Oklahoma senator pushes workers’ comp reform; Tennessee court rules on 'incomplete' forms

February 27, 2013

Oklahoma City – Some Oklahoma legislators are attempting to change the state’s process for deciding workers’ compensation cases, arguing that the current system is too adversarial.

The state's use of the judicial system to resolve workers’ comp cases incentivizes lawyers, drags out case lengths and increases costs, state Sen. Brian Bingman (R) wrote in an editorial published Feb. 22 in The Oklahoman.

Under the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act (S.B. 1062), introduced in early February, an administrative system would be implemented in which governor-appointed and Senate-approved commissioners and a series of administrative law judges would hear and decide compensation claims.

In other workers’ comp news, the Tennessee Supreme Court recently ruled (.pdf file) a lower court cannot set aside a workers’ comp settlement approved by the state’s Department of Labor based on a later independent finding that a statistical data form was incomplete. Department approval of a settlement implicitly approves the accompanying data form, the court said.