Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants to Send Work Comp Claims to Civil Courts

April 21, 2010

Oklahoma State Rep. Ken Luttrell is proposing a complete overhaul of Oklahoma’s worker’s compensation system that would result in sending all workers’ compensation claims to district civil courts.

Luttrell has filed an amendment to Senate Bill 1973, expected to be considered in the House this week, that would revoke the entire current workers’ comp system.

“These are local claims involving local employers and local workers – so why should all those individuals have to travel to Oklahoma City or Tulsa to have a case heard?” said Luttrell, D-Ponca City. “I have faith in our local courts to handle these issues fairly.”

Luttrell said his amendment would be the most sweeping change ever made to Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system and would be a better alternative than the other proposals currently working through the legislative process.

“Rather than continually patching up the current system year after year, my legislation will give us a blank slate to work with that would benefit both employees and employers,” he said. “Any legitimately injured workers would be pleased to have a case heard locally and a business owner would prefer to be heard where their reputation for a safe workplace is known. And any workers’ comp attorney worth his salt would be excited to practice in his or her community.”

Luttrell noted that he has been to both Texas and Louisiana to examine their workers’ compensation systems, but believes his proposal is a better alternative than trying to pick and choose reforms from other states.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives

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