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Lawmakers File New Workers’ Comp Bills

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Monday April 20, 2020.

Oklahoma lawmakers have filed a batch of new bills that could bring about changes for those seeking workers’ compensation or currently receiving benefits.

Earlier in 2020, lawmakers in Oklahoma introduced 17 pieces of legislation aimed at reforming the state’s workers’ compensation laws. In the months since, several of the bills have passed while others remain pending. OurOklahoma City workers’ compensation attorneys detail some of the proposed changes and what they could mean for you.

Proposed Changes to Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation

A group of state legislators took action toward amending Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation laws in January of 2020. A flurry of new workers’ compensation bills were introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, filed for consideration over the coming year. Dealing largely with administrative issues, three specific areas they address include:

  • Clearing red tape for workers who need chiropractic care. S.B. 1375 would include chiropractic treatments as an ‘allowable medical expenses,’ ensuring coverage of visits for injured workers.
  • Revamping the state’s Second Injury Fund: This fund covers workers with pre-existing conditions that occur as a result of previous injuries that result in impairments but were not sustained on the job. S.B. 1093 and S.B. 1237 would remove certain responsibility and fees paid to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, which currently oversees the fund.
  • Adding clarity to existing laws regarding workers’ compensation fraud. This would make failing to report changes in income and attempting to obtain coverage of treatment costs for medical conditions that are not associated with an on the job injury a felony in Oklahoma.

Since originally filing for these changes, additional bills have been added. As new legislation is introduced and brought before a vote, amendments to the current workers’ compensation laws could not only change how benefits are administered by the WCC, but could also impact your eligibility and the total amount you receive.

Oklahoma House Passes Bills Expanding Benefits

According to a March 14, 2020 Business Insurance news report, the Oklahoma House of Representatives has already acted in passing several bills. These expand benefits for workers in certain situations:

  • For first responders: Restrictions are loosened regarding mental health only workers’ compensation claims for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
  • For those who become addicted to opioids or narcotics as a result of injuries: Workers’ compensation will now pay for detox treatment.
  • For workers who suffer cumulative trauma injuries: In cases where job tasks performed over a 90-day period aggravate a workers previous injuries, the current employer and their insurer is liable for the entire costs of benefits.

In addition to these changes, newly passed laws also require workers’ compensation physicians to follow official guidelines when it comes to recommending treatments for patients.

Reach Out to Our Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Amidst changes in workers’ compensation laws, you can count on BDIW Law to help you get the benefits you are entitled to. Call or contact our Oklahoma City workers’ compensation attorneys to request a consultation today.