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Time to try new workers' comp system in Oklahoma

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 20, 2013

Workers' compensation costs are regularly cited by Oklahoma companies large and small as their No. 1 concern. Our workers' comp rates are sixth-highest in the country according to one recent study. Despite a significant drop during the past 15 years in the number of claims filed per 100 workers, the average award has nearly tripled during that time — due largely to the litigious nature of the current system.

Burke was among those critical of the bill unveiled this week by Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore. You can expect much more howling from attorneys as the bill makes its way through the process, because the system works just fine for them. But it doesn't work nearly as well for employers. Balance is needed.

Transitioning away from a system driven by lawyers and judges will help. Oklahoma has tried many times to reform the current system, with little success. It's time to try something new.