Over the past several years, numerous individuals and organizations have lobbied state governments to pass measures that are potentially lucrative for businesses but potentially dangerous for workers. These lobbyists insist that it would be best for all involved if businesses were allowed to set the terms for how injuries are covered by compensation protections.
Thankfully, not all courts agree with this idea. In fact, the Oklahoma Supreme Court recently rejected the state law embracing this approach as unconstitutional, according to NPR. And Oklahoma isn't the only state rejecting these efforts. A number of states are striking down attempts to leave workers with inconsistent and potentially inadequate injury protections.
The Oklahoma case
The law that the Oklahoma Supreme Court recently struck down was flawed for a number of reasons. Not only did the law allow businesses to write their own protection standards, it allowed those businesses to dictate who was covered, which physicians they could be examined by, how disputes were resolved and how compensation was paid out. It does not take much imagination to grasp why this law could be potentially dangerous for workers and why this law could ultimately foster certain kinds of corruption.
This case illustrates why it is critical for workers to remain educated about their rights and to fight back when they are being treated unfairly. Workers' compensation rights tend to evolve over time, so their protections cannot be taken for granted. This is perhaps especially true now, as so many lobbyists are attempting to undercut the protections workers are currently entitled to.
Where workers go from here
Every injury case is unique. As a result, it is important to push for broad pro-worker protection reform at the state and federal levels, but it is also important to fight battles worth fighting on an individual basis.
Experienced attorneys are available to provide guidance when a worker is injured. This guidance can prove to be invaluable when businesses or insurers resist the idea of honoring their commitments to protect injured workers. And when complex laws like the Oklahoma law prove to be unjust, attorneys can help to ensure that these laws are scrutinized by bringing their clients' individual cases to the attention of the court.