There’s good news for injured workers from the Oklahoma Supreme Court. The Court has found unconstitutional a clause the Oklahoma legislature added to the state workers’ compensation law in 2014. The clause required that cumulative trauma cases in a workers’ compensation claim were not compensable unless the employee had been employed with that employer for at least 180 days
On March 1, 2016, the Court ruled the “180-day rule” within the statute violated the Due Process Section of the Oklahoma Constitution. The justices found the provision was not rationally related to the legitimate state interests of (1) preventing workers’ compensation fraud and (2) decreasing employers’ costs.
As a result of the ruling, employees do not have to spend a requisite number of days on the job to be able to receive damages for cumulative trauma injuries. Rather, a doctor stating that the person’s job was the cause of the workers’ cumulative trauma injury should be found compensable, all other factors being equal, such as no other problems in the person’s life that could be causing or has caused the injury.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion can be viewed in the Oklahoma State Courts Network.