.
Now, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled to overturn the workers comp bill.
The bill was passed in the last legislative session, in May, and reportedly sought to reform the workers comp system in Oklahoma by replacing the court-based system with an administrative process. The bill also decreased benefits given to injured workers who filed for workers comp.
Part of the reason the bill was overturned, according to court records, was due to the bill allowing some employers to opt out of the workers comp system, which is in violation of the state constitution. Reportedly, the bill also violates the state constitution because it contains more than one subject, although all the subjects involved relate to workers comp in Oklahoma.
“There are some very, very disturbing aspects,” Oklahoma City attorney John McMurry said during oral arguments before referee Greg Albert. “There is a lot before the court in this particular case.”
What are Worker’s Compensation Benefits?
Workers compensation is an insurance policy your employer must carry to make sure that employees injured at work can obtain necessary medical treatment and financial assistance for lost wages, plus additional compensation for any work-related injury, sickness, or disease that causes total or partial impairment to work. South Carolina Workers’ Compensation is available regardless of fault when the injury arises out of, and in the course of, employment.
Workers’ Compensation claims should be a pain-free experience for injured workers. The employer should file a claim with their insurance company, the State Accident Fund and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
If the employer does not do so after you report your work injury, you may file a Workers’ Compensation Claim on your own behalf. However, this probably means that your employer is looking to deny the injury or accident. In which case, you may need a lawyer to help you fight two companies: your employer and your employers’ insurance company.
By law, every South Carolina employer with four or more full-time employees must have workers compensation insurance.
The protection provided under the South Carolina Workers Comp Act is only the beginning of your right to compensation for a workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation insurance benefits to assist the injured employee include:
- Medical treatment and other medical expenses (gas mileage, public transportation costs)
- Lost wages: 2/3 of an employee’s wages will be paid out after a seven-day waiting period
- Compensation for a permanent loss: blindness, loss of limb
- Death benefits to spouse and dependents
The Strom Law Firm Understands Worker’s Comp Legislation
The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.