Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Christian awarded workers' compensation benefits in vehicle crash

Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian was awarded $61,560 in workers' compensation benefits. Christian injured his neck and back driving to the state Capitol in 2009.
by Nolan Clay Published: July 23, 2012
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The judge agreed the exception applied to Christian's case because legislators are entitled to reimbursement for their mileage for one round trip per week to the Capitol. The judge ruled the exception applied even though Christian had waived reimbursement.

An attorney hired by CompSource Oklahoma had argued the exception did not apply to Christian's case because he was carpooling with his wife.

“Because claimant was commuting with his wife, who was to continue on to her place of employment in their personal vehicle, he could not have claimed mileage for the trip even if he had not waived his right since the trip did not serve a public purpose,” the attorney, Kristi Bynum Russell, contended.

The judge also ruled for Christian because the legislator testified he had with him in the car his state-owned computer and legislative papers he “used in performance of his legislative duties.”

Christian had testified in a deposition last year that he not know whether he had the computer in the car but he insisted in his testimony last week that he did have the computer.

The judge has been on the bench for four years. His order was filed Friday and made public Monday.

Christian said Monday evening, “I'm sure the judgment speaks for itself.”

Third time

It was the third time Christian had been awarded benefits in workers' compensation court.

Christian, a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper, was awarded $9,942 in benefits in 1998 for a permanent partial back injury, court records show.

Christian was hurt on April 2, 1996, when his patrol car was struck from behind during a traffic stop in Tulsa, records show.

In 2001, Christian was awarded $15,000 in benefits for permanent disabilities from a 1999 turnpike accident and from a 2000 arrest of a suspect, records show.

Christian did not file a workers' comp claim over the 2009 traffic accident for more than a year.

by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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