2013 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 85A - Administrative Workers' Compensation System


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<html> <head> <STYLE type="text/css"> body {padding-left:90pt;width:612pt} p {margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt} .cls0 {font-size:12pt;font-family:'Courier New', monospace;} .cls1 {margin-left:100pt;} .cls2 {margin-left:136pt;} .cls3 {margin-left:172pt;} </STYLE> <title>&sect;85A-1</title> </head> <body> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-1. Short title - Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Sections 1 through 106 and 150 through 168 of this act shall be known and may be cited as the "Administrative Workers' Compensation Act". The provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall be strictly construed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 1.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-2. Definitions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">As used in the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. "Actually dependent" means a surviving spouse, a child or any other person who receives one-half (1/2) or more of his or her support from the employee;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. "Carrier" means any stock company, mutual company, or reciprocal or interinsurance exchange authorized to write or carry on the business of workers' compensation insurance in this state. Whenever required by the context, the term "carrier" shall be deemed to include duly qualified self-insureds or self-insured groups;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. "Case management" means the ongoing coordination, by a case manager, of health care services provided to an injured or disabled worker, including but not limited to systematically monitoring the treatment rendered and the medical progress of the injured or disabled worker; ensuring that any treatment plan follows all appropriate treatment protocols, utilization controls and practice parameters; assessing whether alternative health care services are appropriate and delivered in a cost-effective manner based upon acceptable medical standards; and ensuring that the injured or disabled worker is following the prescribed health care plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. "Case manager" means a person who is a registered nurse with a current, active unencumbered license from the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, or possesses one or more of the following certifications which indicate the individual has a minimum number of years of case management experience, has passed a national competency test and regularly obtains continuing education hours to maintain certification:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS),&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;Certified Case Manager (CCM),&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN),&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;Case Manager - Certified (CMC),&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN), or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">f.&nbsp;&nbsp;Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist (COHN-S);&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. "Certified workplace medical plan" means an organization of health care providers or any other entity, certified by the State Commissioner of Health, that is authorized to enter into a contractual agreement with an employer, group self-insurance association plan, an employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier, third-party administrator or an insured to provide medical care under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act. Certified plans shall only include plans which provide medical services and payment for services on a fee-for-service basis to medical providers;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. "Child" means a natural or adopted son or daughter of the employee under eighteen (18) years of age; or a natural or adopted son or daughter of an employee eighteen (18) years of age or over who is physically or mentally incapable of self-support; or any natural or adopted son or daughter of an employee eighteen (18) years of age or over who is actually dependent; or any natural or adopted son or daughter of an employee between eighteen (18) and twenty-three (23) years of age who is enrolled as a full-time student in any accredited educational institution. The term "child" includes a posthumous child, a child legally adopted or one for whom adoption proceedings are pending at the time of death, an actually dependent stepchild or an actually dependent acknowledged child born out of wedlock;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. "Claimant" means a person who claims benefits for an injury or occupational disease pursuant to the provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. "Commission" means the Workers' Compensation Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">9.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;"Compensable injury" means damage or harm to the physical structure of the body, or prosthetic appliances, including eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids, caused solely as the result of either an accident, cumulative trauma or occupational disease arising out of the course and scope of employment. An "accident" means an event involving factors external to the employee that:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;was unintended, unanticipated, unforeseen, unplanned and unexpected,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;occurred at a specifically identifiable time and place,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;occurred by chance or from unknown causes, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(4)&nbsp;&nbsp;was independent of sickness, mental incapacity, bodily infirmity or any other cause.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;"Compensable injury" does not include:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;injury to any active participant in assaults or combats which, although they may occur in the workplace, are the result of non-employment-related hostility or animus of one, both, or all of the combatants and which assault or combat amounts to a deviation from customary duties; provided, however, injuries caused by horseplay shall not be considered to be compensable injuries, except for innocent victims,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;injury incurred while engaging in or performing or as the result of engaging in or performing any recreational or social activities for the employee's personal pleasure,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;injury which was inflicted on the employee at a time when employment services were not being performed or before the employee was hired or after the employment relationship was terminated,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(4)&nbsp;&nbsp;injury where the accident was caused by the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs used in contravention of physician's orders. If, within twenty-four (24) hours of being injured or reporting an injury, an employee tests positive for intoxication, an illegal controlled substance, or a legal controlled substance used in contravention to a treating physician's orders, or refuses to undergo the drug and alcohol testing, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the injury was caused by the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs used in contravention of physician's orders. This presumption may only be overcome if the employee proves by clear and convincing evidence that his or her state of intoxication had no causal relationship to the injury,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(5)&nbsp;&nbsp;any strain, degeneration, damage or harm to, or disease or condition of, the eye or musculoskeletal structure or other body part resulting from the natural results of aging, osteoarthritis, arthritis, or degenerative process including, but not limited to, degenerative joint disease, degenerative disc disease, degenerative spondylosis/spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(6)&nbsp;&nbsp;any preexisting condition except when the treating physician clearly confirms an identifiable and significant aggravation incurred in the course and scope of employment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;The definition of "compensable injury" shall not be construed to limit or abrogate the right to recover for mental injuries as described in Section 13 of this act, heart or lung injury or illness as described in Section 14 of this act, or occupational diseases as described in Section 65 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;A compensable injury shall be established by medical evidence supported by objective findings as defined in paragraph 30 of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;The injured employee shall prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she has suffered a compensable injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">f.&nbsp;&nbsp;Benefits shall not be payable for a condition which results from a non-work-related independent intervening cause following a compensable injury which causes or prolongs disability, aggravation, or requires treatment. A non-work-related independent intervening cause does not require negligence or recklessness on the part of a claimant.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">g.&nbsp;&nbsp;An employee who suffers a compensable injury shall be entitled to receive compensation as prescribed in this act. Notwithstanding other provisions of law, if it is determined that a compensable injury did not occur, the employee shall not be entitled to compensation under this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">10. "Compensation" means the money allowance payable to the employee or to his or her dependents and includes the medical services and supplies provided for in Section 50 of this act and funeral expenses;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">11. "Consequential injury" means injury or harm to a part of the body that is a direct result of the injury or medical treatment to the part of the body originally injured in the claim. The Commission shall not make a finding of a consequential injury unless it is established by objective medical evidence that medical treatment for such part of the body is required;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">12. "Continuing medical maintenance" means medical treatment that is reasonable and necessary to maintain claimant's condition resulting from the compensable injury or illness after reaching maximum medical improvement. Continuing medical maintenance shall not include diagnostic tests, surgery, injections, counseling, physical therapy, or pain management devices or equipment;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">13. "Course and scope of employment" means an activity of any kind or character for which the employee was hired and that relates to and derives from the work, business, trade or profession of an employer, and is performed by an employee in the furtherance of the affairs or business of an employer. The term includes activities conducted on the premises of an employer or at other locations designated by an employer and travel by an employee in furtherance of the affairs of an employer that is specifically directed by the employer. This term does not include:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;an employee's transportation to and from his or her place of employment,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;travel by an employee in furtherance of the affairs of an employer if the travel is also in furtherance of personal or private affairs of the employee,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;any injury occurring in a parking lot or other common area adjacent to an employer's place of business before the employee clocks in or otherwise begins work for the employer or after the employee clocks out or otherwise stops work for the employer, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;any injury occurring while an employee is on a work break, unless the injury occurs while the employee is on a work break inside the employer's facility and the work break is authorized by the employee's supervisor;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">14. "Cumulative trauma" means an injury to an employee that is caused by the combined effect of repetitive physical activities extending over a period of time in the course and scope of employment. Cumulative trauma shall not mean fatigue, soreness or general aches and pain that may have been caused, aggravated, exacerbated or accelerated by the employee's course and scope of employment. Cumulative trauma shall have resulted directly and independently of all other causes and the employee shall have completed at least one hundred eighty (180) days of continuous active employment with the employer;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">15. "Death" means only death resulting from compensable injury as defined in paragraph 9 of this section;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">16. "Disability" means incapacity because of compensable injury to earn, in the same or any other employment, substantially the same amount of wages the employee was receiving at the time of the compensable injury;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">17. "Drive-away operations" includes every person engaged in the business of transporting and delivering new or used vehicles by driving, either singly or by towbar, saddle-mount or full-mount method, or any combination thereof, with or without towing a privately owned vehicle;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">18.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;"Employee" means any person, including a minor, in the service of an employer under any contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or oral, expressed or implied, but excluding one whose employment is casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of his or her employer and excluding one who is required to perform work for a municipality or county or the state or federal government on having been convicted of a criminal offense or while incarcerated. "Employee" shall also include a member of the Oklahoma National Guard while in the performance of duties only while in response to state orders and any authorized voluntary or uncompensated worker, rendering services as a firefighter, peace officer or emergency management worker. Travel by a policeman, fireman, or a member of a first aid or rescue squad, in responding to and returning from an emergency, shall be deemed to be in the course of employment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The term "employee" shall not include:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person for whom an employer is liable under any Act of Congress for providing compensation to employees for injuries, disease or death arising out of and in the course of employment including, but not limited to, the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, the Federal Employers' Liability Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act and the Jones Act, to the extent his or her employees are subject to such acts,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person who is employed in agriculture or horticulture by an employer who had a gross annual payroll in the preceding calendar year of less than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) wages for agricultural or horticultural workers, or any person who is employed in agriculture or horticulture who is not engaged in operation of motorized machines,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person who is a licensed real estate sales associate or broker, paid on a commission basis,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(4)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person who is providing services in a medical care or social services program, or who is a participant in a work or training program, administered by the Department of Human Services, unless the Department is required by federal law or regulations to provide workers' compensation for such person. This division shall not be construed to include nursing homes,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(5)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person employed by an employer with five or fewer total employees, all of whom are related by blood or marriage to the employer, if the employer is a natural person or a general or limited partnership, or an incorporator of a corporation if the corporation is the employer,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(6)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person employed by an employer which is a youth sports league which qualifies for exemption from federal income taxation pursuant to federal law,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(7)&nbsp;&nbsp;sole proprietors, members of a partnership, individuals who are party to a franchise agreement as set out by the Federal Trade Commission franchise disclosure rule, 16 CFR 436.1 through 436.11, members of a limited liability company who own at least ten percent (10%) of the capital of the limited liability company or any stockholder-employees of a corporation who own ten percent (10%) or more stock in the corporation, unless they elect to be covered by a policy of insurance covering benefits under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(8)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person providing or performing voluntary service who receives no wages for the services other than meals, drug or alcohol rehabilitative therapy, transportation, lodging or reimbursement for incidental expenses except for volunteers specifically provided for in subparagraph a of this paragraph,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(9)&nbsp;&nbsp;a person, commonly referred to as an owner-operator, who owns or leases a truck-tractor or truck for hire, if the owner-operator actually operates the truck-tractor or truck and if the person contracting with the owner-operator is not the lessor of the truck-tractor or truck. Provided, however, an owner-operator shall not be precluded from workers' compensation coverage under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act if the owner-operator elects to participate as a sole proprietor,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(10)&nbsp;&nbsp;a person referred to as a drive-away owner-operator who privately owns and utilizes a tow vehicle in drive-away operations and operates independently for hire, if the drive-away owner-operator actually utilizes the tow vehicle and if the person contracting with the drive-away owner-operator is not the lessor of the tow vehicle. Provided, however, a drive-away owner-operator shall not be precluded from workers' compensation coverage under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act if the drive-away owner-operator elects to participate as a sole proprietor, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(11)&nbsp;&nbsp;any person who is employed as a domestic servant or as a casual worker in and about a private home or household, which private home or household had a gross annual payroll in the preceding calendar year of less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) for such workers;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">19. "Employer" means a person, partnership, association, limited liability company, corporation, and the legal representatives of a deceased employer, or the receiver or trustee of a person, partnership, association, corporation, or limited liability company, departments, instrumentalities and institutions of this state and divisions thereof, counties and divisions thereof, public trusts, boards of education and incorporated cities or towns and divisions thereof, employing a person included within the term "employee" as defined in this section. Employer may also mean the employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier, if applicable. Except as provided otherwise, this act applies to all public and private entities and institutions. Employer shall not include a qualified employer with an employee benefit plan as provided under the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act in Sections 107 through 120 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">20. "Employment" includes work or labor in a trade, business, occupation or activity carried on by an employer or any authorized voluntary or uncompensated worker rendering services as a firefighter, peace officer or emergency management worker;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">21. "Evidence-based" means expert-based, literature-supported and outcomes validated by well-designed randomized trials when such information is available and which uses the best available evidence to support medical decision making;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">22. "Gainful employment" means the capacity to perform employment for wages for a period of time that is not part-time, occasional or sporadic;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">23. "Impaired self-insurer" means a private self-insurer or group self-insurance association that fails to pay its workers' compensation obligations, or is financially unable to do so and is the subject of any proceeding under the Federal Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978, and any subsequent amendments or is the subject of any proceeding in which a receiver, custodian, liquidator, rehabilitator, trustee or similar officer has been appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction to act in lieu of or on behalf of the self-insurer;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">24. "Incapacity" means inadequate strength or ability to perform a work-related task;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">25. "Insurance Commissioner" means the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">26. "Insurance Department" means the Insurance Department of the State of Oklahoma;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">27. "Major cause" means more than fifty percent (50%) of the resulting injury, disease or illness. A finding of major cause shall be established by a preponderance of the evidence. A finding that the workplace was not a major cause of the injury, disease or illness shall not adversely affect the exclusive remedy provisions of this act and shall not create a separate cause of action outside this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">28. "Maximum medical improvement" means that no further material improvement would reasonably be expected from medical treatment or the passage of time;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">29. "Medical services" means those services specified in Section 50 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">30. "Misconduct" shall include the following:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;unexplained absenteeism or tardiness,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;willful or wanton indifference to or neglect of the duties required,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;willful or wanton breach of any duty required by the employer,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;the mismanagement of a position of employment by action or inaction,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;actions or omissions that place in jeopardy the health, life, or property of self or others,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">f.&nbsp;&nbsp;dishonesty,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">g.&nbsp;&nbsp;wrongdoing,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">h.&nbsp;&nbsp;violation of a law, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">i.&nbsp;&nbsp;a violation of a policy or rule adopted to ensure orderly work or the safety of self or others;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">31.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;"Objective findings" are those findings which cannot come under the voluntary control of the patient.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls3"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;(a)&nbsp;&nbsp;When determining permanent disability, a physician, any other medical provider, an administrative law judge, the Commission or the courts shall not consider complaints of pain.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls3"><span class="cls0">(b)&nbsp;&nbsp;For the purpose of making permanent disability ratings to the spine, physicians shall use criteria established by the most current edition of the American Medical Association "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment".&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls3"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;(a)&nbsp;&nbsp;Objective evidence necessary to prove permanent disability in occupational hearing loss cases may be established by medically recognized and accepted clinical diagnostic methodologies, including, but not limited to, audiological tests that measure air and bone conduction thresholds and speech discrimination ability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls3"><span class="cls0">(b)&nbsp;&nbsp;Any difference in the baseline hearing levels shall be confirmed by subsequent testing; provided, however, such test shall be given within four (4) weeks of the initial baseline hearing level test but not before five (5) days after being adjusted for presbycusis.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;Medical opinions addressing compensability and permanent disability shall be stated within a reasonable degree of medical certainty;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">32. "Official Disability Guidelines" or "ODG" means the current edition of the Official Disability Guidelines and the ODG Treatment in Workers' Comp as published by the Work Loss Data Institute;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">33. "Permanent disability" means the extent, expressed as a percentage, of the loss of a portion of the total physiological capabilities of the human body as established by competent medical evidence and based on the current edition of the American Medical Association guides to the evaluation of impairment, if the impairment is contained therein;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">34. "Permanent partial disability" means a permanent disability or loss of use after maximum medical improvement has been reached which prevents the injured employee, who has been released to return to work by the treating physician, from returning to his or her pre-injury or equivalent job. All evaluations of permanent partial disability must be supported by objective findings;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">35. "Permanent total disability" means, based on objective findings, incapacity, based upon accidental injury or occupational disease, to earn wages in any employment for which the employee may become physically suited and reasonably fitted by education, training, experience or vocational rehabilitation provided under this act. Loss of both hands, both feet, both legs, or both eyes, or any two thereof, shall constitute permanent total disability;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">36. "Preexisting condition" means any illness, injury, disease, or other physical or mental condition, whether or not work-related, for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received preceding the date of injury;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">37. "Pre-injury or equivalent job" means the job that the claimant was working for the employer at the time the injury occurred or any other employment offered by the claimant's employer that pays at least one hundred percent (100%) of the employee's average weekly wage;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">38. "Private self-insurer" means a private employer that has been authorized to self-insure its workers' compensation obligations pursuant to this act, but does not include group self-insurance associations authorized by this act, or any public employer that self-insures pursuant to this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">39. "Prosthetic" means an artificial device used to replace a part or joint of the body that is lost or injured in an accident or illness covered by this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">40. "Scheduled member" or "member" means hands, fingers, arms, legs, feet, toes, and eyes. In addition, for purposes of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund only, "scheduled member" means hearing impairment;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">41. "Scientifically based" involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to medical testing, diagnoses and treatment; is adequate to justify the general conclusions drawn; and has been accepted by a peer-review journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">42. "State average weekly wage" means the state average weekly wage determined by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission in the preceding calendar year. If such determination is not available, the Commission shall determine the wage annually after reasonable investigation;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">43. "Subcontractor" means a person, firm, corporation or other legal entity hired by the general or prime contractor to perform a specific task for the completion of a work-related activity;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">44. "Surgery" does not include an injection, or the forcing of fluids beneath the skin, for treatment or diagnosis;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">45. "Surviving spouse" means the employee's spouse by reason of a legal marriage recognized by the State of Oklahoma or under the requirements of a common law marriage in this state, as determined by the Workers' Compensation Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">46. "Temporary partial disability" means an injured employee who is temporarily unable to perform his or her job, but may perform alternative work offered by the employer;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">47. "Time of accident" or "date of accident" means the time or date of the occurrence of the accidental incident from which compensable injury, disability, or death results; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">48. "Wages" means money compensation received for employment at the time of the accident, including the reasonable value of board, rent, housing, lodging, or similar advantage received from the employer and includes the amount of tips required to be reported by the employer under Section 6053 of the Internal Revenue Code and the regulations promulgated pursuant thereto or the amount of actual tips reported, whichever amount is greater.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 2.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-3. Applicability of act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Every employer and every employee, unless otherwise specifically provided in this act, shall be subject and bound to the provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act. However, nothing in this act shall be construed to conflict with any valid Act of Congress governing the liability of employers for injuries received by their employees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. This act shall apply only to claims for injuries and death based on accidents which occur on or after the effective date of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Workers' Compensation Code in effect before the effective date of this act shall govern all rights in respect to claims for injuries and death based on accidents occurring before the effective date of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 3, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-4. Severability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If any part of this act be decided by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, the same shall not affect the validity of this act as a whole, or any part thereof other than the part so decided to be unconstitutional or invalid.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If the adjudication of unconstitutionality has the effect of invalidating any payment of compensation under this act, the amount of any compensation paid under this act on account of the injury shall be deducted from the amount of damages awarded in the action in respect to the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 4, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-5. Exclusive liability - Immunity.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The rights and remedies granted to an employee subject to the provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall be exclusive of all other rights and remedies of the employee, his legal representative, dependents, next of kin, or anyone else claiming rights to recovery on behalf of the employee against the employer, or any principal, officer, director, employee, stockholder, partner, or prime contractor of the employer on account of injury, illness, or death. Negligent acts of a co-employee may not be imputed to the employer. No role, capacity, or persona of any employer, principal, officer, director, employee, or stockholder other than that existing in the role of employer of the employee shall be relevant for consideration for purposes of this act, and the remedies and rights provided by this act shall be exclusive regardless of the multiple roles, capacities, or personas the employer may be deemed to have. For the purpose of extending the immunity of this section, any operator or owner of an oil or gas well or other operation for exploring for, drilling for, or producing oil or gas shall be deemed to be an intermediate or principal employer for services performed at a drill site or location with respect to injured or deceased workers whose immediate employer was hired by such operator or owner at the time of the injury or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Exclusive remedy shall not apply if:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. An employer fails to secure the payment of compensation due to the employee as required by this act. An injured employee, or his or her legal representative in case death results from the injury, may, at his or her option, elect to claim compensation under this act or to maintain a legal action in court for damages on account of the injury or death; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The injury was caused by an intentional tort committed by the employer. An intentional tort shall exist only when the employee is injured as a result of willful, deliberate, specific intent of the employer to cause such injury. Allegations or proof that the employer had knowledge that the injury was substantially certain to result from the employer's conduct shall not constitute an intentional tort. The employee shall plead facts that show it is at least as likely as it is not that the employer acted with the purpose of injuring the employee. The issue of whether an act is an intentional tort shall be a question of law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The immunity from civil liability described in subsection A of this section shall apply regardless of whether the injured employee is denied compensation or deemed ineligible to receive compensation under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If an employer has failed to secure the payment of compensation for his or her injured employee as provided for in this act, an injured employee, or his or her legal representative if death results from the injury, may maintain an action in the district court for damages on account of such injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The immunity created by the provisions of this section shall not extend to action against another employer, or its employees, on the same job as the injured or deceased worker where such other employer does not stand in the position of an intermediate or principal employer to the immediate employer of the injured or deceased worker.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The immunity created by the provisions of this section shall not extend to action against another employer, or its employees, on the same job as the injured or deceased worker even though such other employer may be considered as standing in the position of a special master of a loaned servant where such special master neither is the immediate employer of the injured or deceased worker nor stands in the position of an intermediate or principal employer to the immediate employer of the injured or deceased worker.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. This section shall not be construed to abrogate the loaned servant doctrine in any respect other than that described in subsection F of this section. Nothing in this act shall be construed to relieve the employer from any other penalty provided for in this act for failure to secure the payment of compensation under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. For the purpose of extending the immunity of this section, any architect, professional engineer, or land surveyor shall be deemed an intermediate or principal employer for services performed at or on the site of a construction project, but this immunity shall not extend to the negligent preparation of design plans and specifications.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. If the employer has failed to secure the payment of compensation as provided in this act or in the case of an intentional tort, the injured employee or his or her legal representative may maintain an action either before the Commission or in the district court, but not both.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 5, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-6. Fraud.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">A. 1. a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any person or entity who makes any material false statement or representation, who willfully and knowingly omits or conceals any material information, or who employs any device, scheme, or artifice, or who aids and abets any person for the purpose of:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;obtaining any benefit or payment,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;increasing any claim for benefit or payment, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;obtaining workers' compensation coverage under this act,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">shall be guilty of a felony.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;A material false statement or representation includes, but is not limited to, attempting to obtain treatment or compensation for body parts that were not injured in the course and scope of employment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;Fifty percent (50%) of any criminal fine imposed and collected under this section shall be paid and allocated in accordance with applicable law to the Workers' Compensation Fund administered by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any person or entity with whom any person identified in division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of this subsection has conspired to achieve the proscribed ends shall, by reason of such conspiracy, be guilty as a principal of a felony.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. A copy of division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section shall be included on all forms prescribed by the Commission for the use of injured employees claiming benefits and for the use of employers in responding to employees' claims under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Where the Commission or the Attorney General finds that a violation of division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section has been committed, or that any other criminal violations in furtherance of this act were committed, the chair of the Commission or the Attorney General shall refer the matter for appropriate action to the prosecuting attorney having criminal jurisdiction over the matter.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">D. 1. a.&nbsp;&nbsp;There shall be established within the Office of the Attorney General a Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit, funded by the Commission. The Attorney General shall appoint a Director of the Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit, who may also serve as the director of any other designated insurance fraud investigation division within the Attorney General's office.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;The Unit shall investigate workers' compensation fraud, any additional criminal violations that may be related to workers' compensation fraud, and any other insurance fraud matters as may be assigned at the discretion of the Attorney General.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;The Attorney General shall designate the personnel assigned to the Unit, who, on meeting the qualifications established by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, shall have the powers of specialized law enforcement officers of the State of Oklahoma for the purpose of conducting investigations under this subparagraph. Personnel hired as specialized law enforcement officers shall have a minimum of three (3) years of certified law enforcement experience or its equivalent in national or military law enforcement experience as approved by the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Attorney General and his or her deputies and assistants and the Director of the Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit and his or her deputies and assistants shall be vested with the power of enforcing the requirements of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. It shall be the duty of the Unit to assist the Attorney General in the performance of his or her duties. The Unit shall determine the identity of employees in this state who have violated division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section and report the violation to the Office of the Attorney General and the Commission. The Attorney General shall report the violation to the prosecuting attorney having jurisdiction over the matter.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">4.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;In the course of any investigation being conducted by the Unit, the Attorney General and his or her deputies and assistants and the Director and his or her deputies and assistants shall have the power of subpoena and may:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;subpoena witnesses,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;administer oaths or affirmations and examine any individual under oath, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;require and compel the production of records, books, papers, contracts, and other documents.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The issuance of subpoenas for witnesses shall be served in the same manner as if issued by a district court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;Upon application by the commissioner or the Director of the Unit, the district court located in the county where a subpoena was served may issue an order compelling an individual to comply with the subpoena to testify.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;Any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished as contempt.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;If any person has refused in connection with an investigation by the Director to be examined under oath concerning his or her affairs, then the Director is authorized to conduct and enforce by all appropriate and available means any examination under oath in any state or territory of the United States in which any officer, director, or manager may then presently be to the full extent permitted by the laws of the state or territory.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;In addition to the punishments described in paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section, any person providing false testimony under oath or affirmation in this state as to any matter material to any investigation or hearing conducted under this subparagraph, or any workers' compensation hearing, shall upon conviction be guilty of perjury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Fees and mileage of the officers serving the subpoenas and of the witnesses in answer to subpoenas shall be as provided by law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">6.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Every carrier or employer who has reason to suspect that a violation of division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section has occurred shall be required to report all pertinent matters to the unit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;No carrier or employer who makes a report for a suspected violation of division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section by an employee shall be liable to the employee unless the carrier or employer knowingly and intentionally included false information in the report.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;Any carrier or employer who willfully and knowingly fails to report a violation under division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;Fifty percent (50%) of any criminal fine imposed and collected under this subparagraph shall be paid and allocated in accordance with applicable law to the fund administered by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any employee may report suspected violations of division (1) of subparagraph a of paragraph 1 of subsection A of this section. No employee who makes a report shall be liable to the employee whose suspected violations have been reported.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. 1. For the purpose of imposing criminal sanctions or a fine for violation of the duties of this act, the prosecuting attorney shall have the right and discretion to proceed against any person or organization responsible for such violations, both corporate and individual liability being intended by this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The prosecuting attorney of the district to whom a suspected violation of subsection A of this section, or any other criminal violations that may be related thereto, have been referred shall, for the purpose of assisting him or her in such prosecutions, have the authority to appoint as special deputy prosecuting attorneys licensed attorneys-at-law in the employment of the Unit or any other designated insurance fraud investigation division within the Attorney General's office. Such special deputy prosecuting attorneys shall, for the purpose of the prosecutions to which they are assigned, be responsible to and report to the prosecuting attorney.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, investigatory files as maintained by the Attorney General's office and by the Unit shall be deemed confidential and privileged. The files may be made open to the public once the investigation is closed by the Director of the Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit with the consent of the Attorney General.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Attorney General, with the cooperation and assistance of the Commission, is authorized to establish rules as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to create a civil cause of action.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. The Commission shall include a statement on all forms for notices and instructions to employees, employers, carriers and third-party administrators that any person who commits workers&rsquo; compensation fraud, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment, a fine or both.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. If an injured employee is charged with workers' compensation fraud, any pending workers' compensation proceeding, including benefits, shall be stayed after the preliminary hearing is concluded and the claimant is bound over and shall remain stayed until the final disposition of the criminal case. All notice requirements shall continue during the stay.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 6, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-7. Discrimination or retaliation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An employer may not discriminate or retaliate against an employee when the employee has in good faith:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Filed a claim under this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Retained a lawyer for representation regarding a claim under this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under the provisions of this act; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under the provisions of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Commission shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide claims based on subsection A of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If the Commission determines that the defendant violated subsection A of this section, the Commission may award the employee back pay up to a maximum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00). Interim earnings or amounts earnable with reasonable diligence by the person discriminated against shall reduce the back pay otherwise allowable.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The prevailing party shall be entitled to recover costs and a reasonable attorney fee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. No employer may discharge an employee during a period of temporary total disability for the sole reason of being absent from work or for the purpose of avoiding payment of temporary total disability benefits to the injured employee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an employer shall not be required to rehire or retain an employee who, after temporary total disability has been exhausted, is determined by a physician to be physically unable to perform his or her assigned duties, or whose position is no longer available.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. This section shall not be construed as establishing an exception to the employment at will doctrine.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The remedies provided for in this section shall be exclusive with respect to any claim arising out of the conduct described in subsection A of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 7, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-8. Agreement to waive compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. No agreement by an employee to waive his or her right to compensation shall be valid. No contract, regulation, or device shall operate to relieve the employer or carrier, in whole or in part, from any liability created by this act, except as specifically provided in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Any officer of a corporation, sole proprietor, partner of a partnership, member of a limited liability company, member of a professional association, or self-employed employer who is not a subcontractor and who owns and operates his or her own business may, by agreement or contract, exclude himself or herself from coverage or waive his or her right to coverage or compensation under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 8, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-9. Agreements for employee to pay premium of employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">No agreement by an employee to pay any portion of the premium paid by his or her employer to a carrier or a benefit fund or department maintained by the employer for the purpose of providing compensation or medical services and supplies as required by this act shall be valid. Any employer who makes a deduction for such purposes from the pay of any employee entitled to the benefits of this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 9, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-10. Release or commutation - Liens against workers' compensation benefits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The right to any claim, benefit or compensation shall not be released or commuted except as provided by the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act and, except for child support liens, is not assignable and is not subject to garnishment, attachment, levy, execution, or any other legal process. Monetary compensation to dependents of a deceased employee shall not constitute assets of the estate of the deceased employee and shall be payable to and for the benefit of the dependents alone. Any amount withheld under the provisions of this section shall be treated as if it were paid to the employee as workers' compensation and paid by the employee to the person or agency to whom the obligation is payable.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. A lien against workers' compensation benefits is authorized for the purpose of enforcing a judgment for child support. Child support liens filed in accordance with Section 135 of Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes are specifically authorized and shall be paid in accordance with such statute without any order of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Additionally, all income assignments or wage assignments for child support issued pursuant to Section 1170 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes or Section 237.7 of Title 56 of the Oklahoma Statutes are specifically authorized and shall be paid in accordance with such statutes without any order of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. In the event a child support lien is filed in a case before the Commission, an administrative law judge of the Commission shall recognize such lien in any award of monetary benefits and the employer or insurance carrier shall include the name of the person or government agency asserting the lien on any check for temporary total disability, permanent partial disability or permanent and total disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 10, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-11. Compensation of alien nonresidents.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Compensation to alien nonresidents of the United States or Canada shall be the same in amount as provided for residents, except that alien nonresident dependents in any foreign country shall be limited to the surviving spouse or children or, if there is no surviving spouse or children, to the surviving father or mother whom the employee has supported, either wholly or in part, for the period of one (1) year before the date of the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 11, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-12. Preference.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Compensation due an injured employee or his or her dependents shall have the same preference as is allowed by law to an employee for unpaid wages.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 12, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-13. Mental injury or illness.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. A mental injury or illness is not a compensable injury unless caused by a physical injury to the employee, and shall not be considered an injury arising out of and in the course and scope of employment or compensable unless demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence; provided, however, that this physical injury limitation shall not apply to any victim of a crime of violence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. No mental injury or illness under this section shall be compensable unless it is also diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist and unless the diagnosis of the condition meets the criteria established in the most current issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, where a claim is for mental injury or illness, the employee shall be limited to twenty-six (26) weeks of disability benefits unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that benefits should continue for a set period of time, not to exceed a total of fifty-two (52) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;In cases where death results directly from the mental injury or illness within a period of one (1) year, compensation shall be paid the dependents as provided in other death cases under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;Death directly or indirectly related to the mental injury or illness occurring one (1) year or more from the incident resulting in the mental injury or illness shall not be a compensable injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 13, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-14. Cardiovascular, coronary, pulmonary, respiratory, or cerebrovasculary accidents and myocardial infarctions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A cardiovascular, coronary, pulmonary, respiratory, or cerebrovascular accident or myocardial infarction causing injury, illness, or death is a compensable injury only if, in relation to other factors contributing to the physical harm, the course and scope of employment was the major cause.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. An injury or disease included in subsection A of this section shall not be deemed to be a compensable injury unless it is shown that the exertion of the work necessary to precipitate the disability or death was extraordinary and unusual in comparison to the employee's usual work in the course of the employee's regular employment, or that some unusual and unpredicted incident occurred which is found to have been the major cause of the physical harm.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Physical or mental stress shall not be considered in determining whether the employee or claimant has met his or her burden of proof.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 14, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-15. Fraud Investigation Unit funding report.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. One month before the beginning of any fiscal year, the Attorney General shall provide to the Commission the estimated funding need of the Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit of the Office of Attorney General for the ensuing fiscal year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The funding report shall itemize each position to be utilized in the Unit and funded by the Commission and make estimates of all other budgetary line items necessary to provide support to the Unit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The report shall deduct unexpended and unencumbered balances of the Unit from the previous fiscal year. Only the current need, excluding unexpended and unencumbered funds, shall be certified for a fund transfer authorized in this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. On or before the first day of each fiscal year, the Commission shall certify to the State Treasurer that funds are available for transfer, on which certification the State Treasurer shall transfer those funds from the Workers' Compensation Fund of the Commission to the fund account used for the maintenance, operation, and support of the Unit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 15, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-16. Official Disability Guidelines - Treatment in Workers Compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Official Disability Guidelines - Treatment in Workers Compensation (ODG), published by the Work Loss Data Institute, is to be recognized as the primary standard of reference, at the time of treatment, in determining the frequency and extent of services presumed to be medically necessary and appropriate for compensable injuries under this act, or in resolving such matters in the event a dispute arises. The medical treatment guidelines are not requirements, nor are they mandates or standards; they provide advice by identifying the care most likely to benefit injured workers. The guidelines shall be evidence-based, scientifically valid, outcome-focused, and designed to reduce excessive or inappropriate medical care while safeguarding necessary medical care.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Physicians providing care to an employee shall prescribe for the employee any necessary prescription drugs and over-the-counter alternatives to prescription medicine as clinically appropriate and as recommended under the Official Disability Guidelines. Prescriptions and nonprescription drugs that are not preferred, exceed or are not addressed by ODG require preauthorization and the preauthorization request shall include the prescribing doctor's drug regimen plan of care and the anticipated dosage or range of dosages.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 16, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-17. Physician Advisory Committee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. There is hereby created a Physician Advisory Committee comprised of nine (9) members to be appointed as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The Governor shall appoint three members, one of whom shall be licensed in this state as a doctor of medicine and surgery, one of whom shall be engaged in the practice of family medicine in a rural community of the state, and one of whom shall be an osteopathic physician;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall appoint three members, one of whom shall be licensed in this state as a doctor of medicine and orthopedic surgery, one of whom shall be licensed in this state either as a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathy and a neurosurgeon, and one of whom shall be licensed in this state as a podiatric physician; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint three members, one of whom shall be licensed in this state as an osteopathic physician, one of whom shall be licensed in this state either as a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathy and shall be engaged in the practice of occupational medicine, and one of whom shall be licensed in this state as a chiropractic physician.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Any member serving on the effective date of this section shall serve the remainder of his or her term. Thereafter, each position will be filled by the appointing official for a term of three (3) years. Members shall be subject to reappointment, with any new appointee to serve out the remainder of the unexpired term of the Committee member so replaced.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Committee shall:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Assist and advise the Workers' Compensation Commission regarding utilization review as it relates to the medical practice and treatment of work-related injuries. Such utilization review shall include a review of reasonable and necessary medical treatment; abusive practices; needless treatments, testing, or procedures; or a pattern of billing in excess of or in violation of the Schedule of Medical Fees. The Physician Advisory Committee shall review and make findings and recommendations to the Commission with respect to charges of inappropriate or unnecessary treatment or procedures, abusive practices, or excessive billing disclosed through utilization review;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Assist the Commission in reviewing medical practices of health care providers, including evaluations of permanent disability provided by health care providers. The Committee shall review and make findings and recommendations to the Commission with respect to charges of abusive practices by health care providers providing medical services or evaluations of permanent partial disability through the workers' compensation system;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. After public hearing, review and make recommendations for acceptable deviations from the American Medical Association's "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment";&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. After public hearing, adopt Physician Advisory Committee Guidelines (PACG) and protocols for only medical treatment not addressed by the latest edition of the Official Disability Guidelines;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. After public hearing, adopt Physician Advisory Committee Guidelines for the prescription and dispensing of any controlled substance included in Schedule II of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act if not addressed by the current edition of the Official Disability Guidelines;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. Review utilization on cases or of providers when requested by any employer, injured employee or insurer. The Committee may issue a public or private censure to any provider for utilization which is excessive or inadequate, or recommend the Commission order treatment within the treatment guidelines;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. Provide general recommendations to the Commission on the issues of injury causation and apportionment;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. Conduct educational seminars for the Commission, employers, employees, and other interested parties;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. Assist the Commission in accessing medical information from scientific literature; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">10. Report its progress annually to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission shall recognize the latest edition of the Official Disability Guidelines as the primary standard of reference, at the time of treatment, in determining the frequency and extent of services presumed to be medically necessary and appropriate for compensable injuries under this act, or in resolving such matters in the event a dispute arises.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Members of the Physician Advisory Committee shall receive no compensation for serving on the Committee but shall be reimbursed by the Commission for their necessary travel expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with the State Travel Reimbursement Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Meetings of the Physician Advisory Committee shall be called by the Commission but held at least quarterly. The presence of a majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. No action shall be taken by the Physician Advisory Committee without the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the members.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The Commission shall provide office supplies and personnel of the Commission to assist the Committee in the performance of its duties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Upon written request, the Insurance Commissioner, CompSource Oklahoma, and every approved self-insured employer in Oklahoma shall provide the Committee with data necessary to the performance of its duties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. Any health care provider acting in good faith and within the scope of the provider's duties as a member of the Physician Advisory Committee shall be immune from civil liability for making any report or other information available to the judges of the Commission or to the Commission or for assisting in the origination, investigation, or preparation of the report or other information so provided.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 17, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-18. Notice to health care providers - Collection of fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. No hospital, physician, or other health care provider shall bill or attempt to collect any fee or any portion of a fee for services rendered to an employee due to a work-related injury or report to any credit-reporting agency any failure of the employee to make the payment, when a claim for compensation has been filed under this act and the hospital, physician, or health care provider has received actual notice given in writing by the employee or the employee's representative. Actual notice shall be deemed received by the hospital, physician, or health care provider five (5) days after mailing by certified mail by the employee or his or her representative to the hospital, physician, or health care provider.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The notice shall include:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The name of the employer;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The name of the insurer, if known;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The name of the employee receiving the services;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The general nature of the injury, if known; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Where a claim has been filed, the claim number, if known.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. When an injury or bill is found to be noncompensable under this act, the hospital, physician, or other health care provider shall be entitled to pursue the employee for any unpaid portion of the fee or other charges for authorized services provided to the employee. Any applicable statute of limitations for an action for the fees or other charges shall be tolled from the time notice is given to the hospital, physician, or other health care provider until a determination of noncompensability in regard to the injury which is the basis of the services is made, or if there is an appeal, until a final determination of noncompensability is rendered and all appeal deadlines have passed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. This section shall not avoid, modify, or amend any other section or subsection of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. An order by the Commission under this section shall stay all proceedings for collection.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 18, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-19. Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. There is hereby created the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission, an executive agency of the State of Oklahoma, which shall have the exclusive responsibility and duty to carry out the provisions of this act, except as otherwise provided.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Commission shall consist of three (3) full-time commissioners, each of whom must have been involved in the workers' compensation field for at least three (3) years, appointed by the Governor: one of whom is chosen from a slate of three selected by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, with all three confirmed by the Senate. The term of each appointee shall be six (6) years to administer the provisions of this act. The Governor may request a subsequent slate of nominees from the Speaker of the House of Representatives if a suitable nominee is not found. Any or all of the commissioners may be reappointed for additional six-year terms upon reconfirmation by the Senate. However, the initial commissioners shall serve staggered terms of two (2), four (4), and six (6) years, respectively, as determined by the Governor. If the Legislature is not in session at the time of appointment, the appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate upon convening of the next regular session of the Legislature. Membership on the Commission shall be a full-time position and no commissioner shall have any other employment, unless authorized or excused by law. Each commissioner shall receive a salary equal to that paid to a district judge of this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission shall have the authority to adopt reasonable rules within its respective areas of responsibility including the rules of procedure for administrative hearings, after notice and public hearing, for effecting the purposes of this act, in accordance with the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act. All rules, upon adoption, shall be published and be made available to the public and, if not inconsistent with the law, shall be binding in the administration of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The principal office of the Commission shall be situated in the City of Oklahoma City in quarters assigned by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The Commission shall maintain and keep open, during reasonable business hours, the office in Oklahoma City, for the transaction of business, at which office its official records and papers shall be kept. The Commission or any commissioner may hold hearings in any city of this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The Governor shall appoint one of the commissioners to be chair of the Commission. In addition to other duties, the chair of the Commission shall have the following powers and duties:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. To organize, direct and develop the administrative work of the administrative law judges, including but not limited to docketing, clerical, technical and financial work and establishment of hours of operation;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. To employ administrative staff for the Commission, within budgetary limitation; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Such other duties and responsibilities authorized by law or as the Commission may prescribe.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. All appeals or disputes arising from actions of the Commission shall be governed by provisions of this act and the Commission shall not be subject to the provisions of the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act, except as provided in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. When any commissioner of the Commission is disqualified for any reason to hear and participate in the determination of any matter pending before the Commission, the Governor shall appoint a qualified person to hear and participate in the decision on the particular matter.&nbsp; The special commissioner so appointed shall have all authority and responsibility with respect to the particular matter before the Commission as if the person were a regular commissioner of the Commission but shall have no authority or responsibility with respect to any other matter before the Commission.&nbsp; A person appointed as a special commissioner of the Commission under the provisions of this subsection shall be entitled to receive a per diem equal to the annual salary of the commissioners prorated for the number of days he or she serves in the capacity of a special commissioner of the Commission.&nbsp; Furthermore, when a vacancy on the Commission occurs or is certain to occur, the position shall be filled pursuant to the provisions of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 19.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-20. Power and authority of Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. In addition to its other duties and powers, the Commission is given and granted full power and authority:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. To appoint administrative law judges to hear all claims for compensation, including claims based on injuries which occurred outside this state for which compensation is payable under this act. An administrative law judge shall have been licensed to practice law in this state for a period of not less than three (3) years and shall have not less than three (3) years of workers&rsquo; compensation experience prior to appointment;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. To remand any case to an administrative law judge for the purpose of taking additional evidence;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. To assess penalties;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. To prescribe rules governing the representation of employees, employers, and carriers in respect to claims before the Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. To make available all records in connection with all cases of personal injury to the Oklahoma Department of Labor. The Commissioner of Labor may propose rules for the prevention of injuries and transmit the rules to the Commission. The Commission may recommend proposed rules for prevention of injuries to the Commissioner of Labor; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. To have and exercise all other powers and duties conferred or imposed by this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. In addition to the other powers and duties granted to the Commission in this section and otherwise provided by law, the Commission is authorized to establish and impose reasonable administrative fees to recover the cost of preparation of various informative materials distributed by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The administrative fees shall be established by regulation of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Funds derived from administrative fees shall be deposited into the Workers' Compensation Fund to be used to defray expenses incurred in preparation and distribution of materials.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 20.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-21. Officers - Quorum.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Commissioners shall be considered officers and shall take the oath prescribed by the Oklahoma Constitution and the laws of this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. A majority of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and vacancies shall not impair the right of the remaining commissioners to exercise all the powers of the full Commission, so long as a majority remains.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any investigation, inquiry, or hearing which the Commission is authorized to hold or undertake may be held or undertaken by or before any one commissioner of the Commission, or appointee acting for him or her, under authorization of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission shall have a seal for authentication of its judgments, awards, and proceedings, on which shall be inscribed the words: "Workers' Compensation Commission, State of Oklahoma".&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Except with respect to the Commission's authority to hear appeals of decisions from administrative law judges, any reference in this act to the Commission's ability to hear and decide the rights of interested parties under this act shall not prevent it from delegating that responsibility to an administrative law judge.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 21.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-22. Administration of act - Additional powers and duties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. For the purpose of administering the provisions of this act, the Workers' Compensation Commission is authorized:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;to make rules necessary for the administration and operation of the Commission,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;to appoint and fix the compensation of temporary technical assistants, medical and legal advisers, clerical assistants and other officers and employees, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;to make such expenditures, including those for personal service, rent, books, periodicals, office equipment, and supplies, and for printing and binding as may be necessary.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Before the adoption, prescription, amendment, modification, or repeal of any rule, regulation, or form, the Commission shall give at least thirty (30) days' notice of its intended action.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The notice shall include a statement of the terms or substance of the intended action or description of the subjects and issues involved, and the time, place, and manner in which interested persons may present their views thereon.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;The notice shall be mailed to any person specified by law or who shall have requested advance notice of rule-making proceedings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The Commission shall afford all interested persons a reasonable opportunity to submit written data, views, or arguments, and, if the Commission in its discretion shall so direct, oral testimony or argument.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Each rule, regulation, or form adopted by the Commission shall be effective twenty (20) days after adoption unless a later date is specified by law or in the rule itself.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. All expenditures of the Commission in the administration of this act shall be allowed and paid from the Workers' Compensation Fund on the presentation of itemized vouchers approved by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. The Commission may appoint as many persons as may be necessary to be administrative law judges and in addition may appoint such examiners, investigators, medical examiners, clerks, and other employees as it deems necessary to effectuate the provisions of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Employees appointed under this subsection shall receive an annual salary to be fixed by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Additionally, the Commission shall have the following powers and duties:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. To hear and approve compromise settlements;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. To review and approve own-risk applications and group self-insurance association applications;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. To monitor own-risk, self-insurer and group self-insurance programs, in accordance with the rules of the Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. To contract with an appropriate state governmental entity, insurance carrier or approved service organization to process, investigate and pay valid claims against an impaired self-insurer which fails, due to insolvency or otherwise, to pay its workers&rsquo; compensation obligations, charges for which shall be paid from the proceeds of security posted with the Commission as provided in Section 38 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. To establish a toll-free telephone number in order to provide information and answer questions about the Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. To hear and determine claims concerning disputed medical bills;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. To promulgate necessary rules for administering this act and develop uniform forms and procedures for use by administrative law judges. Such rules shall be reviewable by the Legislature;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. To invest funds on behalf of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. To appoint a Commission Mediator to conduct informal sessions to attempt to resolve assigned disputes; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">10. Such other duties and responsibilities authorized by law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. It shall be the duty of an administrative law judge, under the rules adopted by the Commission, to hear and determine claims for compensation and to conduct hearings and investigations and to make such judgments, decisions, and determinations as may be required by any rule or judgment of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 22.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-23. Necessary traveling expenses.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Any commissioner or employee of the Commission shall be entitled to receive his or her necessary traveling expenses as provided in the State Travel Reimbursement Act. The expenses shall be certified by the person who incurred them and shall be allowed and paid on presentation of vouchers approved by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 23.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-24. Administrative report.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">On or before the first day of the regular session of the Legislature, the Commission shall submit to the Governor and the Legislature a report of the administration of this act for the preceding biennial period, together with such recommendations as the Commission may deem advisable.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 24.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-25. Annual publication of aggregate information.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Commission shall publish annually, on an aggregate basis, information pertaining to the distribution of workers' compensation insurance premiums, losses, expenses, and net income to be compiled from reports required to be filed with the Insurance Commissioner or any similar information required to be filed by the Insurance Commissioner regarding workers' compensation insurance. The Commission shall also publish in the annual report information regarding aggregate workers' compensation benefit distribution to claimants, medical providers, and attorneys, if available.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 25, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-26. Removal of commissioners.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Governor may, at any time, remove any commissioner for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or misconduct in office, giving him or her in advance a copy of the charges preferred and an opportunity to be heard by a three-person panel consisting of the Insurance Commissioner, the Lieutenant Governor, and the State Treasurer on not less than ten (10) days' notice. A representative of the Attorney General's office shall attend the proceedings and on the Governor's request shall advise or assist him or her in such proceedings. Either party may procure the attendance and testimony of witnesses as provided by the Code of Civil Procedure of this state. If a commissioner is removed, the Governor shall file in the office of the Secretary of State a complete statement of all charges made against the commissioner and his or her findings, together with a complete record of the proceeding and a transcript of the testimony, which shall constitute a public record of the state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 26, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-27. Jurisdiction - Duties and powers of administrative judges.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall be vested with jurisdiction over all claims filed pursuant to the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act. All claims so filed shall be heard by the administrative law judge sitting without a jury. The Commission shall have full power and authority to determine all questions in relation to claims for compensation under the provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act. The Commission, upon application of either party, shall order a hearing. Upon a hearing, either party may present evidence and be represented by counsel. Except as provided in this act, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be final as to all questions of fact and law. The decision of the administrative law judge shall be issued within thirty (30) days following the submission of the case by the parties. The power and jurisdiction of the Commission over each case shall be continuing and it may, from time to time, make such modifications or changes with respect to former findings or orders relating thereto if, in its opinion, it may be justified.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. In addition to the duties set forth in this section, the administrative law judges shall have the following duties and powers:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. To hear and determine claims for compensation, to conduct hearings and investigations, and to make such judgments, decisions, and determinations as may be required by any rule or judgment of the Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. To hear and determine challenges to an agreement to arbitrate under the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Arbitration Act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. To assume duties within the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court of Existing Claims as assigned by the Commission; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. To have and exercise all other powers and duties conferred or imposed by the Commission or this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 27, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-28. Workers' Compensation Fund - Multiple Injury Trust Fund - Self-Insured Guaranty Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. There are established within the Office of the State Treasurer three separate funds:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The "Workers' Compensation Fund";&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The "Multiple Injury Trust Fund"; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The "Self-Insured Guaranty Fund".&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. No money shall be appropriated from these funds for any purpose except for the use and benefit, or at the direction, of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. All funds established under this section shall be administered, disbursed, and invested under the direction of the Commission and the State Treasurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. All incomes derived through investment of the Workers' Compensation Fund and the Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall be credited as investment income to the fund that participated in the investment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. No monies deposited to these funds shall be subject to any deduction, tax, levy, or any other type of assessment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. If the balance in the Multiple Injury Trust Fund becomes insufficient to fully compensate those employees to whom it is obligated, payment shall be suspended until such time as the Multiple Injury Trust Fund is capable of meeting its obligations, paying all arrearages, and restoring normal benefit payments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. On the effective maturity dates of each investment, the investment shall be transferred to the State Treasurer for deposit into the Multiple Injury Trust Fund created in this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The Workers' Compensation Fund shall be used to fund the activities of the Commission in administering this act and for any other purposes related to this act that the Commission deems appropriate, subject to the provisions of Section 165 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. Unless provided otherwise in this act, all fines and penalties assessed under this act shall be deposited into the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 28, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-29. Fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Each carrier writing compensation insurance in this state shall pay to the Commission at the time of securing a license to transact business in this state One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for the privilege of qualifying with the Commission for the writing of compensation insurance.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Each self-insurer shall pay to the Commission One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) at the time it is approved to self-insure the obligations under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission may assess third-party administrators an annual fee of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Fees required pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 29, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-30. Physically impaired persons - Adjudications of Multiple Injury Trust Fund claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. For the purposes of Sections 31 through 35 of this act, the term "physically impaired person" means a person who, as a result of accident, disease, birth, military action, or any other cause, has suffered:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The loss of the sight of one eye;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The loss by amputation of the whole or a part of a member of the body;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The loss of use or partial loss of use of a member such as is obvious and apparent from observation or examination by a person who is not skilled in the medical profession; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Any previous adjudications of disability adjudged and determined by the Workers' Compensation Court or the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission or any disability resulting from separately adjudicated injuries and adjudicated occupational diseases even though arising at the same time. Provided, that any adjudication of preexisting disability to a part of the body shall not be combinable for purposes of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund unless that part of the body was deemed to have been injured in the claim being adjudicated.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. This section shall apply to all adjudications of Multiple Injury Trust Fund claims heard by the Commission on or after the effective date of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 30, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-31. Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall be derived from the following sources:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. As soon as practicable after January 1 of each year, the commissioners of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall establish an assessment rate applicable to each mutual or interinsurance association, stock company, CompSource Oklahoma, or other insurance carrier writing workers' compensation insurance in this state, each employer carrying its own risk, and each group self-insurance association, for amounts for purposes of computing the assessment authorized by this section necessary to pay the annual obligations of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund determined on or before December 31 of each year by the MITF Director, provided for in subsection P of this section, to be outstanding for the next calendar year, and to pay the allocations provided for in subsection I of this section. The rate shall be equal for all parties required to pay the assessment. If CompSource begins operating as a mutual insurance company, the Board of Directors for CompSource Mutual Insurance Company shall have the power to disapprove the rate established by the MITF Director until the Multiple Injury Trust Fund repays in full the amount due on any loan from CompSource Mutual Insurance Company or its predecessor CompSource Oklahoma. If the MITF Director and CompSource have not agreed on the assessment rate within thirty (30) days, the Commission shall set an assessment rate sufficient to cover all foreseeable obligations of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund, including interest and principal owed by the Fund on any loan. The rate in effect on the effective date of this act shall remain effective through June 30, 2014;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Oklahoma Tax Commission shall assess and collect from any uninsured employer a temporary assessment at the rate of five percent (5%) of the total compensation for permanent total disability awards, permanent partial disability awards, and death benefits paid out during each quarter of the calendar year by the employers;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The assessments shall be paid to the Tax Commission. Insurance carriers, self-insurers, group self-insurance associations and CompSource Oklahoma shall pay the assessment in four equal installments not later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of each quarter of the calendar year of the assessment. Assessments shall be determined based upon gross direct written premiums, normal premiums or actual paid losses of the paying party, as applicable, during the calendar quarter for which the assessment is due. Uninsured employers shall pay the assessment not later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of each quarter of the calendar year of the assessment. For purposes of this section, "uninsured employer" means an employer required by law to carry workers' compensation insurance but who has failed or neglected to do so. Only one-third (1/3) of assessments against insurance carriers and CompSource Oklahoma may be charged to policyholders and shall not be considered in determining whether any rate is excessive. The remaining two-thirds (2/3) of assessments against insurance carriers and CompSource Oklahoma may not be included in any rate, premium, charge, fee, assessment or other amount to be collected from a policyholder. Insurance carriers and CompSource Oklahoma shall not separately state the amount of the assessment on any invoice or billing assessment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;The assessment authorized in this section shall be determined using a rate equal to the proportion that the sum of the outstanding obligations of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund as determined pursuant to paragraph 1 of this subsection and the allocations provided for in subsection I of this section bear to the combined gross direct written premiums of all such insurers; all actual paid losses of all individual self-insureds; and the normal premium of all group self-insurance associations, for the year period from January 1 to December 31 preceding the assessment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;For purposes of this subsection:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;"actual paid losses" means all medical and indemnity payments, including temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits, and excluding loss adjustment expenses and reserves, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;"normal premium" means a standard premium less any discounts;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. By April 15 of each year, the Insurance Commissioner, the MITF Director and each individual and group self-insured shall provide the Commission with such information as the Commission may determine is necessary to effectuate the purposes of this section;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Each mutual or interinsurance association, stock company, CompSource Oklahoma, or other insurance carrier writing workers' compensation insurance in this state, and each employer carrying its own risk, including each group self-insurance association, shall be notified by the Commission in writing of the rate for the assessment on or before May 1 of each year in which a rate is determined. The rate determined by the Commission shall be in effect for four calendar quarters beginning July 1 following determination by the Commission; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">6.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;No mutual or interinsurance association, stock company, CompSource Oklahoma, or other insurance carrier writing workers' compensation insurance in this state may be assessed in any year an amount greater than six percent (6%) of the gross direct written premiums of that insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;No employer carrying its own risk may be assessed in any year an amount greater than six percent (6%) of the total actual paid losses of that individual self-insured.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;No group self-insurance association may be assessed in any year an amount greater than six percent (6%) of the normal premium of that group self-insurance association.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;If the maximum assessment does not provide in any one year an amount sufficient to make all necessary payments for obligations of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund and for the allocations provided for in subsection I of this section, the unpaid portion shall be paid as soon thereafter as funds become available.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Multiple Injury Trust Fund is hereby authorized to receive and expend monies appropriated by the Legislature.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. It shall be the duty of the Tax Commission to collect the payments provided for in this act. The Tax Commission is hereby authorized to bring an action for the recovery of any delinquent or unpaid payments required in this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Any mutual or interinsurance association, stock company, or other insurance company, which is subject to regulation by the Insurance Commissioner, or CompSource Oklahoma, failing to make payments required in this act promptly and correctly, and failing to report payment of the same to the Insurance Commission within ten (10) days of payment shall be subject to administrative penalties as allowed by law, including but not limited to a fine in the amount of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or an amount equal to one percent (1%) of the unpaid amount, whichever is greater, to be paid to the Insurance Commissioner.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Any employer carrying its own risk, or group self-insurance association failing to make payments required in this act promptly and correctly, and failing to report payment of the same to the Commission within ten (10) days of payment shall be subject to administrative penalties as allowed by law, including but not limited to a fine in the amount of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or an amount equal to one percent (1%) of the unpaid amount, whichever is greater, to be paid to the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. 1. On or before the first day of April of each year, the State Treasurer shall advise the Commission, the MITF Director and the Tax Commission of the amount of money held as of March 1 of that year by the State Treasurer to the credit of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund. On or before the first day of November of each year, the State Treasurer shall advise the Commission, the MITF Director and the Tax Commission of the amount of money held as of October 1 of that year by the State Treasurer to the credit of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Until such time as the Multiple Injury Trust Fund fully satisfies any loan obligation payable to CompSource Mutual Insurance Company or its predecessor CompSource Oklahoma, the State Treasurer shall:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;advise the Chief Executive Officer of CompSource on or before the first day of April of the money held as of March 1 of that year by the State Treasurer to the credit of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;advise the Chief Executive Officer of CompSource on or before the first day of November of the money held as of October 1 of that year by the State Treasurer to the credit of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Eighty percent (80%) of all sums held by the State Treasurer to the credit of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund may by order of the MITF Director be invested in or loaned on the pledge of any of the securities in which a state bank may invest the monies deposited therein by the State Treasurer; or may be deposited in state or national banks or trust companies upon insured time deposit bearing interest at a rate no less than currently being paid upon insured savings accounts in the institutions. As used in this section, "insured" means insurance as provided by an agency of the federal government. All such securities or evidence of indebtedness shall be placed in the hands of the State Treasurer, who shall be the custodian thereof, who shall collect the principal and interest when due, and pay the same into the Multiple Injury Trust Fund. The State Treasurer shall pay by vouchers drawn on the Multiple Injury Trust Fund for the making of such investments, when signed by the MITF Director, upon delivery of such securities or evidence of indebtedness to the State Treasurer. The MITF Director may sell any of such securities, the proceeds thereof to be paid over to the State Treasurer for the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The refund provisions of Sections 227 through 229 of Title 68 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall be applicable to any payments made to the Multiple Injury Trust Fund. Refunds shall be paid from and out of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. The Tax Commission shall pay, monthly, to the State Treasurer to the credit of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund all monies collected pursuant to the provisions of this section, less the annual sum of Two Million Five Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($2,550,000.00), of which One Million Two Hundred Seventy-five Thousand Dollars ($1,275,000.00) shall be payable by the Tax Commission to the State Treasurer in equal monthly installments to the credit of the Department of Labor, Six Hundred Thirty-seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($637,500.00) shall be payable in equal monthly installments to the credit of the Office of the Attorney General, and Six Hundred Thirty-seven Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($637,500.00) shall be payable in equal monthly installments to the credit of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Monies received by the Department of Labor under this section shall be used for safety consultation and the regulation of the safety of public employees through the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Monies received by the Office of the Attorney General shall be deposited to the credit of the Attorney General's Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit Revolving Fund created pursuant to Section 19.2 of Title 74 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Monies received by the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education shall supplement other funding to the Department for purposes of implementing the provisions of subsection B of Section 414 of Title 40 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The State Treasurer shall pay out of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund only upon the order and direction of the Workers' Compensation Commission acting under the provisions hereof.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. The Commission shall promulgate rules as the Commission deems necessary to effectuate the provisions of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">K. The Insurance Commissioner shall promulgate rules relating to insurers as defined in Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes, as the Insurance Commissioner deems necessary to effectuate the provisions of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">L. The MITF Director shall have authority to fulfill all payment obligations of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">M. The Multiple Injury Trust Fund may enter into an agreement with any reinsurer licensed to sell reinsurance by the Insurance Commissioner pursuant to a competitive process administered by the Director of Central Purchasing in the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">N. Any dividend, rebate, or other distribution, payable by CompSource Oklahoma or any other workers' compensation insurance carrier, to a state agency policyholder shall be paid to the State Treasurer, and shall be credited as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. In the event of failure of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund to meet all lawful obligations, the monies shall be credited to the Multiple Injury Trust Fund and shall be used by the Multiple Injury Trust Fund to meet all lawful obligations of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Otherwise, all future dividends made by CompSource Oklahoma or any workers' compensation insurance carrier, on behalf of state agencies, shall be deposited to the credit of the General Revenue Fund of the State Treasury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">O. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall be charged with the administration and protection of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">P. The person serving as the Administrator of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund on the date of passage and approval of this act shall serve as the initial MITF Director, provided such person is serving as the Administrator of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund on the effective date of this act. The MITF Director shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Q. Any party interested shall have a right to bring a proceeding in the Supreme Court to review an award of the Commission affecting such Multiple Injury Trust Fund, in the same manner as is provided by law with reference to other awards by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">R. The State Treasurer shall allocate to the Commission out of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund sufficient funds for administration expenses thereof in amounts to be fixed and approved by the Administrator for the Multiple Injury Trust Fund, unless rejected by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 31, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-32. Permanent total disability awards.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. For actions in which the subsequent injury occurred on or after November 1, 2005, if such combined disabilities constitute permanent total disability, as defined in Section 2 of this act, the employee shall receive full compensation as provided by law for the disability resulting directly and specifically from the subsequent injury. In addition, the employee shall receive compensation for permanent total disability if the combination of injuries renders the employee permanently and totally disabled. The employer shall be liable only for the degree of percent of disability which would have resulted from the subsequent injury if there had been no preexisting impairment. The compensation rate for permanent total disability awards from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall be the compensation rate for permanent partial disability paid by the employer in the last combinable compensable injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Permanent total disability awards from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall be payable in periodic installments for a period of fifteen (15) years or until the employee reaches sixty-five (65) years of age, whichever period is longer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Permanent total disability awards from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall accrue from the file date of the order of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission finding the claimant to be permanently and totally disabled.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Awards under this section shall abate upon the death, from any cause, of the employee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Reopening any prior claim other than the last claim against the employer shall not give a claimant the right to additional Multiple Injury Trust Fund benefits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall have authority to compromise a claim for less than the indicated amount of permanent total disability. An order entered after the effective date of this act may be paid in periodic installments beginning on the date of the award, or may be commuted to a lump-sum payment or payments, by agreement of the claimant and the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. An attorney for a claimant against the Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall be entitled to a fee equal to twenty percent (20%) of permanent disability benefits awarded. For awards entered after the effective date of this act, the attorney fee shall be paid in periodic installments by the attorney receiving every fifth check. All benefits awarded to the attorney shall be vested.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. In the event a claimant receiving benefits for permanent and total disability from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund dies as a result of his or her injury before the award has been fully paid, payments shall continue to the surviving spouse for five (5) years or upon remarriage, whichever occurs first. In no event shall payments to the surviving spouse extend beyond the period of benefits awarded to the claimant.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 32, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-33. Statute of limitations.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The right to claim compensation for benefits from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund shall be forever barred unless a Notice of Claim, on a form prescribed by the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission, shall be filed with the Commission within two (2) years of the date of the last order for permanent partial disability from the latest claim against the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. When a claim for benefits from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund is filed, unless claimant shall in good faith request a hearing and final determination thereon within three (3) years of the filing thereof, the same shall be barred.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. An attorney who represents a respondent or insurance carrier in a claim against the last employer shall not represent the employee in a subsequent claim against the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 33, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-34. Administration of Multiple Injury Trust Fund - Standing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The MITF Director shall be charged with the administration and protection of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund and shall be notified by the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission of all proceedings which may affect such fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The MITF Director shall have standing and the authority to appear in any case before the Commission in which the Commission is considering an award from the Multiple Injury Trust Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Any party interested shall have a right to bring a proceeding in the Supreme Court to review an award of the Commission affecting such Multiple Injury Trust Fund, in the same manner as is now provided by law with reference to other awards by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The State Treasurer shall allocate to the MITF Director sufficient funds for administration expenses thereof in amounts to be fixed and approved by the Administrator for the Multiple Injury Trust Fund, unless rejected by the Governor and Attorney General.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 34, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-35. Obligation to pay.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Every employer shall secure compensation as provided under this act to its employees for compensable injuries without regard to fault.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. There shall be no liability for compensation under this act where the injury or death was substantially occasioned by the willful intention of the injured employee to bring about such compensable injury or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The primary obligation to pay compensation is on the employer, and the procurement of a policy of insurance by an employer to cover the obligation in respect to this act shall not relieve the employer of the obligation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 35, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-36. Liability other than immediate employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If a subcontractor fails to secure compensation required by this act, the prime contractor shall be liable for compensation to the employees of the subcontractor unless there is an intermediate subcontractor who has workers' compensation coverage.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. Any contractor or the contractor's insurance carrier who shall become liable for the payment of compensation on account of injury to or death of an employee of his or her subcontractor may recover from the subcontractor the amount of the compensation paid or for which liability is incurred.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The claim for the recovery shall constitute a lien against any monies due or to become due to the subcontractor from the prime contractor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. A claim for recovery shall not affect the right of the injured employee or the dependents of the deceased employee to recover compensation due from the prime contractor or his or her insurance carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">C. 1. a.&nbsp;&nbsp;When a sole proprietorship or partnership fails to elect to cover the sole proprietor or partners under this act, the prime contractor is not liable under this act for injuries sustained by the sole proprietor or partners if the sole proprietor or partners are not employees of the prime contractor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;A sole proprietor or the partners of a partnership who do not elect to be covered by this act and be deemed employees thereunder and who deliver to the prime contractor a current certification of noncoverage issued by the Commission shall be conclusively presumed not to be covered by the law or to be employees of the prime contractor during the term of his or her certification or any renewals thereof.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;A certificate of noncoverage may not be presented to a subcontractor who does not have workers' compensation coverage.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;This provision shall not affect the rights or coverage of any employees of the sole proprietor or of the partnership.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The prime contractor's insurance carrier shall not be liable for injuries to the sole proprietor or partners described in this section who have provided a current certification of noncoverage, and the carrier shall not include compensation paid by the prime contractor to the sole proprietor or partners described above in computing the insurance premium for the prime contractor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">3.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any prime contractor who after being presented with a current certification of noncoverage by a sole proprietor or partnership compels the sole proprietor or partnership to pay or contribute to workers' compensation coverage of that sole proprietor or partnership shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any prime contractor who compels a sole proprietor or partnership to obtain a certification of noncoverage when the sole proprietor or partnership does not desire to do so shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any applicant who makes a false statement when applying for a certification of noncoverage or any renewals thereof shall be guilty of a felony.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. 1. A certification of noncoverage issued by the Commission shall be valid for two (2) years after the effective date stated thereon. Both the effective date and the expiration date shall be listed on the face of the certificate by the Commission. The certificate shall expire at midnight two (2) years from its issue date, as noted on the face of the certificate.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Commission may assess a fee not to exceed Fifty Dollars ($50.00) with each application for a certification of noncoverage or any renewals thereof.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Any certification of noncoverage issued by the Commission shall contain the social security number and notarized signature of the applicant. The notarization shall be in a form and manner prescribed by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The Commission may prescribe by rule forms and procedures for issuing or renewing a certification of noncoverage.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If work is performed by an independent contractor on a single-family residential dwelling occupied by the owner, or the premises of such dwelling, or for a farmer whose cash payroll for wages, excluding supplies, materials and equipment, for the preceding calendar year did not exceed One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00), such owner or farmer shall not be liable for compensation under this act for injuries to the independent contractor or his or her employees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 36, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-37. Waiver of exemption or exclusion.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Any employer engaging in any exempted or excepted employment may at any time waive the exemptions or exceptions as to any employee or all employees engaged in the employment as the employer may elect by giving notice of waiver of the exemptions or exceptions as provided in subsection B of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Notice of waiver of exclusion or exemption referred to in subsection A of this section shall be given in accordance with the following provisions:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Every employer who waives the exclusion or exemption shall post, and keep posted, in and about the employer's place of business typewritten or printed notices to that effect in accordance with a form to be prescribed by the Commission, and the employer shall file a duplicate of the notice with the Commission; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The notice shall be given at least thirty (30) days before any injury. However, if the injury occurs less than thirty (30) days after the date of employment, the notice, if given at the time of employment, shall be sufficient notice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 37, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-38. Securing compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An employer shall secure compensation to employees under this act in one of the following ways:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. By insuring and keeping insured the payment of compensation with any stock corporation, mutual association, or other concerns authorized to transact the business of workers' compensation insurance in this state. When an insurer issues a policy to provide workers' compensation benefits under the provisions of this act, it shall file a notice with the Commission containing the name, address, and principal occupation of the employer, the number, effective date, and expiration date of the policy, and such other information as may be required by the Commission. The notice shall be filed by the insurer within thirty (30) days after the effective date of the policy. Any insurer who does not file the notice required by this paragraph shall be subject to a fine by the Commission of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00);&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. By obtaining and keeping in force guaranty insurance with any company authorized to do guaranty business in this state. Each company that issues workers' compensation guaranty insurance shall file a copy of the contract with the Commission within thirty (30) days after the effective date of the contract. Any company that does not file a copy of the contract as required by this paragraph shall be subject to a fine by the Commission of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00);&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. By furnishing satisfactory proof to the Commission of the employer's financial ability to pay the compensation. The Commission, under rules adopted by the Insurance Department, shall require any employer that has:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;less than one hundred employees or less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) in net assets to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;deposit with the Commission securities, an irrevocable letter of credit or a surety bond payable to the state, in an amount determined by the Commission which shall be at least an average of the yearly claims for the last three (3) years, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;provide proof of excess coverage with such terms and conditions as is commensurate with their ability to pay the benefits required by the provisions of this act, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;one hundred or more employees and One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) or more in net assets to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;secure a surety bond payable to the state, or an irrevocable letter of credit, in an amount determined by the Commission which shall be at least an average of the yearly claims for the last three (3) years, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;provide proof of excess coverage with terms and conditions that are commensurate with their ability to pay the benefits required by the provisions of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. By forming a group self-insurance association consisting of two or more employers which shall have a common interest and which shall have entered into an agreement to pool their liabilities under the Administrative Workers&rsquo; Compensation Act. Such agreement shall be subject to rules of the Commission. Any employer, upon application to become a member of a group self-insurance association, shall file with the Commission a notice, in such form as prescribed by the Commission, acknowledging that the employer accepts joint and several liability. Upon approval by the Commission of such application for membership, said member shall be a qualified self-insured employer; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. By any other security as may be approved by the Commission and the Insurance Department.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Commission may waive the requirements of this section in an amount which is commensurate with the ability of the employer to pay the benefits required by the provisions of this act. Irrevocable letters of credit required by this subsection shall contain such terms as may be prescribed by the Commission and shall be issued for the benefit of the state by a financial institution whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. An employer who does not fulfill the requirements of this section is not relieved of the obligation to pay compensation under this act. The security required under this section, including any interest, shall be maintained by the Commission as provided in this act until each claim for benefits is paid, settled, or lapses under this act, and costs of administration of such claims are paid.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Failure on the part of any employer to secure the payment of compensation provided in this act shall have the effect of enabling the Commission to assert the rights of an injured employee against the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Any employer that knowingly provides false information to the Commission for purposes of securing or maintaining a self-insurance permit shall be guilty of a felony and subject to a maximum fine of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 38, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-39. Carrier discharging obligations.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. In order that the liability for compensation may be effectively administered, the employer's carrier may discharge the obligations and duties of the employer under this act if the employer is not a self-insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. For the purpose of an employer's carrier discharging the obligation and duties of the employer:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. An employer's knowledge of an injury shall constitute the carrier's knowledge of the injury;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Commission shall have jurisdiction over the carrier to the same extent it has over the employer under this act; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Any determinations by the Commission shall be binding on the carrier to the same extent as they are on the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 39, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-40. Failure to secure compensation - Summary hearing - Penalties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Any employer who fails to secure compensation required under this act, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) to be deposited in the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. This subsection shall not affect any other liability of the employer under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. Whenever the Commission has reason to believe that any employer required to secure the payment of compensation under this act has failed to do so, the Commission shall serve on the employer a proposed judgment declaring the employer to be in violation of this act and containing the amount, if any, of the civil penalty to be assessed against the employer under paragraph 5 of this subsection.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;An employer may contest a proposed judgment of the Commission issued under paragraph 1 of this subsection by filing with the Commission, within twenty (20) days of receipt of the proposed judgment, a written request for a hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The request for a hearing does not need to be in any particular form but shall specify the grounds on which the person contests the proposed judgment, the proposed assessment, or both.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;If a written request for hearing is not filed with the Commission within the time specified in subparagraph a of this paragraph, the proposed judgment, the proposed penalty, or both, shall be a final judgment of the Commission and shall not be subject to further review by any court, except if the employer shows good cause why it did not timely contest the judgment or penalty.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;A proposed judgment by the Commission under this section shall be prima facie correct, and the burden is on the employer to prove that the proposed judgment is incorrect.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">3.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;If the employer alleges that a carrier has contracted to provide it workers' compensation insurance coverage for the period in question, the employer shall include the allegation in its request for hearing and shall name the carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The Commission shall promptly notify the carrier of the employer's allegation and of the date of hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;The carrier shall promptly, and no later than five (5) days before the hearing, respond in writing to the employer's allegation by providing evidence of coverage for the period in question or by affirmatively denying the employer's allegation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Hearings under this section shall be procedurally conducted as provided in Sections 69 through 78 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. The Commission may assess a fine against an employer who fails to secure the payment of compensation in an amount up to One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) per day of violation payable to the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. If an employer fails to secure the payment of compensation or pay any civil penalty assessed against the employer after a judgment issued under this section has become final by operation of law or on appeal, the Commission may petition the Oklahoma County District Court or the district court of the county where the employer's principal place of business is located for an order enjoining the employer from engaging in further employment until such time as the employer secures the payment of compensation or makes full payment of all civil penalties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 40, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-41. Posted notice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Every employer who has secured compensation under the provisions of this act shall keep posted in a conspicuous place in and about the employer's place of business typewritten or printed notices in accordance with a form prescribed by the Commission. The notices shall state that the employer has secured the payment of compensation in accordance with the provisions of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The notices shall contain the name and address of the carrier, if any, with whom the employer has secured payment of compensation and the date of the expiration of the policy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 41, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-42. Required insurance policy provisions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Contents. Every policy or contract of insurance issued by a carrier to an employer to secure the payment of compensation under this act shall contain:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Provisions that identify the insured employer and either identify each covered employee or describe covered employees by class or type of labor performed and the estimated number of employees of each such class or type.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;No single policy of workers' compensation insurance may be issued to any group of employers who are unaffiliated with one another in terms of ownership, control, or right to participate in the profits of the affiliated enterprises;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Provisions that insolvency or bankruptcy of the employer or discharge therein shall not relieve the carrier from payment of compensation for compensable injuries sustained by an employee during the term of the policy or contract;&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">3.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;The agreement of the carrier that it shall promptly pay to the person entitled to compensation every installment of compensation that may be awarded or agreed on and that this obligation shall not be affected by any default of the employer or by any default in the giving of any notice required by the policy or otherwise.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The agreement shall be construed to be a direct obligation by the carrier to the person entitled to compensation, enforceable in that person's name; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Such other provisions as the Insurance Department allows or requires carriers to include in workers' compensation policies.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Cancellation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. An employer may cancel coverage with a carrier by giving the carrier at least thirty (30) days' notice, unless a shorter period is permitted under subparagraph b of this paragraph.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Cancellation of coverage is effective at 12:01 a.m. thirty (30) days after the date the cancellation notice is received by the carrier, unless a later date is specified in the notice to the carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;An employer may cancel coverage effective less than thirty (30) days after written notice is received by the carrier where the employer obtains other coverage or becomes a self-insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;A cancellation under this subsection is effective immediately on the effective date of the other coverage or on authorization as a self-insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;A notice of cancellation from the carrier shall state the hour and date that cancellation is effective.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;A carrier shall not cancel coverage issued to an employer under this act before the date specified for expiration in the policy or contract or until at least thirty (30) days have elapsed after a notice of cancellation has been mailed to the Commission and to the employer, or until ten (10) days have elapsed after the notice has been mailed to the employer and to the Commission if the cancellation is for nonpayment of premium.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;If the employer procures other insurance within the notice period, the effective date of the new policy shall be the cancellation date of the old policy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Cancellation of coverage by an employer or a carrier shall in no way limit liability that was incurred under the policy or contract before the effective date of cancellation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Coverage.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. No policy or contract of insurance shall be issued against liability under this act unless the policy or contract covers the entire liability of the employer. Split coverage whereby some employees of an employer are insured by one carrier and other employees are insured by another carrier, or a plan of self-insurance, is expressly prohibited except for a policy issued covering the liability of an employer or of multiple employers as to specific jobs, ventures, contracts, or undertakings, but only if the policy meets with the reasonable satisfaction and approval of the Insurance Commissioner that the policy is in the best interest of the employers and the employees concerned and does not unduly or improperly affect the continuity of workers' compensation coverage by seriously and negatively affecting other carriers and agents with outstanding policies issued to any of the employers in issue.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The terms of the policy or contract shall govern any questions of liability between the employer and the carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Under such rules as may be adopted by the Insurance Commissioner, and notwithstanding other provisions of this act, he or she may certify five or more employers as an insurance group which shall be considered an employer for the purposes of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 42, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-43. Liability Unaffected - Subrogation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Liability Unaffected.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;The making of a claim for compensation against any employer or carrier for the injury or death of an employee shall not affect the right of the employee, or his or her dependents, to make a claim or maintain an action in court against any third party for the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The employer or the employer's carrier shall be entitled to reasonable notice and opportunity to join in the action.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;If the employer or employer's carrier join in the action against a third party for injury or death, they shall be entitled to a first lien on two-thirds (2/3) of the net proceeds recovered in the action that remain after the payment of the reasonable costs of collection, for the payment to them of the amount paid and to be paid by them as compensation to the injured employee or his or her dependents.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The commencement of an action by an employee or his or her dependents against a third party for damages by reason of an injury to which this act is applicable, or the adjustment of any claim, shall not affect the rights of the injured employee or his or her dependents to recover compensation, but any amount recovered by the injured employee or his or her dependents from a third party shall be applied as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;reasonable fees and costs of collection shall be deducted,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;the employer or carrier, as applicable, shall receive two-thirds (2/3) of the remainder of the recovery or the amount of the workers' compensation lien, whichever is less, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;the remainder of the recovery shall go to the injured employee or his or her dependents.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Subrogation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. An employer or carrier liable for compensation under this act for the injury or death of an employee shall have the right to maintain an action in tort against any third party responsible for the injury or death. However, the employer or the carrier shall notify the claimant in writing that the claimant has the right to hire a private attorney to pursue any benefits to which the claimant is entitled in addition to the subrogation interest against any third party responsible for the injury or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. After reasonable notice and opportunity to be represented in the action has been given to the injured employee, the liability of the third party to the compensation beneficiary shall be determined in the action, as well as the third party's liability to the employer and carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. If the employer recovers against the third party, by suit or otherwise, the injured employee shall be entitled to any amount recovered in excess of the amount that the employer and carrier have paid or are liable for in compensation, after deducting reasonable costs of collection.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. An employer or carrier who is liable for compensation under this act on account of injury or death of an employee shall be entitled to maintain a third-party action against the employer's uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 43, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-44. Reduction of benefits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Any benefits payable to an injured employee under this act shall be reduced in an amount equal to, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of benefits the injured employee has previously received for the same medical services or period of disability, whether those benefits were paid under a group health care service plan, a group disability policy, a group loss of income policy, a group accident, health, or accident and health policy, a self-insured employee health or welfare benefit plan, or a group hospital or medical service contract; provided, however, such reduction does not apply to any benefit received from a group policy for disability if the injured employee has paid for the policy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The claimant shall be required to disclose in a manner to be determined by the Commission the identity, address, or phone number of any person or entity which has paid benefits described in this section in connection with any claim under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 44, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-45. Temporary Total Disability - Temporary Partial Disability - Permanent Partial Disability - Permanent Total Disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Temporary Total Disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. If the injured employee is temporarily unable to perform his or her job or any alternative work offered by the employer, he or she shall be entitled to receive compensation equal to seventy percent (70%) of the injured employee's average weekly wage, but not to exceed seventy percent (70%) of the state average weekly wage, for one hundred four (104) weeks. Provided, there shall be no payment for the first three (3) days of the initial period of temporary total disability. If an administrative law judge finds that a consequential injury has occurred and that additional time is needed to reach maximum medical improvement, temporary total disability may continue for a period of not more than an additional fifty-two (52) weeks. Such finding shall be based upon a showing of medical necessity by clear and convincing evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. When the injured employee is released from active medical treatment by the treating physician for all body parts found by the Commission to be injured, or in the event that the employee, without a valid excuse, misses three consecutive medical treatment appointments, fails to comply with medical orders of the treating physician, or otherwise abandons medical care, the employer shall be entitled to terminate temporary total disability by notifying the employee, or if represented, his or her counsel. If, however, an objection to the termination is filed by the employee within ten (10) days of termination, the Commission shall set the matter within twenty (20) days for a determination if temporary total disability compensation shall be reinstated. The temporary total disability shall remain terminated unless the employee proves the existence of a valid excuse for his or her failure to comply with medical orders of the treating physician or his or her abandonment of medical care. The administrative law judge may appoint an independent medical examiner to determine if further medical treatment is reasonable and necessary. The independent medical examiner shall not provide treatment to the injured worker, unless agreed upon by the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Temporary Partial Disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. If the injured employee is temporarily unable to perform his or her job, but may perform alternative work offered by the employer, he or she shall be entitled to receive compensation equal to the greater of seventy percent (70%) of the difference between the injured employee's average weekly wage before the injury and his or her weekly wage for performing alternative work after the injury, but only if his or her weekly wage for performing the alternative work is less than the temporary total disability rate.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Compensation under this subsection may not exceed fifty-two (52) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. If the employee refuses to perform the alternative work offered by the employee, he or she shall not be entitled to benefits under subsection A of this section or under this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Permanent Partial Disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. A permanent partial disability award or combination of awards granted an injured worker may not exceed a permanent partial disability rating of one hundred percent (100%) to any body part or to the body as a whole. The determination of permanent partial disability shall be the responsibility of the Commission through its administrative law judges. Any claim by an employee for compensation for permanent partial disability must be supported by competent medical testimony of a medical doctor, osteopathic physician, or chiropractor, and shall be supported by objective medical findings, as defined in this act. The opinion of the physician shall include employee's percentage of permanent partial disability and whether or not the disability is job-related and caused by the accidental injury or occupational disease. A physician's opinion of the nature and extent of permanent partial disability to parts of the body other than scheduled members must be based solely on criteria established by the current edition of the American Medical Association's "Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment". A copy of any written evaluation shall be sent to both parties within seven (7) days of issuance. Medical opinions addressing compensability and permanent disability must be stated within a reasonable degree of medical certainty. Any party may submit the report of an evaluating physician.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Permanent partial disability shall not be allowed to a part of the body for which no medical treatment has been received. A determination of permanent partial disability made by the Commission or administrative law judge which is not supported by objective medical findings provided by a treating physician who is a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy or a qualified independent medical examiner shall be considered an abuse of discretion.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The examining physician shall not deviate from the Guides except as may be specifically provided for in the Guides.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. In cases of permanent partial disability, the compensation shall be seventy percent (70%) of the employee&rsquo;s average weekly wage, not to exceed Three Hundred Twenty-three Dollars ($323.00) per week, for a term not to exceed a total of three hundred fifty (350) weeks for the body as a whole.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Except pursuant to settlement agreements entered into by the employer and employee, payment of a permanent partial disability award shall be deferred and held in reserve by the employer or insurance company if the employee has reached maximum medical improvement and has been released to return to work by his or her treating physician, and then returns to his pre-injury or equivalent job for a term of weeks determined by dividing the total dollar value of the award by seventy percent (70%) of the employee&rsquo;s average weekly wage.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;The amount of the permanent partial disability award shall be reduced by seventy percent (70%) of the employee&rsquo;s average weekly wage for each week he works in his pre-injury or equivalent job.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;If, for any reason other than misconduct as defined in Section 2 of this act, the employer terminates the employee or the position offered is not the pre-injury or equivalent job, the remaining permanent partial disability award shall be paid in a lump sum. If the employee is discharged for misconduct, the employer shall have the burden to prove that the employee engaged in misconduct.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;If the employee refuses an offer to return to his pre-injury or equivalent job, the permanent partial disability award shall continue to be deferred and shall be reduced by seventy percent (70%) of the employee&rsquo;s average weekly wage for each week he refuses to return to his pre-injury or equivalent job.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;Attorney fees for permanent partial disability awards, as approved by the Commission, shall be calculated based upon the total permanent partial disability award and paid in full at the time of the deferral.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;Assessments pursuant to Sections 31, 98, 112 and 165 of this act shall be calculated based upon the amount of the permanent partial disability award and shall be paid at the time of the deferral.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. Previous Disability: The fact that an employee has suffered previous disability or received compensation therefor shall not preclude the employee from compensation for a later accidental personal injury or occupational disease. In the event there exists a previous permanent partial disability, including a previous non-work-related injury or condition which produced permanent partial disability and the same is aggravated or accelerated by an accidental personal injury or occupational disease, compensation for permanent partial disability shall be only for such amount as was caused by such accidental personal injury or occupational disease and no additional compensation shall be allowed for the preexisting disability or impairment. Any such reduction shall not apply to temporary total disability, nor shall it apply to compensation for medical treatment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;If workers' compensation benefits have previously been awarded through settlement or judicial or administrative determination in Oklahoma, the percentage basis of the prior settlement or award shall conclusively establish the amount of permanent partial disability determined to be preexisting. If workers' compensation benefits have not previously been awarded through settlement or judicial or administrative determination in Oklahoma, the amount of preexisting permanent partial disability shall be established by competent evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;In all cases, the applicable reduction shall be calculated as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;if the preexisting impairment is the result of injury sustained while working for the employer against whom workers' compensation benefits are currently being sought, any award of compensation shall be reduced by the current dollar value attributable under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act to the percentage of permanent partial disability determined to be preexisting. The current dollar value shall be calculated by multiplying the percentage of preexisting permanent partial disability by the compensation rate in effect on the date of the accident or injury against which the reduction will be applied, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;in all other cases, the employer against whom benefits are currently being sought shall be entitled to a credit for the percentage of preexisting permanent partial disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. No payments on any permanent partial disability order shall begin until payments on any preexisting permanent partial disability orders have been completed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. The whole body shall represent a maximum of three hundred fifty (350) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. The permanent partial disability rate of compensation for amputation or permanent total loss of use of a scheduled member specified in Section 46 of this act shall be seventy percent (70%) of the employee&rsquo;s average weekly wage, not to exceed Three Hundred Twenty-three Dollars ($323.00), multiplied by the number of weeks set forth for the member in Section 46 of this act, regardless of whether the injured employee is able to return to his or her pre-injury or equivalent job.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">10. An injured employee who is eligible for permanent partial disability under this subsection shall be entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation services provided by a technology center or public secondary school offering vocational-technical education courses, or a member institution of The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, which shall include retraining and job placement to restore the employee to gainful employment. Vocational rehabilitation services or training shall not extend for a period of more than fifty-two (52) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Permanent Total Disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. In case of total disability adjudged to be permanent, seventy percent (70%) of the employee's average weekly wages, but not in excess of the state's average weekly wage, shall be paid to the employee during the continuance of the disability until such time as the employee reaches the age of maximum Social Security retirement benefits or for a period of fifteen (15) years, whichever is longer. In the event the claimant dies of causes unrelated to the injury or illness, benefits shall cease on the date of death. Provided, however, any person entitled to revive the action shall receive a one-time lump-sum payment equal to twenty-six (26) weeks of weekly benefits for permanent total disability awarded the claimant. If more than one person is entitled to revive the claim, the lump-sum payment shall be evenly divided between or among such persons. In the event the Commission awards both permanent partial disability and permanent total disability benefits, the permanent total disability award shall not be due until the permanent partial disability award is paid in full. If otherwise qualified according to the provisions of this act, permanent total disability benefits may be awarded to an employee who has exhausted the maximum period of temporary total disability even though the employee has not reached maximum medical improvement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Commission shall annually review the status of any employee receiving benefits for permanent total disability against the last employer. The Commission shall require the employee to annually file an affidavit under penalty of perjury stating that he or she is not and has not been gainfully employed and is not capable of gainful employment. Failure to file such affidavit shall result in suspension of benefits; provided, however, reinstatement of benefits may occur after proper hearing before the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. 1. The Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission shall hire or contract for a Vocational Rehabilitation Director to oversee the vocational rehabilitation program of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Vocational Rehabilitation Director shall help injured workers return to the work force. If the injured employee is unable to return to his or her pre-injury or equivalent position due to permanent restrictions as determined by the treating physician, upon the request of either party, the Vocational Rehabilitation Director shall determine if it is appropriate for a claimant to receive vocational rehabilitation training or services, and will oversee such training. If appropriate, the Vocational Rehabilitation Director shall issue administrative orders, including, but not limited to, an order for a vocational rehabilitation evaluation for any injured employee unable to work for at least ninety (90) days. In addition, the Vocational Rehabilitation Director may assign injured workers to vocational rehabilitation counselors for coordination of recommended services. The cost of the services shall be paid by the employer. All administrative orders are subject to appeal to the full Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. There shall be a presumption in favor of ordering vocational rehabilitation services or training for an eligible injured employee under the following circumstances:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is truck driver or laborer and the medical condition is traumatic brain injury, stroke or uncontrolled vertigo,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is truck driver or laborer performing high-risk tasks and the medical condition is seizures,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is manual laborer and the medical condition is bilateral wrist fusions,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is assembly-line worker and the medical condition is radial head fracture with surgical excision,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is heavy laborer and the medical condition is myocardial infarction with congestive heart failure,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">f.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is heavy manual laborer and the medical condition is multilevel neck or back fusions greater than two levels,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">g.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is laborer performing overhead work and the medical condition is massive rotator cuff tears, with or without surgery,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">h.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is heavy laborer and the medical condition is recurrent inguinal hernia following unsuccessful surgical repair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">i.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is heavy manual laborer and the medical condition is total knee replacement or total hip replacement,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">j.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is roofer and the medical condition is calcaneal fracture, medically or surgically treated,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">k.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is laborer of any kind and the medical condition is total shoulder replacement,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">l.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is laborer and the medical condition is amputation of a hand, arm, leg, or foot,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">m.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is laborer and the medical condition is tibial plateau fracture, pilon fracture,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">n.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is laborer and the medical condition is ankle fusion or knee fusion,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">o.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is driver or heavy equipment operator and the medical condition is unilateral industrial blindness, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">p.&nbsp;&nbsp;if the employee&rsquo;s occupation is laborer and the medical condition is 3-, 4-, or 5-level positive discogram of the cervical spine or lumbar spine, medically treated.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Upon the request of either party, or by order of an administrative law judge, the Vocational Rehabilitation Director shall assist the Workers' Compensation Commission in determining if it is appropriate for a claimant to receive vocational rehabilitation training or services. If appropriate, the administrative law judge shall refer the employee to a qualified expert for evaluation of the practicability of, need for and kind of rehabilitation services or training necessary and appropriate in order to restore the employee to gainful employment. The cost of the evaluation shall be paid by the employer. Following the evaluation, if the employee refuses the services or training ordered by the administrative law judge, or fails to complete in good faith the vocational rehabilitation training ordered by the administrative law judge, then the cost of the evaluation and services or training rendered may, in the discretion of the administrative law judge, be deducted from any award of benefits to the employee which remains unpaid by the employer. Upon receipt of such report, and after affording all parties an opportunity to be heard, the administrative law judge shall order that any rehabilitation services or training, recommended in the report, or such other rehabilitation services or training as the administrative law judge may deem necessary, provided the employee elects to receive such services, shall be provided at the expense of the employer. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, refusal to accept rehabilitation services by the employee shall in no way diminish any benefits allowable to an employee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. The administrative law judge may order vocational rehabilitation before the injured employee reaches maximum medical improvement, if the treating physician believes that it is likely that the employee's injury will prevent the employee from returning to his or her former employment. In granting early benefits for vocational rehabilitation, the Commission shall consider temporary restrictions and the likelihood that such rehabilitation will return the employee to gainful employment earlier than if such benefits are granted after the permanent partial disability hearing in the claim.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. Vocational rehabilitation services or training shall not extend for a period of more than fifty-two (52) weeks. A request for vocational rehabilitation services or training shall be filed with the Commission by an interested party not later than sixty (60) days from the date of receiving permanent restrictions that prevent the injured employee from returning to his or her pre-injury or equivalent position.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. If rehabilitation requires residence at or near the facility or institution which is away from the employee's customary residence, reasonable cost of the employee's board, lodging, travel, tuition, books and necessary equipment in training shall be paid for by the insurer in addition to weekly compensation benefits to which the employee is otherwise entitled under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. During the period when an employee is actively and in good faith being evaluated or participating in a retraining or job placement program for purposes of evaluating permanent total disability status, the employee shall be entitled to receive benefits at the same rate as the employee's temporary total disability benefits for an additional fifty-two (52) weeks. All tuition related to vocational rehabilitation services shall be paid by the employer or the employer's insurer on a periodic basis directly to the facility providing the vocational rehabilitation services or training to the employee. The employer or employer&rsquo;s insurer may deduct the amount paid for tuition from compensation awarded to the employee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Disfigurement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. If an injured employee incurs serious and permanent disfigurement to any part of the body, the Commission may award compensation to the injured employee in an amount not to exceed Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. No award for disfigurement shall be entered until twelve (12) months after the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. An injured employee shall not be entitled to compensation under this subsection if he or she receives an award for permanent partial disability to the same part of the body.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Benefits for a single-event injury shall be determined by the law in effect at the time of injury. Benefits for a cumulative trauma injury or occupational disease or illness shall be determined by the law in effect at the time the employee knew or reasonably should have known that the injury, occupational disease or illness was related to work activity. Benefits for death shall be determined by the law in effect at the time of death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 45, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-46. Permanent partial disability schedule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An injured employee who is entitled to receive permanent partial disability compensation under Section 45 of this act shall receive compensation for each part of the body in accordance with the number of weeks for the scheduled loss set forth below.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Arm amputated at the elbow, or between the elbow and shoulder, two hundred seventy-five (275) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Arm amputated between the elbow and wrist, two hundred twenty (220) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Leg amputated at the knee, or between the knee and the hip, two hundred seventy-five (275) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Leg amputated between the knee and the ankle, two hundred twenty (220) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Hand amputated, two hundred twenty (220) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. Thumb amputated, sixty-six (66) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. First finger amputated, thirty-nine (39) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. Second finger amputated, thirty-three (33) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. Third finger amputated, twenty-two (22) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">10. Fourth finger amputated, seventeen (17) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">11. Foot amputated, two hundred twenty (220) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">12. Great toe amputated, thirty-three (33) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">13. Toe other than great toe amputated, eleven (11) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">14. Eye enucleated, in which there was useful vision, two hundred seventy-five (275) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">15. Loss of hearing of one ear, one hundred ten (110) weeks;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">16. Loss of hearing of both ears, three hundred thirty (330) weeks; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">17. Loss of one testicle, fifty-three (53) weeks; loss of both testicles, one hundred fifty-eight (158) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The permanent partial disability rate of compensation for amputation or permanent total loss of use of a scheduled member specified in this section shall be seventy percent (70%) of the employee&rsquo;s average weekly wage, not to exceed Three Hundred Twenty-three Dollars ($323.00), multiplied by the number of weeks as set forth in this section, regardless of whether or not the injured employee is able to return to his or her pre-injury job.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Other cases: In cases in which the Commission finds an injury to a part of the body not specifically covered by the foregoing provisions of this section, the employee may be entitled to compensation for permanent partial disability. The compensation ordered paid shall be seventy percent (70%) of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed Three Hundred Twenty-three Dollars ($323.00) for the number of weeks which the partial disability of the employee bears to three hundred fifty (350) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. 1. Compensation for amputation of the first phalange of a digit shall be one-half (1/2) of the compensation for the amputation of the entire digit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Compensation for amputation of more than one phalange of a digit shall be the same as for amputation of the entire digit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. 1. Compensation for the permanent loss of eighty percent (80%) or more of the vision of an eye shall be the same as for the loss of an eye.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. In all cases of permanent loss of vision, the use of corrective lenses may be taken into consideration in evaluating the extent of loss of vision.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Compensation for amputation or loss of use of two or more digits or one or more phalanges of two or more digits of a hand or a foot may be proportioned to the total loss of use of the hand or the foot occasioned thereby but shall not exceed the compensation for total loss of a hand or a foot.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Compensation for permanent total loss of use of a member shall be the same as for amputation of the member.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The sum of all permanent partial disability awards, excluding awards against the Multiple Injury Trust Fund, shall not exceed three hundred fifty (350) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 46, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-47. Beneficiaries in case of death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Time of death. If death does not result within one (1) year from the date of the accident or within the first three (3) years of the period for compensation payments fixed by the compensation judgment, a rebuttable presumption shall arise that the death did not result from the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Common law spouse. A common law spouse shall not be entitled to benefits under this section unless he or she obtains an order from a court with competent jurisdiction ruling that a common law marriage existed between the decedent and the surviving spouse.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Beneficiaries - Amounts. If an injury or occupational illness causes death, weekly income benefits shall be payable as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. If there is a surviving spouse, a lump-sum payment of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) and seventy percent (70%) of the lesser of the deceased employee's average weekly wage and the state average weekly wage. In addition to the benefits theretofore paid or due, two (2) years' indemnity benefit in one lump sum shall be payable to a surviving spouse upon remarriage;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. If there is a surviving spouse and a child or children, a lump-sum payment of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) and fifteen percent (15%) of the lesser of the deceased employee's average weekly wage and the state average weekly wage to each child. If there are more than two children, each child shall receive a pro rata share of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) and thirty percent (30%) of the deceased employee's average weekly wage;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. If there is a child or children and no surviving spouse, a lump-sum payment of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) and fifty percent (50%) of the lesser of the deceased employee's average weekly wage and the state average weekly wage to each child. If there are more than two children, each child shall receive a pro rata share of one hundred percent (100%) of the lesser of the deceased employee's average weekly wage and the state average weekly wage. With respect to the lump-sum payment, if there are more than six children, each child shall receive a pro rata share of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00);&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. If there is no surviving spouse or children, each legal guardian, if financially dependent on the employee at the time of death, shall receive twenty-five percent (25%) of the lesser of the deceased employee's average weekly wage and the state average weekly wage until the earlier of death, becoming eligible for social security, obtaining full-time employment, or five (5) years from the date benefits under this section begin; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. The employer shall pay the actual funeral expenses, not exceeding the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The weekly income benefits payable to the surviving spouse under this section shall continue while the surviving spouse remains unmarried. In no event shall this spousal weekly income benefit be diminished by the award to other beneficiaries. The weekly income benefits payable to any child under this section shall terminate on the earlier of death, marriage, or reaching the age of eighteen (18). However, if the child turns eighteen (18) and is:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Enrolled as a full-time student in high school or is being schooled by other means pursuant to the Oklahoma Constitution;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Enrolled as a full-time student in any accredited institution of higher education or vocational or technology education; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Physically or mentally incapable of self-support,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">then he or she may continue to receive weekly income benefits under this section until the earlier of reaching the age of twenty-three (23) or, with respect to paragraphs 1 and 2 of this subsection, no longer being enrolled as a student, and with respect to paragraph 3 of this subsection, becoming capable of self-support.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If any member of the class of beneficiaries who receive a pro rata share of weekly income benefits becomes ineligible to continue to receive benefits, the remaining members of the class shall receive adjusted weekly income benefits equal to the new class size.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. To receive benefits under this section, a beneficiary or his or her guardian, if applicable, shall file a proof of loss form with the Commission. All questions of dependency shall be determined as of the time of the injury. The employer shall initiate payment of benefits within fifteen (15) days of the Commission's determination of the proper beneficiaries. The Commission shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent known and unknown minor children and the guardian ad litem shall be paid a reasonable fee for his or her services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 47, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-48. Injury to minors.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">When an injury or death is sustained by a minor employed in violation of federal or state statutes relating to minimum ages for employment of minors, disability or death benefits provided for by this act shall be doubled; provided, however, such penalty shall not apply when the minor misrepresents his or her age, in writing, to the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 48, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-49. Temporary total disability and unemployment benefits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, no compensation for temporary total disability shall be payable to an injured employee for any week for which the injured employee receives unemployment insurance benefits under the laws of this state or the unemployment insurance law of any other state. If a claim for temporary total disability is controverted and later determined to be compensable, temporary total disability shall be payable to an injured employee for any week for which the injured employee receives unemployment benefits but only to the extent that the temporary total disability otherwise payable exceeds the unemployment benefits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 49, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-50. Failure to provide medical treatment - Medical examination - Fee schedule - Formulary.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The employer shall promptly provide an injured employee with medical, surgical, hospital, optometric, podiatric, and nursing services, along any with medicine, crutches, ambulatory devices, artificial limbs, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, and other apparatus as may be reasonably necessary in connection with the injury received by the employee. The employer shall have the right to choose the treating physician.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If the employer fails or neglects to provide medical treatment within five (5) days after actual knowledge is received of an injury, the injured employee may select a physician to provide medical treatment at the expense of the employer; provided, however, that the injured employee, or another in the employee's behalf, may obtain emergency treatment at the expense of the employer where such emergency treatment is not provided by the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Diagnostic tests shall not be repeated sooner than six (6) months from the date of the test unless agreed to by the parties or ordered by the Commission for good cause shown.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Unless recommended by the treating doctor at the time claimant reaches maximum medical improvement or by an independent medical examiner, continuing medical maintenance shall not be awarded by the Commission. The employer or insurance carrier shall not be responsible for continuing medical maintenance or pain management treatment that is outside the parameters established by the Physician Advisory Committee or ODG. The employer or insurance carrier shall not be responsible for continuing medical maintenance or pain management treatment not previously ordered by the Commission or approved in advance by the employer or insurance carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. An employee claiming or entitled to benefits under this act, shall, if ordered by the Commission or requested by the employer or insurance carrier, submit himself or herself for medical examination. If an employee refuses to submit himself or herself to examination, his or her right to prosecute any proceeding under this act shall be suspended, and no compensation shall be payable for the period of such refusal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. For compensable injuries resulting in the use of a medical device, ongoing service for the medical device shall be provided in situations including, but not limited to, medical device battery replacement, ongoing medication refills related to the medical device, medical device repair, or medical device replacement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The employer shall reimburse the employee for the actual mileage in excess of twenty (20) miles round-trip to and from the employee's home to the location of a medical service provider for all reasonable and necessary treatment, for an evaluation of an independent medical examiner and for any evaluation made at the request of the employer or insurance carrier. The rate of reimbursement for such travel expense shall be the official reimbursement rate as established by the State Travel Reimbursement Act. In no event shall the reimbursement of travel for medical treatment or evaluation exceed six hundred (600) miles round trip.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. Fee Schedule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The Commission shall conduct a review of the Fee Schedule every two (2) years. The Fee Schedule shall establish the maximum rates that medical providers shall be reimbursed for medical care provided to injured employees, including, but not limited to, charges by physicians, dentists, counselors, hospitals, ambulatory and outpatient facilities, clinical laboratory services, diagnostic testing services, and ambulance services, and charges for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies. The most current Fee Schedule established by the Administrator of the Workers' Compensation Court prior to the effective date of this section shall remain in effect, unless or until the Legislature approves the Commission's proposed Fee Schedule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Reimbursement for medical care shall be prescribed and limited by the Fee Schedule as adopted by the Commission, after notice and public hearing, and after approval by the Legislature by joint resolution. The director of the Employees Group Insurance Division of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services shall provide the Commission such information as may be relevant for the development of the Fee Schedule. The Commission shall develop the Fee Schedule in a manner in which quality of medical care is assured and maintained for injured employees. The Commission shall give due consideration to additional requirements for physicians treating an injured worker under this act, including, but not limited to, communication with claims representatives, case managers, attorneys, and representatives of employers, and the additional time required to complete forms for the Commission, insurance carriers, and employers.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. In making adjustments to the Fee Schedule, the Commission shall use, as a benchmark, the reimbursement rate for each Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code provided for in the fee schedule published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for use in Oklahoma (Medicare Fee Schedule) on the effective date of this section, workers&rsquo; compensation fee schedules employed by neighboring states, the latest edition of "Relative Values for Physicians" (RVP), usual, customary and reasonable medical payments to workers&rsquo; compensation health care providers in the same trade area for comparable treatment of a person with similar injuries, and all other data the Commission deems relevant. For services not valued by CMS, the Commission shall establish values based on the usual, customary and reasonable medical payments to health care providers in the same trade area for comparable treatment of a person with similar injuries.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;No reimbursement shall be allowed for any magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unless the MRI is provided by an entity that meets Medicare requirements for the payment of MRI services or is accredited by the American College of Radiology, the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. For all other radiology procedures, the reimbursement rate shall be the lesser of the reimbursement rate allowed by the 2010 Oklahoma Fee Schedule and two hundred seven percent (207%) of the Medicare Fee Schedule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;For reimbursement of medical services for Evaluation and Management of injured employees as defined in the Fee Schedule adopted by the Commission, the reimbursement rate shall not be less than one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the Medicare Fee Schedule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any entity providing durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics or supplies shall be accredited by a CMS-approved accreditation organization. If a physician provides durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, prescription drugs, or supplies to a patient ancillary to the patient&rsquo;s visit, reimbursement shall be no more than ten percent (10%) above cost.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;The Commission shall develop a reasonable stop-loss provision of the Fee Schedule to provide for adequate reimbursement for treatment for major burns, severe head and neurological injuries, multiple system injuries, and other catastrophic injuries requiring extended periods of intensive care.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The right to recover charges for every type of medical care for injuries arising out of and in the course of covered employment as defined in this act shall lie solely with the Commission. When a medical care provider has brought a claim to the Commission to obtain payment for services, a party who prevails in full on the claim shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Nothing in this section shall prevent an employer, insurance carrier, group self-insurance association, or certified workplace medical plan from contracting with a provider of medical care for a reimbursement rate that is greater than or less than limits established by the Fee Schedule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. A treating physician may not charge more than Four Hundred Dollars ($400.00) per hour for preparation for or testimony at a deposition or appearance before the Commission in connection with a claim covered by the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. The Commission's review of medical and treatment charges pursuant to this section shall be conducted pursuant to the Fee Schedule in existence at the time the medical care or treatment was provided. The judgment approving the medical and treatment charges pursuant to this section shall be enforceable by the Commission in the same manner as provided in this act for the enforcement of other compensation payments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. Charges for prescription drugs dispensed by a pharmacy shall be limited to ninety percent (90%) of the average wholesale price of the prescription, plus a dispensing fee of Five Dollars ($5.00) per prescription. "Average wholesale price" means the amount determined from the latest publication designated by the Commission. Physicians shall prescribe and pharmacies shall dispense generic equivalent drugs when available. If the National Drug Code, or "NDC", for the drug product dispensed is for a repackaged drug, then the maximum reimbursement shall be the lesser of the original labeler's NDC and the lowest-cost therapeutic equivalent drug product. Compounded medications shall be billed by the compounding pharmacy at the ingredient level, with each ingredient identified using the applicable NDC of the drug product, and the corresponding quantity. Ingredients with no NDC area are not separately reimbursable. Payment shall be based on a sum of the allowable fee for each ingredient plus a dispensing fee of Five Dollars ($5.00) per prescription.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. When medical care includes prescription drugs dispensed by a physician or other medical care provider and the NDC for the drug product dispensed is for a repackaged drug, then the maximum reimbursement shall be the lesser of the original labeler's NDC and the lowest-cost therapeutic equivalent drug product. Payment shall be based upon a sum of the allowable fee for each ingredient plus a dispensing fee of Five Dollars ($5.00) per prescription. Compounded medications shall be billed by the compounding pharmacy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">10. Implantables are paid in addition to procedural reimbursement paid for medical or surgical services. A manufacturer's invoice for the actual cost to a physician, hospital or other entity of an implantable device shall be adjusted by the physician, hospital or other entity to reflect, at the time implanted, all applicable discounts, rebates, considerations and product replacement programs and shall be provided to the payer by the physician or hospital as a condition of payment for the implantable device. If the physician, or an entity in which the physician has a financial interest other than an ownership interest of less than five percent (5%) in a publically traded company, provides implantable devices, this relationship shall be disclosed to patient, employer, insurance company, third-party commission, certified workplace medical plan, case managers, and attorneys representing claimant and defendant. If the physician, or an entity in which the physician has a financial interest other than an ownership interest of less than five percent (5%) in a publically traded company, buys and resells implantable devices to a hospital or another physician, the markup shall be limited to ten percent (10%) above cost.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">11. Payment for medical care as required by this act shall be due within forty-five (45) days of the receipt by the employer or insurance carrier of a complete and accurate invoice, unless the employer or insurance carrier has a good-faith reason to request additional information about such invoice. Thereafter, the Commission may assess a penalty up to twenty-five percent (25%) for any amount due under the Fee Schedule that remains unpaid on the finding by the Commission that no good-faith reason existed for the delay in payment. If the Commission finds a pattern of an employer or insurance carrier willfully and knowingly delaying payments for medical care, the Commission may assess a civil penalty of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) per occurrence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">12. If an employee fails to appear for a scheduled appointment with a physician, the employer or insurance company shall pay to the physician a reasonable charge, to be determined by the Commission, for the missed appointment. In the absence of a good-faith reason for missing the appointment, the Commission shall order the employee to reimburse the employer or insurance company for the charge.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">13. Physicians providing treatment under this act shall disclose under penalty of perjury to the Commission, on a form prescribed by the Commission, any ownership or interest in any health care facility, business, or diagnostic center that is not the physician's primary place of business. The disclosure shall include any employee leasing arrangement between the physician and any health care facility that is not the physician's primary place of business. A physician's failure to disclose as required by this section shall be grounds for the Commission to disqualify the physician from providing treatment under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. Formulary. The Commission by rule shall adopt a closed formulary. Rules adopted by the Commission shall allow an appeals process for claims in which a treating doctor determines and documents that a drug not included in the formulary is necessary to treat an injured employee's compensable injury. The Commission by rule shall require the use of generic pharmaceutical medications and clinically appropriate over-the-counter alternatives to prescription medications unless otherwise specified by the prescribing doctor, in accordance with applicable state law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 50.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-51. Payment of medical expenses.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The employer shall pay one hundred percent (100%) of the medical expenses, subject to the Fee Schedule, with no maximum dollar or duration limits for all compensable injuries.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 51, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-52. Liability for non-compensable injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The employer shall not be liable for any of the payments for medical services and supplies under this act if the Commission determines that there was not a compensable injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 52, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-53. Physical examination.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An injured employee claiming to be entitled to benefits under this act shall submit to physical examination and treatment by another qualified physician, designated or approved by the Commission, as the Commission may require from time to time if reasonable and necessary.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. In cases where the Commission directs examination or treatment, proceedings shall be suspended, and no compensation shall be payable for any period during which the employee refuses to submit to examination and treatment or otherwise obstructs the examination or treatment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Failure of the employee to obey a judgment of the Commission for an examination or treatment for a period of one (1) month from the date of the judgment shall bar the right of the claimant to further compensation in respect to the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 53, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-54. Refusal to submit to surgery.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Except in cases of hernia, which are specifically covered by Section 61 of this act, where an injured employee unreasonably refuses to submit to a surgical operation which has been advised by at least two qualified physicians and where the recommended operation does not involve unreasonable risk of life or additional serious physical impairment, the Commission shall take the refusal into consideration when determining compensation for permanent partial or permanent total disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 54, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-55. Unreasonable charges.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If an employer or carrier believes that a charge for medical services or supplies under this act is unreasonable, it may submit the charge to the Commission for review. If the Commission determines that the charge is unreasonable, it may amend the charges to reflect the Fee Schedule established under Section 50 of this act, if applicable, or in accordance with reasonable market rates for the services or supplies provided.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The provisions of this section relating to charges shall not apply if a written contract exists between the employer and the person who renders the medical service or supplies.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 55, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-56. Certified workplace medical plans.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If the employer has previously contracted with a certified workplace medical plan, the employer shall select for the injured employee a treating physician from the physicians listed within the network of the certified workplace medical plan. The employee may apply for a change of physician by utilizing the dispute resolution process set out in the certified workplace medical plan on file with the State Department of Health.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If the employer is not covered by a certified workplace medical plan, the employer shall select the treating physician. The Commission on application of the employee shall order one change of treating physician. Upon the Commission's granting of the application, the employer shall provide a list of three physicians from whom the employee may select the replacement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 56, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-57. Failure to appear for scheduled appointments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If an injured employee misses two or more scheduled appointments for treatment, he or she shall no longer be eligible to receive benefits under this act, unless his or her absence was:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Caused by extraordinary circumstances beyond the employee's control as determined by the Commission; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The employee gave the employer at least two (2) hours prior notice of the absence and had a valid excuse.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Inability to get transportation to or from the appointment shall not be considered extraordinary circumstances nor a valid excuse for the absence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 57, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-58. Copying of medical records.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Every hospital or other person furnishing the injured employee with medical services shall permit its records to be copied by and shall furnish full written information to the Commission, the Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit, the employer, the carrier, and the employee or the employee's dependents.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The reasonable cost of copies shall be paid by the requestor to the health care or medical service provider furnishing them.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. No person who in good faith under subsection A of this section or under rules established by the Commission reports medical information shall incur legal liability for the disclosure of the information.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 58, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-59. Computation of average weekly wages.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Compensation under this act based on the employee's average weekly wage shall be computed by dividing the employee's gross earnings by the number of full weeks of employment with the employer, up to a maximum of fifty-two (52) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. If the injured employee was working on a piece basis, the average weekly wage shall be determined by dividing the earnings of the employee by the number of hours required to earn the wages during the period not to exceed fifty-two (52) weeks preceding the week in which the accident occurred and by multiplying this hourly wage by the number of hours in a full-time workweek in the employment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Overtime earnings are to be added to the regular weekly wages and shall be computed by dividing the overtime earnings by the number of weeks worked by the employee in the same employment under the contract of hire in force at the time of the accident, not to exceed a period of fifty-two (52) weeks preceding the accident.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If, because of exceptional circumstances, the average weekly wage cannot be fairly and justly determined by the above formulas, the Commission may determine the average weekly wage by a method that is just and fair to all parties concerned.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The benefit level for members of the National Guard and any authorized voluntary or uncompensated worker rendering services as a firefighter, peace officer or civil defense worker shall be determined by using the wages of the employee in his or her regular occupation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 59, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-60. Evaluation of permanent disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Physician Advisory Committee may recommend the adoption of a method or system to evaluate permanent disability that shall deviate from, or be used in place of or in combination with the Guides. Such recommendation shall be made to the Commission which may adopt the recommendation in part or in whole. The adopted method or system shall be submitted by the Director to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate within the first ten (10) legislative days of a regular session of the Legislature. Such method or system so submitted shall be subject to disapproval by joint or concurrent resolution of the Legislature during the legislative session in which submitted. If disapproved, the existing method of determining permanent partial disability shall continue in effect. If the Legislature takes no action on the method or system submitted by the Director, the method or system shall become operative thirty (30) days following the adjournment of the Legislature.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 60, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-61. Hernias.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A hernia is not a compensable injury unless the injured employee can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that it meets the definition of "compensable injury" under this act and:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The occurrence of the hernia followed as the result of sudden effort, severe strain, or the application of force directly to the abdominal wall;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. There was severe pain in the hernial region;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The pain caused the employee's work to be substantially affected;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Notice of the occurrence was given to the employer within five (5) days thereafter; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. The physical distress following the occurrence of the hernia was such as to require the attendance of a licensed physician.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 45 of this act, if it is determined that a hernia is a compensable injury under subsection A of this section, the injured employee shall be entitled to temporary total disability for six (6) weeks.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. If the injured employee refuses to permit the hernia operation if recommended by a physician, he or she shall be entitled to temporary total disability for thirteen (13) weeks in addition to appropriate medical care.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If the injured employee dies within one (1) year as a direct and sole result of the hernia or a radical operation of the hernia, the deceased employee's dependents shall be entitled to death compensation under Section 48 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 61, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-62. Nonsurgical soft tissue injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 45 of this act, if an employee suffers a nonsurgical soft tissue injury, temporary total disability compensation shall not exceed eight (8) weeks, regardless of the number of parts of the body to which there is a nonsurgical soft tissue injury. An employee who is treated with an injection or injections shall be entitled to an extension of an additional eight (8) weeks. An employee who has been recommended by a treating physician for surgery for a soft tissue injury may petition the Workers' Compensation Commission for one extension of temporary total disability compensation and the Commission may order an extension, not to exceed sixteen (16) additional weeks. If the surgery is not performed within thirty (30) days of the approval of the surgery by the employer, its insurance carrier, or an order of the Commission authorizing the surgery, and the delay is caused by the employee acting in bad faith, the benefits for the extension period shall be terminated and the employee shall reimburse the employer any temporary total disability compensation he or she received beyond eight (8) weeks. An epidural steroid injection, or any procedure of the same or similar physical invasiveness, shall not be considered surgery.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. For purposes of this section, "soft tissue injury" means damage to one or more of the tissues that surround bones and joints. Soft tissue injury includes, but is not limited to, sprains, strains, contusions, tendonitis and muscle tears. Cumulative trauma is to be considered a soft tissue injury. Soft tissue injury does not include any of the following:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Injury to or disease of the spine, spinal discs, spinal nerves or spinal cord, where corrective surgery is performed;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Brain or closed-head injury as evidenced by:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;sensory or motor disturbances,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;communication disturbances,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;episodic neurological disorders, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;other brain and closed-head injury conditions at least as severe in nature as any condition provided in subparagraphs a through d of this paragraph; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Any joint replacement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 62, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-63. Reports.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Within ten (10) days after the date of receipt of notice or of knowledge of injury or death, the employer shall send to the Commission a report setting forth:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The name, address, and business of the employer;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The name, address, and occupation of the employee;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The cause and nature of the injury or death;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The year, month, day, approximately when, and the particular locality where, the injury or death occurred; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Such other information as the Commission may require.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Additional reports with respect to the injury and of the condition of the employee shall be sent by the employer to the Commission at such time and in such manner as the Commission may prescribe. However, an employer may refuse to provide any information that it deems privileged or confidential.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Any report provided for in subsection A or B of this section shall not be evidence of any fact stated in the report in any proceeding with respect to the injury or death on account of which the report is made.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The mailing of any report in a stamped envelope, properly addressed, within the time prescribed in subsection A or B of this section, shall be in compliance with this section. In addition, the Commission shall establish a means of electronic delivery of any report or other information required by this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. 1. Any employer who after notice refuses to send any report required by this section shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) for each refusal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Whenever the employer has failed or refused to comply as provided in this section, the Commission may serve on the employer a proposed judgment declaring the employer to be in violation of this act and containing the amount, if any, of the civil penalty to be assessed against the employer under this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. An employer may contest a proposed judgment of the Commission issued under subsection E of this section by filing with the Commission, within twenty (20) days of receipt of the proposed judgment, a written request for a hearing. If a written request for hearing is not filed with the Commission within this time, the proposed judgment, proposed penalty, or both, shall be a final judgment of the Commission. The request for a hearing does not need to be in any particular form but shall specify the grounds on which the person contests the proposed judgment, the proposed assessment, or both. A proposed judgment by the Commission under this section shall be prima facie correct, and the burden is on the employer to prove that the proposed judgment is incorrect.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Hearings conducted under this section shall proceed as provided in Sections 69 through 78 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. If an employer fails to pay any civil penalty assessed against the employer after a judgment issued under this section has become final by operation of law, the Commission may petition the district court of the county where the employer's principal place of business is located for an order enjoining the employer from engaging in further employment or conduct of business until such time as the employer makes all required reports and pays all civil penalties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 63, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-64. Certification of workplace medical plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Any person or entity may make written application to the State Commissioner of Health to have a workplace medical plan certified that provides management of quality treatment to injured employees for injuries and diseases compensable under this act. Each application for certification shall be accompanied by a fee of One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00). A workplace medical plan may be certified to provide services to a limited geographic area. A certificate is valid for a five-year period, unless revoked or suspended. Application for certification shall be made in the form and manner and shall set forth information regarding the proposed program for providing services as the State Commissioner of Health may prescribe. The information shall include, but not be limited to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. A list of the names of all medical providers who shall provide services under the plan, together with appropriate evidence of compliance with any licensing or certification requirements for those providers to practice in this state; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. A description of the places and manner of providing services under the plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The State Commissioner of Health shall not certify a plan unless he or she finds that the plan:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Proposes to provide quality services for all medical services which:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;may be required by this act in a manner that is timely, effective and convenient for the employee, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;utilize medical treatment guidelines and protocols consistent with those established by the Official Disability Guidelines;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Is reasonably geographically convenient to residents of the area for which it seeks certification;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Provides appropriate financial incentives to reduce service costs and utilization without sacrificing the quality of service;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Provides adequate methods of peer review, utilization review and dispute resolution to prevent inappropriate, excessive or medically unnecessary treatment, and excludes participation in the plan by those providers who violate these treatment standards;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Provides aggressive case management for injured employees and a program for early return to work;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. Provides a timely and accurate method of reporting to the State Commissioner of Health necessary information regarding medical service costs and utilization to enable the State Commissioner of Health to determine the effectiveness of the plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. Authorizes necessary emergency medical treatment for an injury provided by a provider of medical, surgical, and hospital services who is not a part of the plan; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. Does not discriminate against or exclude from participation in the plan any category of providers of medical, surgical, or hospital services and includes an adequate number of each category of providers of medical, surgical, and hospital services to give participants access to all categories of providers and does not discriminate against ethnic minority providers of medical services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The State Commissioner of Health may accept findings, licenses or certifications of other state agencies as satisfactory evidence of compliance with a particular requirement of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Except for self-insured employers, if any insurer does not contract with or provide access to a certified workplace medical plan, an insured, after sixty (60) days' written notice to its insurance carrier, shall be authorized to contract independently with a plan of his or her choice for a period of one (1) year, to provide medical care under this act. The insured shall be authorized to contract, after sixty (60) days' written notice to its insurance carrier, for additional one-year periods if the insurer has not contracted with or provided access to a certified workplace medical plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If an employer is not experience-rated when it participates in a certified workplace medical plan, its workers' compensation insurer shall grant a ten-percent premium reduction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The State Commissioner of Health shall refuse to certify or shall revoke or suspend the certification of a plan if the State Commissioner of Health finds that the program for providing medical or health care services fails to meet the requirements of this section, or service under the plan is not being provided in accordance with the terms of the plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The State Commissioner of Health shall implement a site visit protocol for employees of the State Department of Health to perform an inspection of a certified workplace medical plan to ensure that medical services to an employee and the medical management of the employee's needs are adequately met in a timely manner and that the certified workplace medical plan is complying with all other applicable provisions of this act and the State Department of Health. This protocol shall include, but not be limited to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. A site visit shall be made to each certified workplace medical plan not less often than once every year, but not later than thirty (30) days following the anniversary date of issuance of the initial or latest renewal certificate;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. A site visit shall determine whether or not a certified workplace medical plan is operating in accordance with its latest application to the State Department of Health;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Compliant operations shall include, but not be limited to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;timely and effective medical services available with reasonable geographic convenience,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;treatment guidelines and protocols consistent with the Official Disability Guidelines, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;effective programs for utilization review, case management, grievances, and dispute resolution;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Performance of a site visit shall include:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;inspection of organizational documentation,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;inspection of systems documentation and processes,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;random or systematic sampling of closed and open case management cases,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;workplace medical plan employee and management interviews, as appropriate;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. An initial site visit may occur with an interval of less than twelve (12) months to a recently certified plan, or a site visit may occur more often than once in every twelve (12) months if the State Commissioner of Health has reason to suspect that a plan is not operating in accordance with its certification;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. If a deficient practice is identified during a site visit, the State Department of Health shall require a certified workplace medical plan to submit a timely and acceptable written plan of correction, and then may perform a follow-up visit or visits to ensure that the deficient practice has been eliminated;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. If a deficient practice is not remedied by a certified workplace medical plan on a timely basis, the State Commissioner of Health shall revoke or suspend the certification of the plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. In addition to the certification fee required pursuant to subsection A of this section, certified workplace medical plans shall pay the State Department of Health:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) for an initial annual site visit, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) for each follow-up visit, but only if less than two site visits occur in a twelve-month period; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. In addition to the site visit fee required pursuant to paragraph 8 of this subsection, employees of the State Department of Health may charge to the certified workplace medical plan reasonable travel and travel-related expenses for the site visit such as overnight lodging and meals. A certified workplace medical plan shall reimburse travel expenses to the State Department of Health at rates equal to the amounts then currently allowed under the State Travel Reimbursement Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. The State Board of Health shall adopt such rules as may be necessary to implement the provisions of this section. Such rules shall authorize any person to petition the State Commissioner of Health for decertification of a certified workplace medical plan for a material violation of any rules promulgated pursuant to this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 64, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-65. Occupational disease.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If an employee suffers from an occupational disease as defined in this section and is disabled or dies as a result of the disease, the employee, or, in case of death, his or her dependents, shall be entitled to compensation as if the disability or death were caused by injury arising out of work activities within the scope of employment, except as otherwise provided in this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. No compensation shall be payable for an occupational disease if the employee, at the time of entering into the employment of the employer by whom the compensation would otherwise be payable, falsely represented himself or herself in writing as not having previously been disabled, laid off, or compensated in damages or otherwise, because of the disease.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. 1. If an occupational disease is aggravated by any other disease or infirmity, not itself compensable, or if disability or death from any other cause, not itself compensable, is aggravated, prolonged, accelerated, or in any way contributed to by an occupational disease, the compensation payable shall be reduced and limited to the proportion only of the compensation that would be payable if the occupational disease were the major cause of the disability or death as the occupational disease, as a causative factor, bears to all the causes of the disability or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The reduction in compensation is to be effected by reducing the number of weekly or monthly payments or the amounts of the payments, as under the circumstances of the particular case may be for the best interest of the claimant.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. 1. "Occupational disease", as used in this act, unless the context otherwise requires, means any disease that results in disability or death and arises out of and in the course of the occupation or employment of the employee or naturally follows or unavoidably results from an injury as that term is defined in this act. A causal connection between the occupation or employment and the occupational disease shall be established by a preponderance of the evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. No compensation shall be payable for any contagious or infectious disease unless contracted in the course and scope of employment in or immediately connected with a hospital or sanatorium in which persons suffering from that disease are cared for or treated.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. No compensation shall be payable for any ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. 1. When compensation is payable for an occupational disease, the employer in whose employment the employee was last injuriously exposed to the hazards of the disease and the carrier, if any, on the risk when the employee was last injuriously exposed under the employer shall be liable.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The amount of the compensation shall be based on the average weekly wage of the employee when last injuriously exposed under the employer, and the notice of injury and claim for compensation shall be given and made to that employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. 1. An employer shall not be liable for any compensation for an occupational disease unless:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;the disease is due to the nature of an employment in which the hazards of the disease actually exist and are characteristic thereof and peculiar to the trade, occupation, process, or employment and is actually incurred in the course and scope of his or her employment. This includes any disease due to or attributable to exposure to or contact with any radioactive material by an employee in the course and scope of his or her employment,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;disablement or death results within three (3) years in case of silicosis or asbestosis, or one (1) year in case of any other occupational disease, except a diseased condition caused by exposure to X-rays, radioactive substances, or ionizing radiation, after the last injurious exposure to the disease in the employment, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;in case of death, death follows continuous disability from the disease, commencing within the period, for which compensation has been paid or awarded or timely claim made as provided in subparagraph b of this paragraph and results within seven (7) years after the last exposure.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. However, in case of a diseased condition caused by exposure to X-rays, radioactive substances, or ionizing radiation only, the limitations expressed do not apply.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 65, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-66. Silicosis and asbestosis.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. As used in this act, unless the context otherwise requires:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. "Asbestosis" means the characteristic fibrotic condition of the lungs caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. "Silicosis" means the characteristic fibrotic condition of the lungs caused by the inhalation of silica dust.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. In the absence of conclusive evidence in favor of the claim, disability or death from silicosis or asbestosis shall be presumed not to be due to the nature of any occupation within the provision of this section unless during the ten (10) years immediately preceding the date of disablement the employee has been exposed to the inhalation of silica dust or asbestos dust over a period of not less than five (5) years, two (2) years of which shall have been in this state, under a contract of employment performed in this state. However, if the employee has been employed by the same employer during the entire five-year period, his or her right to compensation against the employer shall not be affected by the fact that he or she had been employed during any part of the period outside of this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Except as otherwise provided in this section, compensation for disability from uncomplicated silicosis or asbestosis shall be payable in accordance with the provisions of Sections 45 and 48 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. 1. In case of disability or death from silicosis or asbestosis complicated with tuberculosis of the lungs, compensation shall be payable as for uncomplicated silicosis or asbestosis, provided that the silicosis or asbestosis was an essential factor in the causing of disability or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. In case of disability or death from silicosis or asbestosis complicated with any other disease, or from any other disease complicated with silicosis or asbestosis, the compensation shall be reduced as provided in subsection C of Section 65 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. 1. When an employee, though not actually disabled, is found by the Commission to be affected by silicosis or asbestosis to such a degree as to make it unduly hazardous for him or her to continue in an employment involving exposure to the hazards of the disease, the Commission may order that he or she be removed from his or her employment. In such a case, or in case he or she has already been discharged from the employment and is unemployed, he or she shall be entitled to compensation until he or she can obtain steady employment in some other suitable occupation in which there are no hazards of the disease.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. When in any case the forced change of employment shall, in the opinion of the Commission, require that the employee be given special training in order to qualify him or her for another occupation, the employer liable for compensation shall pay for the vocational rehabilitation and training provided for in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 66, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-67. Notice of occupational disease or cumulative trauma.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Except as otherwise provided in this section, notice of disability resulting from an occupational disease or cumulative trauma shall be the same as in cases of accidental injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Written notice shall be given to the employer of an occupational disease or cumulative trauma by the employee, or a representative of the employee in the case of incapacity or death, within six (6) months after the first distinct manifestation of the disease or cumulative trauma or within six (6) months after death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An award or denial of award of compensation for an occupational disease or cumulative trauma may be reviewed and compensation increased, reduced, or terminated where previously awarded, or awarded where previously denied, only on proof of fraud or undue influence or of change of condition, and then only on application by a party in interest made not later than one (1) year after the denial of award or, where compensation has been awarded, after the award or the date when the last payment was made under the award, except in cases of silicosis or asbestosis, where the statute of limitations shall be two (2) years.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 67, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-68. Rebuttable presumption injury not work-related.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Unless an employee gives oral or written notice to the employer within thirty (30) days of the date an injury occurs, the rebuttable presumption shall be that the injury was not work-related. Such presumption must be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Unless an employee gives oral or written notice to the employer within thirty (30) days of the employee's separation from employment, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that an occupational disease or cumulative trauma injury did not arise out of and in the course of employment. Such presumption must be overcome by a preponderance of the evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 68, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-69. Statute of limitations.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Time for Filing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. A claim for benefits under this act, other than an occupational disease, shall be barred unless it is filed with the Commission within one (1) year from the date of the injury. If during the one-year period following the filing of the claim the employee receives no weekly benefit compensation and receives no medical treatment resulting from the alleged injury, the claim shall be barred thereafter. For purposes of this section, the date of the injury shall be defined as the date an injury is caused by an accident as set forth in paragraph 9 of Section 2 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;A claim for compensation for disability on account of injury which is either an occupational disease or occupational infection shall be barred unless filed with the Commission within two (2) years from the date of the last injurious exposure to the hazards of the disease or infection.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;A claim for compensation for disability on account of silicosis or asbestosis shall be filed with the Commission within one (1) year after the time of disablement, and the disablement shall occur within three (3) years from the date of the last injurious exposure to the hazard of silicosis or asbestosis.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;A claim for compensation for disability on account of a disease condition caused by exposure to X-rays, radioactive substances, or ionizing radiation only shall be filed with the Commission within two (2) years from the date the condition is made known to an employee following examination and diagnosis by a medical doctor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. A claim for compensation on account of death shall be barred unless filed with the Commission within two (2) years of the date of such a death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. If within six (6) months after the filing of a claim for compensation no bona fide request for a hearing has been made with respect to the claim, the claim may, on motion and after hearing, be dismissed with prejudice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Time for Filing Additional Compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. In cases in which any compensation, including disability or medical, has been paid on account of injury, a claim for additional compensation shall be barred unless filed with the Commission within one (1) year from the date of the last payment of disability compensation or two (2) years from the date of the injury, whichever is greater.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The statute of limitations provided in this subsection shall not apply to claims for the replacement of medicine, crutches, ambulatory devices, artificial limbs, eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, and other apparatus permanently or indefinitely required as the result of a compensable injury, when the employer or carrier previously furnished such medical supplies, but replacement of such items shall not constitute payment of compensation so as to toll the statute of limitations.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A claim for additional compensation shall specifically state that it is a claim for additional compensation. Documents which do not specifically request additional benefits shall not be considered a claim for additional compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If within six (6) months after the filing of a claim for additional compensation no bona fide request for a hearing has been made with respect to the claim, the claim shall be dismissed without prejudice to the refiling of the claim within the limitation period specified in subsection B of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Failure to File. Failure to file a claim within the period prescribed in subsection A or B of this section shall not be a bar to the right to benefits hereunder unless objection to the failure is made at the first hearing on the claim in which all parties in interest have been given a reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Persons under Disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Notwithstanding any statute of limitation provided for in this act, when it is established that failure to file a claim by an injured employee or his or her dependents was induced by fraud, the claim may be filed within one (1) year from the time of the discovery of the fraud.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Subsections A and B of this section shall not apply to a mental incompetent or minor so long as the person has no guardian or similar legal representative. The limitations prescribed in subsections A and B of this section shall apply to the mental incompetent or minor from the date of the appointment of a guardian or similar legal representative for that person, and when no guardian or similar representative has been appointed, to a minor on reaching the age of majority.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. A latent injury or condition shall not delay or toll the limitation periods specified in this section. This subsection shall not apply to the limitation period for occupational diseases specified in paragraph 2 of subsection A of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 69, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-70. Promulgation of rules.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Commission is authorized and directed to promulgate rules to establish and implement a preliminary conference procedure designed to accomplish the following objectives:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. To provide the claimant an opportunity to confer with a legal advisor on the staff of the Commission to be advised of his or her rights under this act and to ensure that the rights are protected. The conference shall be held in the county where the accident occurred, if the accident occurred in this state, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, or otherwise directed by the Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. To provide an opportunity for, but not compel, a binding settlement of some or all the issues present at the time;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. To facilitate the resolution of issues without the expense of litigation or attorney fees for either party; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. To authorize the legal advisor to approve compromise settlements entered into while attending or as a result of the preliminary conference and those joint petition settlements entered into under Section 87 of this act. Provided, however, the same legal advisors shall not both advise the claimant and approve the joint petition.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 70.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-71. Notice - Investigation and hearing - Evidence and Construction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Notice. Within ten (10) days after a claim for compensation has been filed, the Commission shall notify the employer and any other interested person of the filing of the claim.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Investigation - Hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The Commission shall assign the claim to an administrative law judge who shall hold a hearing on application of any interested party, or on its own motion.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. An application for a hearing shall clearly set forth the specific issues of fact or law in controversy and the contentions of the party applying for the hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. If any party is not represented by a lawyer, the administrative law judge shall define the issues to be heard.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. If a hearing on the claim is ordered, the administrative law judge shall give the claimant and other interested parties ten (10) days' notice of the hearing served personally on the claimant and other parties, or by registered mail. The hearing shall be held in Tulsa or Oklahoma County, as determined by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. The award, together with the statement of the findings of fact and other matters pertinent to the issues, shall be filed with the record of the proceedings, and a copy of the award shall immediately be sent to the parties in or to counsels of record, if any.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Evidence and Construction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;At the hearing the claimant and the employer may each present evidence relating to the claim. Evidence may be presented by any person authorized in writing for such purpose. The evidence may include verified medical reports which shall be accorded such weight as may be warranted when considering all evidence in the case.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any determination of the existence or extent of physical impairment shall be supported by objective and measurable physical or mental findings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. When deciding any issue, administrative law judges and the Commission shall determine, on the basis of the record as a whole, whether the party having the burden of proof on the issue has established it by a preponderance of the evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Administrative law judges, the Commission, and any reviewing courts shall strictly construe the provisions of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. In determining whether a party has met the burden of proof on an issue, administrative law judges and the Commission shall weigh the evidence impartially and without giving the benefit of the doubt to any party.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Judgment. The judgment denying the claim or making the award shall be filed in the office of the Commission, and a copy shall be sent by registered mail to the claimant and to the employer or to their attorneys.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. No compensation for disability of an injured employee shall be payable for any period beyond his or her death; provided, however, an award of compensation for disability may be made after the death of the injured employee for the period of disability preceding death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 71, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-72. Conduct of Hearing or Inquiry - Public hearings - Evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Conduct of Hearing or Inquiry.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. In making an investigation or inquiry or conducting a hearing, the administrative law judges and the Commission shall not be bound by technical or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure, except as provided by this act. The administrative law judges and the Commission may make such investigation or inquiry, or conduct the hearing, in a manner as shall best ascertain the rights of the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Declarations of a deceased employee concerning the injury may be received in evidence and may, if corroborated by other evidence, be sufficient to establish the injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. When deciding any issue, administrative law judges and the Commission shall determine, on the basis of the record as a whole, whether the party having the burden of proof on the issue has established the proof by a preponderance of evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Administrative law judges are required to make specific, on-the-record findings of ultimate facts responsive to the issues shaped by the evidence as well as conclusions of law on which its judgment is to be rested.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Hearings to be Public - Records.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Hearings before the Commission shall be open to the public and shall be stenographically reported. The Commission is authorized to contract for the reporting of the hearings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;The Commission shall, by rule, provide for the preparation of a record of all hearings and other proceedings before it.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Commission shall not be required to stenographically report or prepare a record of joint petition hearings. The administrative law judge or legal advisor shall record the hearing at no cost to the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Introduction of Evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. All oral evidence or documentary evidence shall be presented to the designated representative of the Commission at the initial hearing on a controverted claim. The oral evidence shall be stenographically reported. Each party shall present all evidence at the initial hearing. Further hearings for the purpose of introducing additional evidence shall be granted only at the discretion of the hearing officer or Commission. A request for a hearing for the introduction of additional evidence shall show the substance of the evidence desired to be presented.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Any party proposing to introduce medical reports or testimony of physicians at the hearing of a controverted claim shall, as a condition precedent to the right to do so, furnish to the opposing party and to the Commission copies of the written reports of the physicians of their findings and opinions at least seven (7) days before the date of the hearing. If no written reports are available to a party, the party shall notify in writing the opposing party and the Commission of the name and address of the physicians proposed to be used as witnesses and the substance of their testimony at least seven (7) days before the hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;If the opposing party desires to cross-examine the physician, he or she should notify the party who submits a medical report to him or her as soon as practicable, in order that he or she may make every effort to have the physician present for the hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. A party failing to observe the requirements of this subsection may not be allowed to introduce medical reports or testimony of physicians at a hearing, except in the discretion of the hearing officer or the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The time periods may be waived by the consent of the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Expert testimony shall not be allowed unless it satisfies the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 with annotations and amendments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 72, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-73. Preservation and enforcement of orders.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Commission shall have the power to preserve and enforce order during any proceeding before it, to issue subpoenas for and administer oaths to and compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses, and require the production of books, papers, documents, and other evidence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If any person or party attending any proceeding before the Commission disobeys or resists any lawful order or process, obstructs the hearing, neglects to produce any book, paper or document after having been ordered to do so, refuses to appear after having been subpoenaed, refuses to take oath as a witness, refuses to be examined according to law, refuses to comply with any final judgment of an administrative law judge or the Commission or willfully refuses to pay an uncontroverted medical or related expense within forty-five (45) days after the respondent has received the statement, the person or party, at the discretion of the administrative law judge or the Commission, may be found to be in contempt of the Commission and may be subject to a fine not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 73, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-74. Rebuttable presumptions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">In any proceeding for the enforcement of a claim for compensation, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The Commission has jurisdiction;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Sufficient notice was given; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The injury was not occasioned by the willful intention of the injured employee to bring about the injury to himself or herself or another.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 74, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-75. Depositions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Commission may cause depositions of witnesses to be taken in such manner as it may direct.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 75, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-76. Witness fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Each witness who appears in obedience to a subpoena shall be entitled to the same fees as witnesses in a civil action in the district court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 76, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-77. Employment of attorneys.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If the Commission is a party to or is otherwise interested in a court proceeding under this act, it may employ attorneys to appear on its behalf. If requested by the Commission, it shall be the duty of the Attorney General or the prosecuting attorneys of the different districts to represent the Commission without extra compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 77, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-78. Appeals process.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Any party feeling aggrieved by the judgment, decision, or award made by the administrative law judge may, within ten (10) days of issuance, appeal to the Workers' Compensation Commission. After hearing arguments, the Commission may reverse or modify the decision only if it determines that the decision was against the clear weight of the evidence or contrary to law. All such proceedings of the Commission shall be recorded by a court reporter, if requested by any party. Any judgment of the Commission which reverses a decision of the administrative law judge shall contain specific findings relating to the reversal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The appellant shall pay a filing fee of One Hundred Seventy-five Dollars ($175.00) to the Commission at the time of filing his or her appeal. The fee shall be deposited in the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The judgment, decision or award of the Commission shall be final and conclusive on all questions within its jurisdiction between the parties unless an action is commenced in the Supreme Court of this state to review the judgment, decision or award within twenty (20) days of being sent to the parties. Any judgment, decision or award made by an administrative law judge shall be stayed until all appeal rights have been waived or exhausted. The Supreme Court may modify, reverse, remand for rehearing, or set aside the judgment or award only if it was:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. In violation of constitutional provisions;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. In excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of the Commission;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Made on unlawful procedure;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Affected by other error of law;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, material, probative and substantial competent evidence;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. Arbitrary or capricious;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. Procured by fraud; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. Missing findings of fact on issues essential to the decision.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">This action shall be commenced by filing with the Clerk of the Supreme Court a certified copy of the judgment, decision or award of the Commission attached to the petition by the complaint which shall specify why the judgment, decision or award is erroneous or illegal. The proceedings shall be heard in a summary manner and shall have precedence over all other civil cases in the Supreme Court, except preferred Corporation Commission appeals. The Supreme Court shall require the appealing party to file within forty-five (45) days from the date of the filing of an appeal or a judgment appealed from, a transcript of the record of the proceedings before the Commission, or such later time as may be granted by the Supreme Court on application and for good cause shown. The action shall be subject to the law and practice applicable to other civil actions cognizable in the Supreme Court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. A fee of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) per appeal to the Supreme Court shall be paid to the Commission and deposited in the Workers' Compensation Fund as costs for preparing, assembling, indexing and transmitting the record for appellate review. This fee shall be paid by the party taking the appeal. If more than one party to the action files an appeal from the same judgment, decision or award, the fee shall be paid by the party whose petition in error commences the principal appeal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 78, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-79. Failure to comply with final compensation judgement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If any employer fails to comply with a final compensation judgment or award, any beneficiary of the judgment or award, or the Commission, may file a certified copy of the judgment or award in the office of the district court clerk of any county in this state where any property of the employer may be found. At that time, the district court clerk shall enter the judgment or award in the judgment record of the county, and the judgment or award so recorded shall be a judgment and lien as are judgments of the district court, and enforceable as such.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 79, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-80. Review of compensation judgements.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Except where a joint petition settlement has been approved, the Commission may review any compensation judgment, award, or decision. Such review may be done at any time within six (6) months of termination of the compensation period fixed in the original compensation judgment or award, on the Commission's own motion or on the application of any party in interest, on the ground of a change in physical condition or on proof of erroneous wage rate. On review, the Commission may make a judgment or award terminating, continuing, decreasing, or increasing for the future the compensation previously awarded, subject to the maximum limits provided for in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The review and subsequent judgment or award shall be made in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Sections 69 through 78 of this act. No review shall affect any compensation paid under a prior order, judgment or award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission may correct any clerical error in any compensation judgment or award within one (1) year from the date of its issuance.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Aging and the effects of aging on a compensable injury are not to be considered in determining whether there has been a change in physical condition. Aging or the effect of aging on a compensable injury shall not be considered in determining permanent disability under this section or any other section in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 80, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-81. Commencing proceedings on unreasonable grounds.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If the court having jurisdiction over the claim or compensation judgment proceedings determines that the proceedings have been commenced or continued without reasonable grounds, the cost of the proceedings shall be assessed against the party who has commenced or continued the proceedings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 81, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-82. Claims for legal services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">A. 1. a.&nbsp;&nbsp;Fees for legal services rendered in a claim shall not be valid unless approved by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;An attorney representing an injured employee may only recover attorney fees up to ten percent (10%) of any temporary total disability or temporary partial disability compensation and twenty percent (20%) of any permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, or death compensation awarded to an injured employee by the Commission from a controverted claim. If the employer makes a written offer to settle permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, or death compensation and that offer is rejected, the employee's attorney may not recover attorney fees in excess of thirty percent (30%) of the difference between the amount of any award and the settlement offer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;Attorney fees may not be collected for recovery on noncontroverted claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;Attorney fees shall not be awarded on medical benefits or services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(3)&nbsp;&nbsp;The fee for legal services rendered by an attorney representing an employee in connection with a change of physician requested by the injured employee, controverted by the employer, and awarded by the Commission, shall be Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(4)&nbsp;&nbsp;Attorney fees may include not more than ten percent (10%) of the value, or reasonable estimate thereof, of vocational rehabilitation services.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;A "controverted claim" means that there has been a contested hearing before the Commission over whether there has been a compensable injury or whether the employee is entitled to temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, or death compensation. A request for a change in physician shall not trigger a controverted claim for purposes of recovering any attorney fees except the fees under division 3 of subparagraph b of this paragraph. A controverted claim shall not exist if the employee or his or her representative has withheld pertinent information in his or her possession related to the claim from the employer or has violated the provisions of Section 6 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any person who or entity that brings a controverted claim against the State Treasurer, as a custodian of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund, shall provide notice of the claim to the Commission. Thereafter, the Commission shall direct fees for legal services be paid from the Fund, in addition to any compensation award. The fees shall be authorized only on the difference between the amount of compensation controverted and the amount awarded from the Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. In any case where attorney fees are allowed by the Commission, the limitations expressed in subparagraph b of paragraph 1 of this subsection shall apply.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Medical providers may voluntarily contract with the attorney for the employee to recover disputed charges, and the provider may charge a reasonable fee for the cost of collection.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An attorney representing an employee under this act may not recover fees for services except as expressly provided in this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 82, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-83. Attorney signature.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Every claim, request for benefits, controversion of benefits, request for a hearing, pleading, motion, and other paper of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his or her individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his or her claim, request for benefits, request for additional benefits, controversion of benefits, request for a hearing, pleading, motion, or other paper, and state his or her address.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certificate by him or her that:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;he or she has read the claim, request for benefits, request for additional benefits, controversion of benefits, request for a hearing, pleading, motion, or other paper,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;to the best of his or her knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry, it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good-faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;it is not brought for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. If a claim, request for benefits, request for additional benefits, controversion of benefits, request for a hearing, pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the pleader or movant.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. If a claim, request for benefits, controversion of benefits, request for a hearing, pleading, motion, or other paper is signed in violation of this act, the Commission, including administrative law judges, on motion or on their own initiative, shall impose on the signatory, a represented party, or both, an appropriate sanction, which may include a judgment to pay to the other party or parties the amount of reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of a claim, request for benefits, request for additional benefits, controversion of benefits, request for a hearing, pleading, motion, or other paper, including a reasonable attorney fee.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Appropriate sanctions, including the amount of reasonable expenses and attorney fees, may also be imposed against a party or its attorney who, without good cause shown, fails to appear for a hearing, deposition, or any other matter scheduled by the Commission or administrative law judge, or who frivolously joins another party.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 83, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-84. Payment of compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Compensation shall be paid by check, by electronic funds transfer, issuance of debit cards, or by state warrant. Payment shall be made payable to the order of the person entitled to the compensation and paid directly to the person entitled to the compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If the compensation beneficiary is a mental incompetent or a minor of tender years or immature judgment, the Commission, in the exercise of its discretion, may direct that payment shall be made to a legally appointed guardian of the estate of the incompetent or minor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 84, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-85. Clean claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Clean claims for services rendered under this act are payable within thirty (30) days after receipt by the employer unless disputed as to compensability or amount. "Clean claim" means a claim that has no defect or impropriety, including a lack of any required substantiating documentation, or particular circumstance requiring special treatment that impedes prompt payment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 85, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-86. Controversion of employee's right to claim compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. Each employer desiring to controvert an employee's right to compensation shall file with the Commission on or before the fifteenth day following notice of the alleged injury or death a statement on a form prescribed by the Commission that the right to compensation is controverted and the grounds for the controversion, the names of the claimant, employer, and carrier, if any, and the date and place of the alleged injury or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Failure to file the statement of controversion shall not preclude the employer's ability to controvert the claim or cause it to waive any defenses. The employer can make additional defenses not included in the initial notice at any time.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If an employer is unable to obtain sufficient medical information as to the alleged injury or death within fifteen (15) days following receipt of notice, although the employer has acted in good faith and with all due diligence, the employer may apply in writing for an extension of time for making payment of the first installment or controverting the claim. This written application is to be postmarked within the fifteen-day period. The Commission may, in its discretion, grant the extension and fix the additional time to be allowed. Filing of application for an extension shall not be deemed to be a controversion of the claim.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The provisions in subsection B of this section shall not apply in cases where the physician is an employee of, on retainer with, or has a written contract to provide medical services for the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 86, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-87. Settlement of claim.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If the employer or carrier and the injured employee desire to settle the claim, they shall file a joint petition for settlement with the Commission. After the joint petition has been filed, the Commission shall order that all claims between the parties have been settled. No appeal shall lie from a judgment or award denying a joint petition.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 87, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-88. Change of insurance carriers.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. In any case where an employer changes insurance carriers or where the employer having been self-insured, becomes insured or, having been insured, is approved to be self-insured, and the only dispute in a claim against that employer is the proper source of payment of benefits, the Commission shall direct that the appropriate compensation benefits be paid on an equal basis by the carriers or self-insured employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Upon resolution of the issue, the prevailing respondent shall be entitled to reimbursement from the other respondent of all monies paid together with interest from the date of payment pursuant to Section 727.1 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 88, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-89. Advance payments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If the employer has made advance payments for compensation, the employer shall be entitled to be reimbursed out of any unpaid installment or installments of compensation due. If the injured employee receives full wages during disability, he or she shall not be entitled to compensation during the period. Any wages paid by the employer, over the statutory temporary disability maximum, shall be deducted from the permanent partial disability award. Such deduction shall be made after any such applicable attorney fee and any such assessment made pursuant to Sections 45 and 46 of this act have been paid.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 89, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-90. Deposit or bond with commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Workers' Compensation Commission may require any employer to make a deposit or bond with the Commission to secure the prompt and convenient payment of compensation, and payments shall be made on judgment of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 90, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-91. Interest.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Compensation shall bear interest pursuant to Section 727.1 of Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes from the day an award is made by either an administrative law judge or the full Workers' Compensation Commission on all accrued and unpaid compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 91, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-92. Notification of commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On making the first payment and on suspension of payment of compensation, if required by the Workers' Compensation Commission, the employer shall notify the Commission of that fact on a form prescribed by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. Within thirty (30) days after the final payment of compensation has been made, the employer shall notify the Commission with a form prescribed by the Commission. This form shall state that the final payment has been made, the total amount of compensation paid, the name of the employee and of any other person to whom compensation has been paid, and the date of the injury or death.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. If the employer fails to notify the Commission within thirty (30) days, the Commission may assess against the employer a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Dollars ($100.00). No penalty shall be assessed without notice to the employer and giving the employer an opportunity to be heard by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 92, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-93. Investigation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">On its own initiative at any time that compensation payments are being made without an award, the Workers' Compensation Commission may, and in any case if the right to compensation has been controverted, if payments of compensation have been suspended, or if an employer seeks to suspend payments made under an award, or on application of an interested party, the Commission shall make such investigation, cause such medical examination to be made, hold such hearings, and take such further action as the Commission deems proper for the protection of the rights of all parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 93, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-94. Incarcerated employees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">An employee who is incarcerated shall not be eligible to receive medical or disability benefits under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 94, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-95. Deductibles.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On approval by the Insurance Commissioner, and following the adoption of such rules as the Insurance Commissioner deems necessary, each insurer issuing a policy under this act shall offer, as a part of the policy or as an optional endorsement to the policy, deductibles optional to the policyholder for benefits payable under this act. Deductible amounts offered shall be fully disclosed to the prospective policyholder in writing. The policyholder exercising the deductible option shall choose only one deductible amount.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Optional deductibles shall be offered in each policy insuring liability for workers' compensation that is issued, delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed under this act on or after approval by the Insurance Commissioner, unless an insured employer and insurer agree to renegotiate a workers' compensation policy in effect on that date so as to include a provision allowing for a deductible.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If the policyholder exercises the option and chooses a deductible, the insured employer shall be liable for the amount of the deductible for benefits paid for each compensable claim of work injury suffered by an employee. The insurer shall pay all or part of the deductible amount, whichever is applicable to a compensable claim, to the person or medical provider entitled to the benefits conferred by this act and seek reimbursement from the insured employer for the applicable deductible amount. The payment or nonpayment of deductible amounts by the insured employer to the insurer shall be treated under the policy insuring the liability for workers' compensation in the same manner as payment or nonpayment of premiums.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If the Insurance Commissioner determines it to be feasible, and under such rules as he or she may adopt, premium reduction for deductibles may be determined before the application of any experience modification, premium surcharge, or premium discounts, and, to the extent that an employer's experience rating or safety record is based on benefits paid, money paid by the insured employer under a deductible as provided in this section may not be included as benefits paid so as to harm the experience rating of the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. This section shall not apply to employers who are approved to self-insure against liability for workers' compensation or group self-insurance funds for workers' compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 95, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-96. Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Self-insurance Guaranty Fund shall be administered, supervised and protected by the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board. All self-insurers under this act shall participate in the fund as a condition of authority to self-insure in this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. The Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board shall consist of the commissioners and two additional members to be appointed by the Governor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The term of office for the two Governor appointees shall be three (3) years, with the term of the initial appointees expiring on November 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The chair and vice-chair of the Board shall be elected by the Board from among its members.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Members of the Board shall not receive compensation for serving on the Board but shall be reimbursed from monies in the fund for their necessary travel expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with the State Travel Reimbursement Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Meetings of the Board shall be held at least quarterly. The presence of a majority of the members constitutes a quorum. No action shall be taken by the Board without the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the members.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The Office of the Attorney General shall provide legal counsel to assist the Board in the performance of its duties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. No member or personnel of the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board, the Workers' Compensation commissioners or any employee of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall be liable in a civil proceeding for any act performed in good faith in the execution of that person's powers or duties pursuant to Sections 97 through 101 of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 96, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-97. Self-insurance Guaranty Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Self-insurance Guaranty Fund shall be for the purpose of continuation of workers' compensation benefits due and unpaid or interrupted due to the inability of a self-insurer to meet its compensation obligations because its financial resources, security deposit, guaranty agreements, surety agreements and excess insurance are either inadequate or not immediately accessible for the payment of benefits. Monies in the fund, including interest, are not subject to appropriation and shall be expended to compensate employees for eligible benefits for a compensable injury under this act, pay outstanding workers' compensation obligations of the impaired self-insurer, and for all claims for related administrative fees, operating costs of the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board, attorney fees, and other costs reasonably incurred by the Board in the performance of its duties. Expenditures from the fund shall be made on warrants issued by the State Treasurer against claims as prescribed by law. The fund shall be subject to audit in the same manner as state funds and accounts, the cost for which shall be paid for from the fund. The Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board shall be responsible for all liabilities and obligations of the entities that ceased existence.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 97, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-98. Funds to be transferred to Self-insurance Guaranty Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Self-insurance Guaranty Fund shall be derived from the following sources:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Any unexpended funds, including interest thereon, held by the State Treasurer in the Individual Self-Insured Guaranty Fund or Group Self-Insurance Association Guaranty Fund transferred to the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Until the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund contains Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00) or in the event the amount in the fund falls below One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), an assessment against each private self-insurer and group self-insurance association based on an assessment rate to be determined by the commissioners, not exceeding one percent (1%) of actual paid losses of the self-insurer during the preceding calendar year, payable to the Tax Commission for deposit to the fund. The assessment against private self-insurers shall be determined using a rate equal to the proportion that the deficiency in the fund attributable to private self-insurers bears to the actual paid losses of all private self-insurers for the year period of January 1 through December 31 preceding the assessment. The assessment against group self-insurance associations shall be determined using a rate equal to the proportion that the deficiency in excess of the surplus of the Group Self-Insurance Association Guaranty Fund at the date of the transfer attributable to group self-insurance associations bears to the actual paid losses of all group self-insurance associations cumulatively for any calendar year preceding the assessment. Each self-insurer shall provide the Workers' Compensation Commission with such information as the Commission may determine is necessary to effectuate the purposes of this paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, "actual paid losses" means all medical and indemnity payments, including temporary disability, permanent disability, and death benefits, and excluding loss adjustment expenses and reserves.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;The assessment shall be paid within thirty (30) calendar days after the date the commissioners notify the self-insurer of the assessment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;A private employer or group self-insurance association which ceases to be a self-insurer shall remain liable for any and all assessments of the self-insurer as provided in this paragraph based on actual paid losses for the calendar year period preceding the assessment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;Failure of a self-insurer to pay, or timely pay, an assessment required by this paragraph, or to report payment of the same to the Commission within ten (10) days of payment, shall be grounds for revocation by the Commission of the self-insurer's permit to self-insure in this state, after notice and hearing. A former self-insurer failing to make payments required by this paragraph promptly and correctly, or failing to report payment of the same to the Commission within ten (10) days of payment, shall be subject to administrative penalties as allowed by law, including but not limited to, a fine in the amount of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or an amount equal to one percent (1%) of the unpaid amount, whichever is greater, to be paid and deposited to the credit of the Workers' Compensation Fund created in Section 28 of this act. It shall be the duty of the Tax Commission to collect the assessment provided for in this paragraph. The Tax Commission is authorized to bring an action for recovery of any delinquent or unpaid assessments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;An impaired self-insurer shall be exempt from assessments beginning on the date of the Commission's designation until the Commission determines the self-insurer is no longer impaired.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;The Tax Commission shall determine the fund balance as of March 1 and September 1 of each year, and when otherwise requested by the Workers' Compensation Commission, and shall advise the Workers' Compensation Commission in writing within thirty (30) days of each such determination; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Any interest accruing on monies paid into the fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 98, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-99. Impaired self-insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">On determination by the Commission that a self-insurer has become an impaired self-insurer, the Commission shall secure release of the security required by Section 38 of this act and advise the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board of the impairment. Claims administration, including processing, investigating and paying valid claims against an impaired self-insurer under this act, may include payment by the surety that issued the surety bond or be under a contract between the Commission and an insurance carrier, appropriate state governmental entity or an approved service organization, as approved by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 99, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-100. Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board as party to proceedings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board shall be a party in interest in all proceedings involving compensation claims against an impaired self-insurer whose compensation claims have been paid or assumed by the Commission and shall have all rights of subrogation of the impaired self-insurer. In such proceedings, the Board may assume and exercise all rights and defenses of the impaired self-insurer, including, but not limited to, the right to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Appear, defend and appeal claims;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Receive notice of, investigate, adjust, compromise, settle and pay claims; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Investigate, handle and contest claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Board may:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Retain such persons as are necessary to handle claims and perform other duties of the Board;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Sue or be sued;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Negotiate and become a party to such contracts as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Exercise any other powers necessary to perform its duties under this act as prescribed by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 100, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-101. Report on number of claims - Electronic data interchange.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On or before the first day of July each year, the Commission shall prepare, make public and submit a report for the prior calendar year to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of the Legislature, containing a statement of the number of awards made and the causes of the accidents leading to the injuries for which the awards were made, total work load data of the administrative law judges, including a detailed report of the work load and judgments written by each judge, a detailed statement of the expenses of the Commission, together with any other matter which the Commission deems proper to report.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. After public hearing and consultation with representatives of employers, insurance carriers, and employees, the Commission shall implement, with the assistance of the Insurance Commissioner, by July 1, 2014, an electronic data interchange (EDI) system that provides relevant data concerning the Oklahoma workers' compensation system and the delivery of benefits to injured workers.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. To assist the Commission in developing and implementing the EDI system, there is hereby created the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Electronic Data Interchange Advisory Committee. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this act, the Governor shall appoint five persons to serve as members of the advisory committee, one of whom shall be selected by the Governor as chair. The chair shall provide adequate notice of meetings of the advisory committee and public hearings as required by law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 101, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-102. Pooled liabilities - Distribution of surplus.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall adopt rules permitting two or more employers, not otherwise subject to the provisions of Section 150 of this act, to pool together liabilities under this act for the purpose of qualifying as a group self-insurer and each such employer shall be classified as a self-insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Commission shall approve the distribution of all undistributed policyholders' surplus of a Workers' Compensation Self-Insurance Program if the Program complies with the following criteria:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Has been in business for at least five (5) years;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Has its financial statements audited by a public accounting firm which audits at least one corporate client which has assets in excess of One Billion Dollars ($1,000,000,000.00) and on which the accounting firm has issued an unqualified opinion as to the fair presentation of the financial position of the Program showing adequate solvency and reserves; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Is in compliance with the provisions of this act and all other regulations as required by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A group self-insurer created pursuant to this section either prior to or after the effective date of this act shall not be subject to the provisions of the Oklahoma Securities Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 102, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-103. Associations pooling liability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Workers' Compensation Commission shall adopt rules permitting two or more group self-insurance associations to pool their liabilities under this act for the purpose of providing such group self-insurance associations specific and aggregate excess insurance.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 103, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-104. Workers' Compensation Commission and Self-Insurance Guaranty Fund Board liability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">No member or personnel of the Workers' Compensation Commission, the Self-insurance Guaranty Fund Board, or administrative law judge shall be liable in a civil proceeding for any act performed in good faith in the performance of that person's powers or duties under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 104, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-105. Compensation Commission and Self-insurance Guaranty Fund employees as witnesses - Solicitation of employment - Ex-parte communication.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. No employee of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall be competent to testify on any matter concerning any information the employee has received through the performance of the employee's duties under the provisions of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The commissioners and employees of the Commission shall not solicit employment for any attorney or physician nor shall they recommend or refer any claimant or employer to an attorney or physician. If any employee of the Commission makes such a solicitation, recommendation or reference, that person, upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, for each offense, by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment. The Commission shall immediately terminate the employment of any employee who is guilty of such solicitation, recommendation or reference. A commissioner guilty of such solicitation, recommendation or reference shall be subject to removal from office.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. No administrative law judge shall engage in any ex parte communication with any party to an action pending before the Commission or with any witness or medical provider regarding the merits of a specific matter pending before the judge for resolution. Any violation of this provision shall subject the judge to disqualification from the action or matter upon presentation of an application for disqualification.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 105, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-106. Strict construction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall be strictly construed by the Workers' Compensation Commission and any appellate court reviewing a decision of the Workers' Compensation Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 106, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-107. Workers' compensation provided by public entities.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. All public entities of this state, their agencies and instrumentalities, authorities, and public trusts of which they are beneficiaries shall provide workers' compensation to their employees and elected officials engaged in either governmental or proprietary functions in accordance with this section. Compensation or indemnification for compensation shall be paid out of the funds of the public entities.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Except as otherwise provided, the state and all its institutions of higher education, departments, instrumentalities, institutions, and public trusts of which it or they are beneficiaries shall insure against liability for workers' compensation with CompSource Oklahoma and shall not be permitted to insure with any other insurance carrier unless:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;CompSource Oklahoma refuses to accept the risk when the application for insurance is made,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;specifically authorized by law,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;the state entity can obtain workers' compensation insurance coverage at the same cost or at a lower cost from another insurance carrier licensed in this state, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;CompSource Oklahoma begins operating as a mutual insurance company.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">3. a.&nbsp;&nbsp;The state, all state institutions of higher education except comprehensive universities, and all state departments, instrumentalities, institutions, and public trusts of which the state is a beneficiary, may self-insure. Self-insurance administration may only be obtained through CompSource Oklahoma, unless CompSource Oklahoma begins operating as a mutual insurance company.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;If CompSource Oklahoma begins operating as a mutual insurance company:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;the state, all state institutions of higher education except comprehensive universities, and all state departments, instrumentalities, institutions, and public trusts so electing to self-insure shall pay premiums set by CompSource Oklahoma which shall collect premiums, pay claims and provide for excess insurance, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;all dividends or profits accumulating from a self-insurance program shall be refunded to the participants on a formula devised by CompSource Oklahoma.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. All counties, cities and towns, their instrumentalities and public trusts of which they are beneficiaries shall insure against their liability for workers' compensation with CompSource Oklahoma or, through any combination of the following, may:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Insure with an insurance carrier licensed in this state;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Self-insure and make any appropriation of funds to cover their risk;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Secure reinsurance or excess insurance over and above a self-insurance retention in any manner authorized by subsections B and C of Section 167 of Title 51 of the Oklahoma Statutes; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Secure compensation for their employees in the manner provided in The Governmental Tort Claims Act, subsection C of Section 167 of Title 51 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Boards of education, their instrumentalities and public trusts of which they are beneficiaries shall insure against their liability for workers' compensation through any combination of the following:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Insure with an insurance carrier licensed in Oklahoma;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Self-insure and make any appropriation of funds to cover their risk; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Secure reinsurance or excess insurance over and above a self-insurance retention in any manner authorized by subsection B of Section 168 of Title 51 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Comprehensive universities shall insure against their liability for workers' compensation with CompSource Oklahoma or, if it can be demonstrated to the Board of Regents of the comprehensive university prior to the inception date of a workers' compensation policy that the policy will result in a lower cost than one with CompSource Oklahoma or if CompSource Oklahoma begins operating as a mutual insurance company, through any combination of the following:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Insure with an insurance carrier licensed in Oklahoma; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Self-insurance, making any appropriation of funds to cover their risk.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. In addition to any other provision of this section, city, county, city-county, and public trust hospitals may insure with other insurance carriers licensed in this state if it can be demonstrated to the governing body of the hospital prior to the inception date of a workers' compensation policy each year that the policy will result in a lower cost than one with CompSource Oklahoma or if CompSource Oklahoma begins operating as a mutual insurance company.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. For purposes of this act, all contracts of employment for state, county, municipal, and state-funded educational entities and public trusts will be considered to have been entered into in this state regardless of where the work is performed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. When a person is employed by the state, a municipality, a county, or by any political subdivision thereof, and, while off-duty from the employment, is employed by a private employer, the private employer alone shall be liable for compensation under this act for any injury or death of the person arising out of and in the course of employment which occurs during the hours of actual employment by the private employer. The provisions of this subsection shall not relieve the state, a municipality or a county, or any political subdivision thereof, from providing disability benefits to which a person may be entitled pursuant to a pension or retirement plan. The provisions of this subsection shall not preclude an employee or group of employees so employed from providing separate compensation coverage for off-duty employment by a private employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 150, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-108. Dismissal of claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Any claimant may, upon the payment of the Workers' Compensation Commission's filing fee, dismiss any claim brought by the claimant at any time before final submission of the case to the Commission for decision. Such dismissal shall be without prejudice unless the words "with prejudice" are included in the order. If any claim that is filed within the statutory time permitted by Section 18 of this act is dismissed without prejudice, a new claim may be filed within one (1) year after the entry of the order dismissing the first claim even if the statutory time for filing has expired.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 151, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-109. Workers' compensation counselor or ombudsmen program.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall establish a workers' compensation counselor or ombudsman program to assist injured workers, employers and persons claiming death benefits in obtaining benefits under this act. A special effort shall be made to equip counselors or ombudsmen with sufficient resources to assist injured workers through the system without the necessity of retaining legal representation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Workers' compensation counselors or ombudsmen shall provide information to injured workers; investigate complaints; communicate with employers, insurance carriers, self-insurers, and health care providers; provide informational seminars and workshops on workers' compensation for medical providers, insurance adjustors, and employee and employer groups; and develop informational materials for employees, employers and medical providers.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission shall mail a notice to the injured worker within ten (10) days of the filing of an Employer&rsquo;s First Notice of Injury. The notice shall advise the injured worker of the availability of the services of the Commission's counselor or ombudsman program and of the availability of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution to assist the injured worker. The Commission shall provide additional information as the Commission may determine necessary.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The Commission shall develop a program that provides for annual training for own-risk employers and claims representatives handling workers&rsquo; compensation claims in Oklahoma. The training shall include information about the alternative dispute resolution program, including counselor and ombudsman programs, mediation, and other services provided by the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 152, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-110. Alternative dispute resolution program.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall develop an alternative dispute resolution program which affords an injured employee the opportunity to obtain benefits by request or informal procedure. The program shall include an increased emphasis on making mediation and other alternative dispute resolution programs affordable and convenient to an injured employee not represented by counsel.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Participation in an alternative dispute resolution program is not a prerequisite to the commencement of a claim for benefits under this act. A request for alternative dispute resolution or a consent to participate in such program does not invoke the jurisdiction of the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Mediation shall be voluntary, informal, and nonbinding in any claim arising pursuant to the provisions of this act, except for claims against the Multiple Injury Trust Fund and medical treatment issues subject to a certified workplace medical plan. Provided, however, the parties may waive mediation and proceed directly to an administrative hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. A Commission mediator, appointed by the Commission, shall conduct an informal mediation between the parties in regard to claims for a closed period of lost time where the employee has returned to work, for medical benefits only, for reimbursement of travel expenses and medical treatment, in cases in which the employee is not represented by an attorney, or there is no record of insurance coverage. Such mediation shall be conducted by the Commission mediator within thirty (30) days of the filing of a request for any such benefit.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Upon the filing of a request for an administrative hearing on issues not specifically listed in subsection D of this section, the Commission shall set the case for prehearing before the assigned judge within fifteen (15) days. At the prehearing, the administrative law judge shall accept a waiver of mediation by the parties or appoint a mediator and issue an order reflecting such appointment. The mediator shall contact the parties and schedule a mediation session within thirty (30) days of such order, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Mediation is confidential and no part of the proceeding shall be considered a matter of public record. Recommendations of the mediator are not binding unless the parties enter into a settlement agreement. If an agreement is not reached, the results and statements made during the mediation are not admissible in any following proceeding.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Commission shall be responsible for certifying those persons who are eligible and qualified to serve as mediators. An individual may be certified as a mediator if the applicant meets the qualifications as required by the Commission. A certified mediator may be an attorney or nonattorney who has worked in the area of Oklahoma workers&rsquo; compensation benefits for at least five (5) years. Mediators serving as Commission-certified mediators on the effective date of this section shall serve the remainder of their respective five-year certification periods and may reapply for successive certification periods.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. Each certified mediator shall remain on the list for five (5) years, unless removed. Mediators shall be required to complete at least six (6) hours of continuing education per two-year period in the areas of mediation and workers' compensation. Proof of compliance with this requirement shall be submitted to the Commission. This continuing education requirement shall be in addition to any other such general requirement which may be required by the Oklahoma State Bar Association. Cost of continuing education is to be borne by the applicant.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. Mediators shall be compensated at the rate or fee as determined by the mediator; provided, however, the rate or fee shall not exceed a maximum rate to be established by the Commission by rule. The cost of mediation shall be paid by the respondent or its insurance carrier. A mediator must schedule mediations for a minimum two-hour block of time, and may not schedule more than one mediation to take place at a time.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. At the time of a mediation, the claimant shall be in attendance unless all parties agree, and all parties shall be represented during the entire mediation session by a person with full settlement authority to settle any issue of the claim. If a party does not have full settlement authority, or does not participate in good faith in the mediation process, the mediator shall report to the assigned administrative law judge of the Commission who may for good cause shown assess costs, attorney fees, and sanctions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">K. To encourage early resolution of claims, an injured employee may participate in mediation without counsel. Upon compromise settlement of the claim, the parties may submit the settlement agreement to any administrative law judge for final approval.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 153, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-111. Commencement of benefit claim - Prehearing conference.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Any claim for any benefit under this act shall be commenced with the filing of an Employee's First Notice of Claim for Compensation by the employee with the Workers' Compensation Commission. The claim shall contain a statement that all matters stated therein are true and accurate and shall be signed by the claimant and the claimant's agent, if any. Any person who signs this statement or causes another to sign this statement knowing the statement to be false shall be guilty of perjury. An individual who signs on behalf of a claimant may be presumed to have the authorization of the claimant and to be acting at the claimant's direction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If an employer controverts any issue related to the Employee&rsquo;s First Notice of Claim for Compensation, the employer shall file a Notice of Contested Issues on a form prescribed by the Commission. All answers and defenses to claims or other documents filed on behalf of a respondent or the respondent's insurer in a workers' compensation case shall contain a statement that all matters stated therein are true and accurate and shall be signed by the respondent, the insurer, or their respective agents, if any. Any person who signs such a statement or causes another to sign such a statement, knowing the statement to be false, shall be guilty of perjury. An individual who signs on behalf of a respondent, its insurer, or its agent may be presumed to have the authorization of the respondent, its insurer or agent and to be acting at their direction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Any party shall have the right to request a prehearing conference or administrative hearing before the Commission on any issue. The Commission shall, within seven (7) days of the receipt of such notification, set the matter for prehearing conference or administrative hearing at the earliest available time. In the event the compensability of a claim is contested, the respondent shall complete discovery and secure a medical evaluation of the claimant within sixty (60) days of the filing of a request for benefits.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 154, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-112. Independent medical examiners.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Commission shall create, maintain and review a list of licensed physicians who shall serve as independent medical examiners from a list of licensed physicians who have completed such course study as the Commission may require. An independent medical examiner must agree to examine an employee within forty-five (45) days of appointment. The Commission shall, to the best of its ability, include the most experienced and competent physicians in the specific fields of expertise utilized most often in the treatment of injured employees. The period of qualification shall be two (2) years. Physicians may be qualified for successive two-year periods. Physicians serving as independent medical examiners on the effective date of this act shall serve the remainder of their respective two-year qualification periods and may reapply for successive qualification periods. The Commission may remove an independent medical examiner from the list for cause.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An administrative law judge may appoint an independent medical examiner to assist in determining any issue before the Commission. In the event surgery is recommended by a treating physician, upon request of the employer, an independent medical examiner shall be appointed to determine the reasonableness and necessity of the recommended surgery. Such independent medical examiner shall be qualified to perform the type of surgery recommended.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. An independent medical examiner shall be selected from the list of independent medical examiners within ten (10) days when the employer or the employee petitions the Commission for the selection of an independent medical examiner. The independent medical examiner shall be certified by a recognized specialty board in the area or areas appropriate to the condition under review.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The Commission shall, to the best of its ability, maintain a geographic balance of independent medical examiners.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Counsel for the employee and employer are responsible for transmittal of the employee's medical records to the independent medical examiner within ten (10) days of appointment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. After a physical examination and review of medical records and other appropriate information, including depositions and surveillance video, the independent medical examiner shall submit a verified written report to the Commission and to the parties. In the event the independent medical examiner determines that more medical treatment is necessary, the employer shall designate a treating physician to provide the indicated treatment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Any independent medical examiner selected pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be reimbursed for the medical examination, reports and fees in a reasonable and customary amount set by the Commission, and these costs shall be borne by the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The Commission shall create a review process to oversee on a continuing basis the quality of performance and the timeliness of the submission of medical findings by independent medical examiners.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. If the Commission does not follow the opinion of the independent medical examiner on any issue, the administrative law judge or member of the Board of Review shall set out its reasons for deviating from the opinion of the independent medical examiner. The opinion of the independent medical examiner shall be followed unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. Upon receipt of an independent medical examiner's report, any party shall have the right to object to the introduction of the report into evidence. The objection must be made by giving written notification to all parties and to the Commission within ten (10) days after receipt of the report. The employer shall be responsible for the reasonable charges of the physician for such testimony, preparation time, and the expense of the deposition.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 155, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-113. Transfer of case management - Case managers.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">For cases not covered by a certified workplace medical plan, and where the employer, insurance company, or own-risk employer do not provide case management, case management may be granted by the Workers' Compensation Commission on the request of any party, or when the Commission determines that case management is appropriate. The administrative law judge shall appoint a case manager from a list of qualified case managers developed, maintained and periodically reviewed by the Commission. The period of qualification shall be two (2) years. Case managers may be qualified for successive two-year periods. Case managers serving as qualified case managers on the effective date of this act shall serve the remainder of their respective two-year qualification periods and may reapply for successive qualification periods. The reasonable and customary charges of a medical case manager appointed by the Commission shall be borne by the employer or insurance carrier. One change of case manager per party shall be made upon application of any party.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 156, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-114. Prosthetic devices.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">When a compensable injury results in the loss of one or more eyes, teeth, or members of the body, or the replacement of a joint, the employer shall furnish such prosthetic devices as may be necessary as determined by the Workers' Compensation Commission in the treatment and rehabilitation of the injured worker for the lifetime of the worker. When a worker sustains a compensable injury, arising out of and in the course of his or her employment, which results in damage to a prosthetic device with which such worker is equipped, the employer shall repair or replace such device. Provided, that a subsequent injury to the part of the body for which a prosthetic device is provided shall terminate the obligation of the employer to provide such prosthetic device.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 157, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-115. Joint Petition for settlement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If the employee and employer shall reach an agreement for the full, final and complete settlement of any issue of a claim pursuant to this act, a form designated as "Joint Petition" shall be signed by both the employer and employee, or representatives thereof, and shall be approved by the Workers' Compensation Commission or an administrative law judge, and filed with the Commission. In cases in which the employee is not represented by legal counsel, the Commission or an administrative law judge shall have jurisdiction to approve a full, final and complete settlement of any issue upon the filing of an Employer's First Notice of Injury. There shall be no requirement for the filing of an Employee's First Notice of Claim for Compensation to effect such settlement in cases in which the employee is not represented by legal counsel.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. In the event all issues of a claim are not fully, finally and completely settled by a Joint Petition, the issues not settled by the parties and subject to the Commission's continuing jurisdiction must be noted by appendix to the Joint Petition or on a form created for such purpose by the Commission. The appendix must be signed by the parties and approved by the Commission as set forth herein.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. In the absence of fraud, a Joint Petition shall be deemed binding upon the parties thereto and a final adjudication of all rights pursuant to this act or the workers&rsquo; compensation law in effect at the time of the injury or final order of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court. An official record shall be made by an official Commission reporter of the testimony taken to effect the Joint Petition.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. A good-faith effort shall be made on the part of any insurance carrier, CompSource Oklahoma, or group self-insured plan to notify an insured employer of the possibility of and terms of any settlement of a workers' compensation case pursuant to this section. Written comments or objections to settlements shall be filed with the Commission and periodically shared with the management of the applicable insurer. A written notice shall be made to all policyholders of their right to a good-faith effort by their insurer to notify them of any proposed settlement, if the policyholder so chooses.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 158, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-116. Awards for permanent disability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Awards for permanent partial disability shall be made pursuant to Sections 45 and 46 of this act, less any sums previously paid which the Workers' Compensation Commission may find to be a proper credit thereon. When the award becomes final, the whole sum or any unpaid portion thereof shall operate as a final adjudicated obligation and payment thereof may be enforced by the claimant or in case of the claimant's death, by the surviving beneficiary entitled to the proceeds as provided in Section 47 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Awards for permanent total disability shall entitle the claimant to receive weekly income benefits for the period prescribed in this act. When an award for permanent total disability becomes final, the accrued portion thereof shall operate as a final adjudicated obligation and payment thereof may be enforced by the claimant or in case of the claimant's death, by the surviving beneficiary entitled to the proceeds as provided in this act. Permanent total disability awards shall not be commuted to a lump-sum payment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 159, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-117. Estoppel from denying employment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Every employer and insurance carrier who schedules any employee as a person employed by the employer for the purpose of paying or collecting insurance premiums on a workers' compensation insurance policy or who pays, receives or collects any premiums upon any insurance policy covering the liability of such employer under the workers' compensation law by reason of or upon the basis of the employment of any such employee shall be estopped to deny that such employee was employed by the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 160, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-118. Fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A fee of One Hundred Forty Dollars ($140.00) per case, including any Joint Petition authorized by this act, shall be collected by the Workers' Compensation Commission and assessed as costs to be paid by the party against whom any award becomes final, to be deposited as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. One Hundred Five Dollars ($105.00) to the credit of the Workers' Compensation Fund created by this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Ten Dollars ($10.00) to the credit of the Attorney General's Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit Revolving Fund created by Section 19.2 of Title 74 of the Oklahoma Statutes; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) to the credit of the Workers' Compensation Fund for purposes of implementing the provisions of this act, including strengthening and providing additional funding for the Attorney General's Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit, providing counseling services pursuant to the workers' compensation counselor or ombudsman program and safety in the workplace.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. A fee of One Hundred Thirty Dollars ($130.00) per action to reopen any case pursuant to Section 32 of this act shall be collected by the Commission and assessed as costs to be paid by the party that reopens the case. The fee collected pursuant to this subsection shall be deposited to the credit of the Workers' Compensation Fund for purposes of implementing the provisions of this act, including strengthening and providing additional funding for the Attorney General's Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit, providing counseling services pursuant to the workers' compensation counselor or ombudsman program and safety in the workplace.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 161, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-119. Copies of documents.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Persons requesting and receiving copies of documents on file with the Workers' Compensation Commission shall pay a fee to the Commission of One Dollar ($1.00) for each page copied. All fees so collected shall be deposited in the State Treasury in the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. All penalties and fines imposed by the Commission, upon collection, shall be deposited to the credit of the Workers' Compensation Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 162, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-120. Inquiry about compensation claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Except as otherwise provided by state or federal law and subject to the provisions of this section, an employer may inquire about previous workers' compensation claims paid to an employee while the employee was employed by a previous employer. If the employee fails to answer truthfully about any previous permanent partial disability awards made pursuant to workers' compensation claims, the employee shall be subject to discharge by the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. All requests made to the Workers' Compensation Commission for information on prior workers' compensation claims involving a worker, including written inquiries about prior claims and requests to access a worker's compensation claim file, must be in writing, on a form prescribed by the Commission, and accompanied by a fee of One Dollar ($1.00) per search request, not to exceed One Dollar ($1.00) per claims record of a particular worker. The fee shall be deposited to the credit of the Workers' Compensation Fund. The form shall require identification of the person requesting the information, and the person for whom a search is being made if different from the requester. The form must contain an affidavit signed by the requester under penalty of perjury that the information sought is not requested for a purpose in violation of state or federal law. The form must be used by all repositories of archived Court claim files. All request forms shall be maintained by the Commission as a public record, together with a record of a worker's written authorization permitting a search indexed by the worker's social security number as required by Section 3113 of Title 74 of the Oklahoma Statutes. The request forms and authorizations shall be indexed alphabetically by the last name of the worker.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. This subsection shall not apply:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;to requests for claims information made by a public officer or by a public employee in the performance of his or her duties on behalf of a governmental entity or as may be allowed by law,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;to requests for claims information made by an insurer, self-insured employer, third-party claims administrator, or a legal representative thereof, when necessary to process or defend a workers' compensation claim,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;when a worker or the worker's representative requests review of the worker's claims information,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">d.&nbsp;&nbsp;when the disclosure is made for educational or research purposes and in such a manner that the disclosed information cannot be used to identify any worker who is the subject of a claim,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">e.&nbsp;&nbsp;to requests for claims information made by a health care or rehabilitation provider or the provider's legal representative when necessary to process payment of health care or rehabilitation services rendered to a worker, and&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">f.&nbsp;&nbsp;to requests for claims information made by an employer or personnel service company, including but not limited to an individual or entity, where the worker executes a written authorization permitting the search and designating the employer or personnel service company as the worker's representative for that purpose; however, nothing in this subparagraph shall relieve the employer or personnel service company from complying with the requirements of utilizing the form set forth in paragraph 1 of this subsection.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 163, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-121. Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. There is hereby created an Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The voting membership of the Advisory Council shall consist of nine (9) members. Any member serving on the effective date of this section shall serve the remainder of his or her term. The chair of the Workers' Compensation Commission shall be an ex officio nonvoting member.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The Governor shall appoint three members representing employers in this state, one of whom shall be from a list of nominees provided by the predominant statewide broad-based business organization.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint three members representing employees in this state, one of whom shall be from a list of nominees provided by the most representative labor organization in the state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall appoint three members, two who are attorneys representing the legal profession in this state, one of whom shall be an attorney who practices primarily in the area of defense of workers' compensation claims, and one of whom shall be an attorney who primarily represents claimants, and a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy actively engaged in the treatment of injured workers.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The term of office for appointees shall be as follows:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The term of office for three positions, one each appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall expire on January 1, 2015;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The term of office for three positions, one each appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall expire on January 1, 2016; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The term of office for three positions, one each appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall expire on January 1, 2017.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Thereafter, successors in office shall be appointed for a three-year term. Members shall be eligible to succeed themselves in office.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall be appointed for the unexpired portion of the term.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The chair and the vice-chair of the Advisory Council shall be appointed by the Governor.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. Members shall receive their traveling and other necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as provided in the State Travel Reimbursement Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. Meetings of the Advisory Council shall be quarterly or as called by the chair or upon petition by a majority of the voting members. The presence of five voting members constitutes a quorum. No action shall be taken by the Advisory Council without the affirmative vote of at least five members.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. The Commission shall provide office supplies and personnel of the Commission to carry out any of the duties that have been entrusted to the Advisory Council.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. The Advisory Council shall analyze and review the workers' compensation system, the reports of the Commission, and trends in the field of workers' compensation. The Advisory Council may recommend improvements and proper responses to developing trends. The Advisory Council shall report its findings annually to the Governor, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">K. In addition to other duties required by this section, the Advisory Council shall consult with the Court regarding oversight of independent medical examiners as provided in Section 45 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">L. The Advisory Council shall review the Oklahoma Treatment Guidelines as provided in the Workers' Compensation Code, and report the findings of such review to the Commission as provided in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 164, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-122. Costs of administering this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Fund established by Section 28 of this act shall be used for the costs of administering this act and for other purposes pursuant to legislative appropriation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. For the purpose of providing funds for the Workers' Compensation Fund, each mutual or interinsurance association, stock company, CompSource Oklahoma or other insurance carrier writing workers' compensation insurance in this state shall pay to the Oklahoma Tax Commission an assessment at a rate of one percent (1%) of all gross direct premiums written during each quarter of the calendar year for workers' compensation insurance on risks located in this state after deducting from such gross direct premiums, return premiums, unabsorbed portions of any deposit premiums, policy dividends, safety refunds, savings and other similar returns paid or credited to policyholders. Such payments to the Tax Commission shall be made not later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of each quarter of the calendar year in which such gross direct premium is collected or collectible. Contributions made by insurance carriers and CompSource Oklahoma, under the provisions of this section, shall be considered for the purpose of computing workers' compensation rates.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. When an employer is authorized to become a self-insurer, the Commission shall so notify the Tax Commission, giving the effective date of such authorization. The Tax Commission shall then assess and collect from the employers carrying their own risk an assessment at the rate of two percent (2%) of the total compensation for permanent total disability awards, permanent partial disability awards and death benefits paid out during each quarter of the calendar year by the employers. Such assessment shall be payable by the employers and collected by the Tax Commission according to the provisions of this section regarding payment and collection of the assessment created in subsection C of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. It shall be the duty of the Tax Commission to collect the payments provided for in this act. The Tax Commission is hereby authorized to bring an action for the recovery of any delinquent or unpaid payments required in this section. The Tax Commission may also enforce payments by proceeding in accordance with the provisions of Section 98 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The Tax Commission shall pay monthly to the State Treasurer to the credit of the General Revenue Fund all monies collected under the provisions of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The refund provisions of Sections 227 through 229 of Title 68 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall be applicable to any payments made pursuant to this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 165, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-123. Perjury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Any form, claim, answer or report to be filed by any person with the Workers' Compensation Commission pursuant to this act shall contain or be verified by a written declaration that such form, claim, answer or report is true and made under the penalty of perjury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 166, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-124. Transfers from Workers' Compensation Court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. All unexpended funds, assets, property, records, personnel and any outstanding financial obligations and encumbrances of the Workers' Compensation Court before the effective date of this section are hereby transferred to the Workers' Compensation Commission. The personnel transferred shall retain leave, sick and annual time earned and any retirement and longevity benefits which have accrued during their employment with the state. The salaries of employees who are transferred shall not be reduced as a direct and immediate result of the transfer. There shall be no reduction-in-force as a result of the transfer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any unexpended funds, including interest thereon, held by the State Treasurer in an interest-bearing division special account maintained by the Workers' Compensation Court before the effective date of this act from which a self-insured employer's workers' compensation obligations are paid following nonpayment by the self-insured employer for any reason, including insolvency, shall be transferred to the Workers' Compensation Commission. Such funds shall be expended by the Commission only for the purpose of paying workers' compensation obligations of the self-insured employer, and costs related to the administration of such obligations, to the extent of the availability of such funds.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. All unexpended funds, assets, property, and records and any outstanding financial obligations and encumbrances of the Individual Self-Insured Guaranty Fund Board before the effective date of this act are hereby transferred to the Individual Self-Insured Guaranty Fund Board created in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any unexpended funds, including interest thereon, held by the State Treasurer in the Individual Self-Insured Guaranty Fund before the effective date of this act, shall be transferred to the Individual Self-Insured Guaranty Fund Board created by this act. Such funds shall be expended by the Board only as authorized in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. 1. All unexpended funds, assets, property, and records and any outstanding financial obligations and encumbrances of the Group Self-Insurance Association Board before the effective date of this act are hereby transferred to the Group Self-Insurance Association Guaranty Fund Board created in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any unexpended funds, including interest thereon, held by the State Treasurer in the Group Self-Insurance Association Guaranty Fund before the effective date of this act, shall be transferred to the Group Self-Insurance Association Guaranty Fund Board created by this act. Such funds shall be expended by the Board only as authorized in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. All property and records of the Physician Advisory Committee before the effective date of this act are hereby transferred to the Physician Advisory Committee created in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. All property and records of the Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation before the effective date of this act are hereby transferred to the Advisory Council on Workers' Compensation created in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. All unexpended funds, assets, property, records, personnel and any outstanding financial obligations and encumbrances of the Multiple Injury Trust Fund before the effective date of this act are hereby transferred to the Multiple Injury Trust Fund created in this act. The personnel transferred shall retain leave, sick and annual time earned and any retirement and longevity benefits which have accrued during their employment with the state. The salaries of employees who are transferred shall not be reduced as a direct and immediate result of the transfer. There shall be no reduction-in-force as a result of the transfer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services is hereby directed to coordinate the transfer of funds, allotments, purchase orders, outstanding financial obligations or encumbrances provided for in subsections A and F of this section, and the transfer of funds, outstanding financial obligations or encumbrances provided for in subsections B and C of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 167, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-125. Computation of time.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The time within which an act is to be done, as provided for in this act, shall be computed by excluding the first day and including the last day. If the last day is a legal holiday as defined by Section 82.1 of Title 25 of the Oklahoma Statutes, it shall be excluded.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 168, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-200. Short title - Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Sections 107 through 120 of this act shall be known and may be cited as the "Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act".&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 107, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-201. Definitions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. As used in the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. "Benefit plan" means a plan established by a qualified employer under the requirements of Section 110 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. "Commission" means the Workers' Compensation Commission under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. "Commissioner" means the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. "Covered employee" means an employee whose employment with a qualified employer is principally located within the state;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. "Employee" means any person defined as an employee pursuant to Section 2 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. "Employer", except when otherwise expressly stated, means a person, partnership, association, limited liability company, corporation, and the legal representatives of a deceased employer, or the receiver or trustee of a person, partnership, association, corporation, or limited liability company, department, instrumentality or institution of this state and divisions thereof, counties and divisions thereof and other political subdivisions of this state and public trusts employing a person included within the term employee as defined in this section;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. "Occupational injury" means an injury, including death, or occupational illness, causing internal or external harm to the body, which arises out of and in the course of employment;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">8. "Qualified employer" means an employer otherwise subject to the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act that voluntarily elects to be exempt from such act by satisfying the requirements under this act; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">9. "Surviving spouse" means the employee's spouse by reason of a legal marriage recognized by the State of Oklahoma or under the requirements of a common law marriage in this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Unless otherwise defined in this section, defined terms in the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall have the same meaning in this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 108, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-202. Voluntary election of qualified employer status.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Any employer may voluntarily elect to be exempt from the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act and become a qualified employer if the employer:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Is in compliance with the notice requirements in subsections B and H of this section; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Has established a written benefit plan as described in Section 110 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An employer that has elected to become a qualified employer by satisfying the requirements of this section shall notify the Insurance Commissioner in writing of the election and the date that the election is to become effective, which may not be sooner than the date that the qualified employer satisfies the employee notice requirements in this section. Such qualified employer shall pay to the Commissioner an annual nonrefundable fee of One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00) on the date of filing written notice and every year thereafter.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commissioner shall collect and maintain the information required under this section and shall monitor compliance with the requirements of this section. The Commissioner may also require an employer to confirm its qualified-employer status. Subject to subsection D of this section, the Commissioner shall adopt rules designating the methods and procedures for confirming whether an employer is a qualified employer, notifying an employer of any qualifying deficiencies, and the consequences thereof. The Commissioner shall record the date and time each notice of qualified-employer status is received and the effective date of qualified-employer election. The Commissioner shall maintain a list on its official website accessible by the public of all qualified employers and the date and time such exemption became effective.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act, neither the Workers' Compensation Commission, the courts of this state, or any state administrative agencies shall promulgate rules or any procedures related to design, documentation, implementation, administration or funding of a qualified employer's benefit plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The Commissioner may designate an information collection agent, implement an electronic reporting and public information access program, and adopt rules as necessary to implement the information collection requirements of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The Commissioner may prescribe rules and forms to be used for the qualified-employer notification and shall require the qualified employer to provide its name, address, contact person and phone number, federal tax identification number, number of persons employed in this state as of a specified date, claim administration contact information, and a listing of all covered business locations in the state. The Commissioner shall notify the Commissioner of Labor of all qualified-employer notifications. The Department of Labor shall provide such notifications to other governmental agencies as it deems necessary.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Commissioner may contract with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, the State Treasurer or the Department of Labor for assistance in collecting the notification required under this section or otherwise fulfilling the Commissioner's responsibilities under this act. Such agencies shall cooperate with the Commissioner in enforcing the provisions of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. A qualified employer shall notify each of its employees in the manner provided in this section that it is a qualified employer, that it does not carry workers' compensation insurance coverage and that such coverage has terminated or been cancelled.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. The qualified employer shall provide written notification to employees as required by this section at the time the employee is hired or at the time of designation as a qualified employer. The qualified employer shall post the employee notification required by this section at conspicuous locations at the qualified employer's places of business as necessary to provide reasonable notice to all employees. The Commissioner may adopt rules relating to the form, content, and method of delivery of the employee notification required by this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 109, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-203. Written benefit plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An employer voluntarily electing to become a qualified employer shall adopt a written benefit plan that complies with the requirements of this section. Qualified-employer status is optional for eligible employers. The benefit plan shall not become effective until the date that the qualified employer first satisfies the notice requirements in Section 109 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The benefit plan shall provide for payment of the same forms of benefits included in the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, vocational rehabilitation, permanent total disability, disfigurement, amputation or permanent total loss of use of a scheduled member, death and medical benefits as a result of an occupational injury, on a no-fault basis, with the same statute of limitations, and with dollar, percentage, and duration limits that are at least equal to or greater than the dollar, percentage, and duration limits contained in Sections 45, 46 and 47 of this act. For this purpose, the standards for determination of average weekly wage, death beneficiaries, and disability under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall apply under the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act; but no other provision of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act defining covered injuries, medical management, dispute resolution or other process, funding, notices or penalties shall apply or otherwise be controlling under the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act, unless expressly incorporated.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The benefit plan may provide for lump-sum payouts that are, as reasonably determined by the administrator of such plan appointed by the qualified employer, actuarially equivalent to expected future payments. The benefit plan may also provide for settlement agreements; provided, however, any settlement agreement by a covered employee shall be voluntary, entered into not earlier than the tenth business day after the date of the initial report of injury, and signed after the covered employee has received a medical evaluation from a nonemergency care doctor, with any waiver of rights being conspicuous and on the face of the agreement. The benefit plan shall pay benefits without regard to whether the covered employee, the qualified employer, or a third party caused the occupational injury; and provided further, that the benefit plan shall provide eligibility to participate in and provide the same forms and levels of benefits to all Oklahoma employees of the qualified employer. The Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall not define, restrict, expand or otherwise apply to a benefit plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. No fee or cost to an employee shall apply to a qualified employer's benefit plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The qualified employer shall provide to the Commissioner and covered employees notice of the name, title, address, and telephone number for the person to contact for injury benefit claims administration, whether in-house at the qualified employer or a third-party administrator.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 110, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-204. Securing compensation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A qualified employer may self-fund or insure benefits payable under the benefit plan, employers' liability under this act, and any other insurable risk related to its status as a qualified employer with any insurance carrier authorized to do business in this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Insurance coverage or surety bond obtained by a qualified employer shall be from an admitted or surplus lines insurer with an AM Best Rating of B+ or better. The Insurance Department has no duty to approve insurance rates charged for this coverage. A qualified employer shall secure compensation to covered employees in one of the following ways:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Obtaining accidental insurance coverage in an amount equal to the compensation obligation;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Furnishing satisfactory proof to the Commissioner of the employer's financial ability to pay the compensation. The Commissioner, under rules adopted by the Insurance Department or the Commissioner for an individual self-insured employer, shall require an employer that has:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;less than one hundred employees or less than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) in net assets to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;deposit with the Commissioner securities, an irrevocable letter of credit or a surety bond payable to the state, in an amount determined by the Commissioner which shall be at least an average of the yearly claims for the last three (3) years, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;provide proof of excess coverage with such terms and conditions as is commensurate with their ability to pay the benefits required by the provisions of this act,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;one hundred or more employees and One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) or more in net assets to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(1)&nbsp;&nbsp;secure a surety bond payable to the state, or an irrevocable letter of credit, in an amount determined by the Commissioner which shall be at least an average of the yearly claims for the last three (3) years, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls2"><span class="cls0">(2)&nbsp;&nbsp;provide proof of excess coverage with such terms and conditions as is commensurate with their ability to pay the benefits required by the provisions of this act; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Any other security as may be approved by the Commissioner.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commissioner may waive the requirements of this section in an amount which is commensurate with the ability of the employer to pay the benefits required by the provisions of this act. Irrevocable letters of credit required by this section shall contain such terms as may be prescribed by the Commissioner and shall be issued for the benefit of the state by a financial institution whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. An employer who does not fulfill the requirements of this section is not relieved of the obligation for compensation to a covered employee. The security required under this section, including any interest thereon, shall be maintained by the Commissioner as provided in this act until each claim for benefits is paid, settled, or lapses under this act, and costs of administration of such claims are paid.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Any bond shall be filed and held by the Commissioner and shall be for the exclusive benefit of any covered employee of a qualified employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. Any security held by the Commissioner may be used to make a payment to or on behalf of a covered employee provided the following requirements are met:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The covered employee sustained an occupational injury that is covered by the qualified employer's benefit plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The covered employee's claim for payment of a specific medical or wage replacement benefit amount has been accepted by the plan administrator of the benefit plan or acknowledged in a final judgment or court order assessing a specific dollar figure for benefits payable under the benefit plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The covered employee is unable to receive payment from the benefit plan or collect on such judgment or court order because the qualified employer has filed for bankruptcy or the benefit plan has become insolvent; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The covered employee is listed as an unsecured creditor of the qualified employer because of the acceptance of such claim by the plan administrator of the benefit plan or judgment or court order assessing a specific dollar figure for benefits payable under the benefit plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Commissioner shall promulgate rules to carry out the provisions of this section including those establishing the procedure by which a covered employee may request and receive payment from the security held by the Commissioner.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The benefit plan may provide some level of benefits for sickness, injury or death not due to an occupational injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. A qualified employer shall hold harmless any insurance agent or broker who sold the employer a benefits program compliant with the Oklahoma Employee Injury Benefit Act if the qualified employer is sued in district court for an injury arising in the course and scope of employment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 111, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-205. Oklahoma Option Insured Guaranty Fund - Oklahoma Option Self-insured Guaranty Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. There are established within the Office of the State Treasurer two separate funds:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The Oklahoma Option Insured Guaranty Fund; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Oklahoma Option Self-insured Guaranty Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The funds established pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be for the purpose of continuation of benefits under this act for covered claims that are due and unpaid or interrupted due to the inability of the insurer or sponsor of a self-insured plan, as applicable, to meet its compensation obligations because its financial resources, security deposit, guaranty agreements, surety agreements and excess insurance are either inadequate or not immediately accessible for the payment of benefits. Monies in such funds, including interest, are not subject to appropriation and shall be expended to compensate employees for eligible benefits for a compensable injury under this act, pay outstanding workers' compensation obligations of the impaired insurer, and for all claims for related administrative fees, operating costs, attorney fees, and other costs reasonably incurred by the Oklahoma Property and Casualty Guaranty Association in the performance of its duties under this act. Expenditures from such funds shall be made on warrants issued by the State Treasurer against claims as prescribed by law. Such funds shall be subject to audit the same as state funds and accounts, the cost for which shall be paid for from the funds. A "covered claim" has the meaning given to it pursuant to paragraph 7 of Section 2004 of Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The funds established under this section shall be administered, disbursed, and invested under the direction of the Oklahoma Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association established by Section 2005 of Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The funds established under this section shall be funded from the following sources:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Insured Guaranty Fund:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Until the Insured Guaranty Fund contains Two Million Dollars ($2,000,000.00) or if the amount in the fund falls below One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00), each insurer shall be assessed a fee equal to two percent (2%) of all gross direct premiums written during each quarter of the calendar year for insurance covering a benefit plan under this act after deducting from such gross direct premiums, return premiums, unabsorbed portions of any deposit premiums, policy dividends, safety refunds, savings and other similar returns paid or credited to policyholders. The assessment shall be paid to the Insured Guaranty Fund, care of the Commission, no later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of each quarter of the calendar year in which the gross direct premium is collected or collectible. No insurer may be assessed in any year an amount greater than two percent (2%) of the net direct written premiums of that insurer or one percent (1%) of that surplus of the insurer as regards policyholders for the calendar year preceding the assessment on the kinds of insurance in the account, whichever is less; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Self-insured Guaranty Fund:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Until the Self-insured Guaranty Fund contains One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) or if the amount in the fund falls below Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($750,000.00), each self-insurer shall be assessed a fee at the rate of one percent (1%) of the total compensation for permanent partial disability awards paid out during each quarter of the calendar year by the employers. The fee shall be paid to the Self-insured Guaranty Fund, care of the Commission, no later than the fifteenth day of the month following the close of each quarter of the calendar year. The fee shall be determined using a rate equal to the proportion that the deficiency in the fund attributable to self-insurers bears to the actual paid losses of all self-insurers for the preceding calendar year. Each self-insurer shall provide the Commission with the information necessary to determine the amount of the fee to be assessed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The Guaranty Association shall create a separate account for each fund which may not be commingled with any other account managed by the Guaranty Association.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. On determination by the Commission that a self-insurer has become an impaired insurer, the Commission shall release the security required by paragraph 2 of subsection B of Section 111 of this act and advise the Guaranty Association of the impairment. Claims administration, including processing, investigating and paying valid claims against an impaired self-insurer under this act, may include payment by the surety that issued the surety bond or be under a contract between the Commission and an insurance carrier, appropriate state governmental entity or an approved service organization.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Guaranty Association shall be a party in interest in all proceedings involving any claims for benefits under this act with respect to an impaired insurer and shall have all rights of subrogation of the impaired insurer. In those proceedings, the Guaranty Association may assume and exercise all rights and defenses of the impaired insurer, including, but not limited to, the right to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Appear, defend and appeal claims;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Receive notice of, investigate, adjust, compromise, settle and pay claims; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Investigate, handle and contest claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. The Guaranty Association may also:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Retain persons necessary to handle claims and perform other duties of the Guaranty Association;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Sue or be sued;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Negotiate and become a party to such contracts as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Exercise any other powers necessary to perform its duties under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. No monies deposited to the funds shall be subject to any deduction, tax, levy or any other type of assessment.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. An impaired self-insurer shall be exempt from assessments until it is no longer impaired.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">K. Unless provided otherwise in this act, all fines and penalties assessed under this act shall be paid to the Commission for deposit into the funds established in this section in equal amounts.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 112, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-206. Annual fee - Assessments.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. In addition to the premium or surplus lines taxes collected from carriers, the carriers shall pay annually to the Workers' Compensation Commission a fee, at the rate to be determined as provided in Section 115 of this act but not to exceed three percent (3%), on all written premiums resulting from the writing of insurance under this act on risks within the state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The fee required pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be collected by the Workers' Compensation Commission from the carriers at the same time and in the same manner as insurance premium taxes under Title 36 of the Oklahoma Statutes and deposited into the Oklahoma Option Insured Guaranty Fund.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. 1. Assessments on which premium taxes are based shall be made on forms prescribed by the Commission and shall be paid to the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Absent a waiver obtained from the Commission for good cause, the failure of the carrier to pay the assessment when due shall be referred to the Commissioner for appropriate administrative action against the Oklahoma certificate of authority of the delinquent insurer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Payments shall be made by check payable to the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 113, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-207. Collection of fee - Penalty.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. It shall be the duty of the Workers' Compensation Commission to collect a fee from every self-insured employer at a rate to be determined as provided by Section 115 of this act but not to exceed three percent (3%) of the written premium which would have to be paid under Section 113 of this act by a carrier if the self-insured employer were insured by a carrier.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If the fee provided for under this section is not paid within thirty (30) days of the date provided in Section 115 of this act, there shall be assessed a penalty for each thirty (30) days the amount so assessed remains unpaid which is equal to ten percent (10%) of the unpaid amounts and which shall be collected at the same time as a part of the fee assessed.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 114, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-208. Workers' Compensation Commission determinations.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. 1. The Workers' Compensation Commission, on or before December 31 of each year, shall determine the surplus, if any, in the Oklahoma Option Insured Guaranty Fund, together with the additional amounts necessary to properly administer this act for the ensuing year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Commission shall determine the rate of assessment for collections for that year on or before March 1 of the following year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. 1. The Commission shall notify each insurance carrier of the rate of assessment applicable to the Oklahoma Option Insured Guaranty Fund for the preceding year, and fees shall be computed and paid under the provisions of subsection B of Section 113 of this act on or before April 1 of the following year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The Commission shall notify each self-insured employer subject to the fee of the rate of assessment applicable to the Oklahoma Option Self-insured Fund for the preceding year, and fees shall be computed by the Commission and paid to the Oklahoma Option Self-insured Guaranty Fund by the self-insurer through payments made directly to the Workers' Compensation Commission on or before April 1 of the following year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate rules for administration of the assessment and fee collection process, including, but not limited to, rules applicable to the funds established in Section 112 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 115, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-209. Qualified employer's liability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A qualified employer's liability under the benefit plan and otherwise prescribed in this act shall be exclusive and in place of all other liability of the qualified employer and any of its employees at common law or otherwise, for a covered employee's occupational injury or loss of services, to the covered employee, or the spouse, personal representative, parents, or dependents of the covered employee, or any other person. The exclusive remedy protections provided by this subsection shall be as broad as the exclusive remedy protections of Section 5 of this act, and thus preclude a covered employee's claim against a qualified employer, its employees, and insurer for negligence or other causes of action.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Except as otherwise provided by its benefit plan, or applicable federal law, a qualified employer is only subject to liability in any action brought by a covered employee or his or her dependent family members for injury resulting from an occupational injury if the injury is the result of an intentional tort on the part of the qualified employer. An intentional tort shall exist only when the covered employee is injured because of willful, deliberate, specific intent of the qualified employer to cause such injury. Allegations or proof that the qualified employer had knowledge that such injury was substantially certain to result from its conduct shall not constitute an intentional tort. The issue of whether an act is an intentional tort shall be a question of law for the court or the duly appointed arbitrator, as applicable.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If an employee tests positive for intoxication, use of an illegal controlled substance, or a legal controlled substance that is used in contravention with a treating physician's orders within twenty-four (24) hours of being injured or reporting an injury, he or she shall not be eligible to receive benefits under a qualified employer's benefit plan. In order to retain exclusive remedy and enjoy immunity from common law negligence claims, an employee shall be entitled to receive benefits under a qualified employer&rsquo;s benefit plan if the employee can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the acts described by this section were not the major cause of an injury.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. Any benefits paid under a qualified employer's benefit plan shall offset any other award against such qualified employer under subsection B of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. Other than an action brought to enforce the provisions of the benefit plan, any action brought by a covered employee or his or her spouse, personal representative, parents, or dependents based on a claim against a qualified employer arising out of any occupational injury shall be filed no later than two (2) years from the date of the injury or death giving rise to such action.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 116, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-210. Compliance with federal law - Damages - Attorney fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A qualified employer or its insurers or other payment sources shall be responsible for:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Compliance with any applicable federal law regarding the administration of the plan and claims for benefits under such plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any damage awarded against the qualified employer for intentional tort under Section 116 of this act, including any pre- and post-judgment interest on the award and reasonable court costs as may be lawfully awarded in the action; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Reasonable attorney fees awarded against a qualified employer under Section 116 of this act; provided, however, that an employee's attorney fees that are contingent on a recovery under the terms of the benefit plan shall be payable by a qualified employer as part of and not in addition to such recovery. An award of attorney fees in favor of a covered employee against a qualified employer on a claim for intentional tort, excluding death, shall be limited to no more than twenty percent (20%) of any lost earnings awarded to the covered employee or his or her spouse, personal representative, parents, or dependents of the covered employee under the benefit plan and such award. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to restrict an award of fees and costs made under federal law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An employer who is not a qualified employer shall comply with the provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 117, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-211. Denial of claim - Appeal rights.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If an employer denies a claimant's claim for benefits under this act, the employer shall notify him or her in writing of the decision or the need for additional information within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the claim. Unless otherwise provided by law, the adverse benefit determination letter shall contain an explanation of why the claim was denied, including the plan provisions that were the basis for the denial, and a detailed description of how to appeal the determination. Additional claim procedures consistent with this section may be specified in the benefit plan.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The benefit plan shall provide the following minimum appeal rights:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The claimant may appeal in writing an initial adverse benefit determination to an appeals committee within one hundred eighty (180) days following his or her receipt of the adverse benefit determination. The appeal shall be heard by a committee consisting of at least three people that were not involved in the original adverse benefit determination. The appeals committee shall not give any deference to the claimant's initial adverse benefit determination in its review;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The committee may request any additional information it deems necessary to make a decision, including having the claimant submit to a medical exam;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The committee shall notify the claimant in writing of its decision, including an explanation of the decision and his or her right to judicial review;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Subject to the need for a reasonable extension of time due to matters beyond the control of the benefit plan, the committee shall review the determination and issue a decision no later than forty-five (45) days from the date the notice of contest is received. No legal action may be brought by or with respect to a claimant to recover benefits under the benefit plan before the foregoing claim procedures have been exhausted;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. If any part of an adverse benefit determination is upheld by the committee, the claimant may then file a petition for review with the Commission sitting en banc within one (1) year after the date the claimant receives notice that the adverse benefit determination, or part thereof, was upheld. The Commission en banc shall act as the court of competent jurisdiction under 29 U.S.C.A. Section 1132(e)(1), and shall possess adjudicative authority to render decisions in individual proceedings by claimants to recover benefits due to the claimant under the terms of the claimant&rsquo;s plan, to enforce the claimant&rsquo;s rights under the terms of the plan, or to clarify the claimant&rsquo;s rights to future benefits under the terms of the plan;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. The Commission shall rely on the record established by the internal appeal process and use an objective standard of review that is not arbitrary or capricious. Any award by the administrative law judge or Commission shall be limited to benefits payable under the terms of the benefit plan and, to the extent provided herein, attorney fees and costs; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">7. If the claimant appeals to the Commission and any part of the adverse benefit determination is upheld, he or she may appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by filing with the Clerk of the Supreme Court a certified copy of the decision of the Commission attached to a petition which shall specify why the decision is contrary to law within twenty (20) days of the decision being issued. The Supreme Court may modify, reverse, remand for rehearing, or set aside the decision only if the decision was contrary to law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Supreme Court shall require the claimant to file within forty-five (45) days from the date of the filing of an appeal a transcript of the record of the proceedings before the Commission, or such later time as may be granted by the Supreme Court on application and for good cause shown. The action shall be subject to the law and practice applicable to comparable civil actions cognizable in the Supreme Court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If any of the provisions in paragraphs 5 through 7 of subsection B of this section are determined to be unconstitutional or otherwise unenforceable by the final nonappealable ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction, then the following minimal appeal procedures will go into effect:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The appeal shall be heard by a committee consisting of at least three people that were not involved in the original adverse benefit determination. The appeals committee shall not give any deference to the claimant's initial adverse benefit determination in its review;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The committee may request any additional information it deems necessary to make a decision, including having the claimant submit to a medical exam;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The committee shall notify the claimant in writing of its decision, including an explanation of the decision and his or her right to judicial review;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The committee shall review the determination and issue a decision no later than forty-five (45) days from the date the notice of contest is received;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. If any part of an adverse benefit determination is upheld by the committee, the claimant may then file a petition for review in a proper state district court; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. The district court shall rely on the record established by the internal appeal process and use a deferential standard of review.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The provisions of this section shall apply to the extent not inconsistent with or preempted by any other applicable law or rule.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. All intentional tort or other employers' liability claims may proceed through the appropriate state courts of Oklahoma, mediation, arbitration, or any other form of alternative dispute resolution or settlement process available by law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 118, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-212. Liberal construction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">This act shall be liberally construed to give the fullest effect of its provisions. Any conflict between this act and any other law shall be resolved in favor of the operation of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 119, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-213. Constitutionality of act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. In any action brought to challenge, in whole or in part, the constitutionality of this act, any party to such action may take a direct appeal from the decision of any lower court to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court shall retain the appeal. The Supreme Court on an expedited basis shall consider any such appeal.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. To the extent this act, or any part thereof, is declared to be unconstitutional or unenforceable, it is specifically intended that:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. For partial invalidity of this act, where any section of this act is ruled to be unconstitutional or invalid, the same shall not affect the validity of this act as a whole, or any part thereof other than the part so decided to be unconstitutional or invalid;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Any employer that became a qualified employer under this act shall not be deemed to have failed to secure workers' compensation insurance;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The rights and obligations of a qualified employer and its employees shall be subject to the exclusive remedy provisions of Section 5 of this act and an employer that becomes a qualified employer under this act shall be liable for injury to employees only to the extent to which an employer that complied with the provisions of the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act would be liable to employees in compensation for such injuries under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. A qualified employer shall have ninety (90) days from any final decision declaring this act or any part thereof unconstitutional to secure compliance with the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 120, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-300. Short title - Workers' Compensation Arbitration Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Sections 121 through 149 of this act shall be known and may be cited as the "Workers' Compensation Arbitration Act".&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 121, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-301. Arbitration agreements.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">All agreements to arbitrate claims for injuries covered by the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act shall be valid and enforceable in this state when:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The employer provides notice of the existence of an agreement to arbitrate to both the employee and the employer's workers' compensation insurance provider;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The employer files an alternative dispute resolution program with the Workers' Compensation Commission, as defined in the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The employers&rsquo; Certified Medical Plan files an alternative dispute resolution program with the Commission, as defined in the Administrative Workers&rsquo; Compensation Act; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. The agreement is subject to the Federal Arbitration Act and contains a provision that requires that, in addition to other remedies, any party to the arbitration be given the opportunity to appeal any decision on any issue of the arbitrator to the Workers' Compensation Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 122, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-302. Notice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Except as otherwise provided in the Workers' Compensation Arbitration Act, a person gives notice to another person by taking action that is reasonably necessary to inform the other person in ordinary course, whether or not the other person acquires knowledge of the notice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. A person has notice if the person has knowledge of the notice or has received notice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A person shall be deemed to have received notice when it comes to the person's attention or the notice is delivered at the person's place of residence or place of business, or at another location held out by the person as a place of delivery of the communications.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 123, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-303. Agreements governed by act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Workers' Compensation Arbitration Act governs an agreement to arbitrate made on or after February 1, 2014. The Workers' Compensation Arbitration Act governs an agreement to arbitrate made before February 1, 2014, if all the parties to the agreement or to the arbitration proceeding agree in writing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 124, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-304. Waiver.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Except as otherwise provided in subsections B and C of this section and in the laws of this state outside of this act, a party to an agreement to arbitrate or to an arbitration proceeding may waive, or the parties may vary the effect of, the requirements of this act to the extent permitted by law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Before a controversy arises that is subject to an agreement to arbitrate, a party to the agreement may not:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. Waive or agree to vary the effect of the requirements of subsection A of Section 126, subsection A of Section 127, Section 128, subsection A or B of Section 138, Section 147 or Section 149 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Agree to unreasonably restrict the right to notice of the initiation of an arbitration proceeding under Section 130 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. Agree to unreasonably restrict the right to disclosure of any facts by an arbitrator under Section 133 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Waive the right of a party to an agreement to arbitrate to be represented by a lawyer at any proceeding or hearing under Section 137 of this act; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. Agree to conduct arbitration proceedings outside of this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A party to an agreement to arbitrate or to an arbitration proceeding may not waive, or the parties may not vary the effect of, the requirements of this section or subsection A or C of Section 124, Sections 128, 135 and 139, subsection D or E of Section 141, Sections 143, 144 and 145, or subsection A or B of Section 146 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 125, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-305. Application for judicial relief.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Except as otherwise provided in Section 150 of this act, an application for judicial relief under this act shall be made by application and motion to the Commission and heard in the manner provided by law or rule of the Commission for making and hearing motions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Unless a civil action involving the agreement to arbitrate is pending, notice of an initial application and motion to the Commission under this act shall be served in the manner provided by law for the service of a summons in the filing of a civil action. Otherwise, notice of the motion shall be given in the manner provided by law or rule of court for serving motions in pending cases.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 126, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-306. Agreement to submit to arbitration.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A written agreement to submit any existing or subsequent controversy arising between the parties to arbitration is valid, enforceable, and irrevocable except on a ground that exists at law or in equity for the revocation of a contract.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An arbitrator shall decide whether a condition precedent to arbitration has been fulfilled and whether a contract containing a valid agreement to arbitrate is enforceable.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If a party to a proceeding challenges the existence of, or claims that a controversy is not subject to, an agreement to arbitrate, the arbitration proceeding may continue pending final resolution of the issue by the Commission, unless the Commission otherwise orders.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 127, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-307. Refusal to arbitrate.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On application and motion of a person showing an agreement to arbitrate and alleging another person's refusal to arbitrate under the agreement:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. If the refusing party does not appear or does not oppose the motion, the Commission shall order the parties to arbitrate; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. If the refusing party opposes the motion, the Commission shall proceed summarily to decide the issue and order the parties to arbitrate unless it finds that there is no enforceable agreement to arbitrate. The Commission may also assess costs against the party opposing the motion if it concludes the opposition was not brought in good faith to be deposited in the Workers' Compensation Fund created by the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. On motion of a person alleging that an arbitration proceeding has been initiated or threatened but that there is no agreement to arbitrate, the Commission shall proceed summarily to decide the issue. If the Commission finds that there is an enforceable agreement to arbitrate, it shall order the parties to arbitrate. The Commission may also assess costs against the party opposing the motion if the Commission concludes the opposition was not brought in good faith to be deposited in the Workers' Compensation Fund created by the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If the Commission finds that the parties have not entered into an enforceable arbitration agreement, the dispute shall be resolved under the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If an action is initiated in district court to determine whether an enforceable arbitration agreement exists, on motion by the responding party, that proceeding shall be transferred to the Commission for determination.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If a party challenges the enforceability of an arbitration agreement, the underlying claim, including all benefits, shall be stayed until the Commission determines whether an enforceable arbitration agreement exists.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 128, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-308. Judgement for provisional remedies.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Before an arbitrator is appointed and authorized to act, the Commission, on application and motion of a party to an arbitration proceeding and for good cause shown, may enter a judgment for provisional remedies to protect the effectiveness of the arbitration proceeding to the same extent and under the same conditions as if the controversy were the subject of a civil action.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. After an arbitrator is appointed and authorized to act:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The arbitrator may issue further or revised orders for provisional remedies, including interim awards, as the arbitrator finds necessary to protect the effectiveness of the arbitration proceeding and to promote the fair and expeditious resolution of the controversy, to the same extent and under the same conditions as if the controversy were the subject of a civil action; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. A party to an arbitration proceeding may move the Commission for a provisional remedy only if the matter is urgent and the arbitrator is not able to act timely or the arbitrator cannot provide an adequate remedy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A party does not waive a right of arbitration by making an application and motion under subsection A or B of this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 129.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-309. Initiation of arbitration.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A person shall initiate an arbitration proceeding by giving written notice to the Commission and the other parties to the arbitration agreement. Notice shall be served on the parties in the manner prescribed by the arbitration agreement, or, if the arbitration agreement does not address the method of notice, then by the service of process for civil actions provided under Title 12 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Notice of an arbitration proceeding shall contain:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The general nature of the controversy;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The remedy and alleged damages sought; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. A copy of the arbitration agreement governing the controversy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. An objection to the sufficiency of notice shall be made to the Commission before the initial hearing with the appointed arbitrator.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 130, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-310. Consolidation of separate arbitration proceedings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Except as otherwise provided in subsection C of this section, on application and motion of a party to an arbitration agreement or arbitration proceeding, the Commission may order consolidation of separate arbitration proceedings as to all or some of the claims if:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. There are separate agreements to arbitrate or separate arbitration proceedings between the same persons or one of them is a party to a separate agreement to arbitrate or a separate arbitration proceeding with a third person;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The claims subject to the agreements to arbitrate arise in substantial part from the same transaction or series of related transactions;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The existence of a common issue of law or fact creates the possibility of conflicting decisions in the separate arbitration proceedings; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. Prejudice resulting from a failure to consolidate is not outweighed by the risk of undue delay or prejudice to the rights of or hardship to parties opposing consolidation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The Commission may order consolidation of separate arbitration proceedings as to some claims and allow other claims to be resolved in separate arbitration proceedings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The Commission may not order consolidation of the claims of a party to an agreement to arbitrate if the agreement prohibits consolidation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 131, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-311. Method of appointing arbitrator.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. If the parties to an arbitration agreement agree on a method for appointing an arbitrator, that method shall be followed, unless the method fails. If the parties have not agreed on a method, the agreed method fails, or an arbitrator appointed fails or is unable to act and a successor has not been appointed, the Commission, on motion of a party to the arbitration proceeding, shall appoint the arbitrator. An arbitrator appointed by the Commission has all the powers of an arbitrator designated by the arbitration agreement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An individual who has a known, direct, and material interest in the outcome of the arbitration proceeding, or a known, existing, and substantial relationship with a party to the arbitration proceeding, may not serve as an arbitrator unless agreed to in writing by the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 132, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-312. Disclosures.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Before accepting appointment, an individual who is requested to serve as an arbitrator, after making a reasonable inquiry, shall disclose to the parties to the arbitration agreement, the parties to the arbitration proceeding, and any other arbitrators any known facts that a reasonable person would consider likely to affect the impartiality of the arbitrator in the arbitration proceeding, including but not limited to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. A financial or personal interest in the outcome of the arbitration proceeding; and&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. An existing or past relationship with any of the parties to the agreement to arbitrate or the arbitration proceeding, their counsel or representatives, a witness, or another arbitrator.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An arbitrator has a continuing obligation to disclose to the parties to the arbitration agreement, the arbitration proceeding, and to any other arbitrators any facts that the arbitrator learns after accepting appointment which a reasonable person would consider likely to affect the impartiality of the arbitrator.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If an arbitrator discloses a conflict under subsection A or B of this section, any party to the arbitration agreement or the arbitration proceeding may have the arbitrator removed by filing a notice of conflict with the Commission. If a notice of conflict is not filed within ten (10) days of disclosure of the conflict, the parties waive their rights to have any order or award entered vacated under Section 144 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 133, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-313. Multiple arbitrators.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If there is more than one arbitrator, the powers of an arbitrator shall be exercised by a majority of the arbitrators, but all of them shall conduct the hearing under Section 136 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 134, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-314. Immunity from civil liability.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Arbitrators and arbitration organizations providing services under this act are immune from civil liability to the same extent as a judge of a court of this state acting in a judicial capacity.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. The immunity afforded by this section supplements any immunity under other law.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The failure of an arbitrator to make a disclosure required by Section 133 of this act shall not cause any loss of immunity under this section.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. An arbitrator or representative of an arbitration organization is not competent to testify in a judicial, administrative, or similar proceeding and may not be required to produce records as to any statement, conduct, decision, or ruling occurring during the arbitration proceeding, to the same extent as a judge of a court of this state acting in a judicial capacity. This subsection shall not apply to:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The extent necessary to determine the claim of an arbitrator, arbitration organization, or representative of the arbitration organization against a party to the arbitration proceeding; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. A hearing on an application and motion to vacate an award under paragraphs 1 or 2 of subsection A of Section 144 of this act if the movant establishes prima facie that a ground for vacating the award exists.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If a person commences a civil action against an arbitrator, arbitration organization, or representative of an arbitration organization arising from the services of the arbitrator, organization, or representative or if a person seeks to compel an arbitrator or a representative of an arbitration organization to testify or produce records in violation of subsection D of this section, and the court decides that the arbitrator, arbitration organization, or representative of an arbitration organization is immune from civil liability or that the arbitrator or representative of the organization is not competent to testify, the court shall award to the arbitrator, organization, or representative reasonable attorney fees and other reasonable expenses of litigation.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 135, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-315. Summary disposition - Notice of hearing - Right to be heard - Replacement arbitrator.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. Arbitrations shall be conducted in a fair and expeditious manner. The authority conferred on arbitrators includes, without limitation, the power to hold conferences and hearings with the parties, determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality and weight of any evidence, as well as ask questions of any witnesses during the proceedings.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An arbitrator may decide a request for summary disposition of a claim or particular issue:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. If all interested parties agree; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. On request of one party to the arbitration proceeding if that party gives notice to all other parties to the proceeding and the other parties have a reasonable opportunity to respond.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If an arbitrator orders a hearing, the arbitrator shall set a time and place and give notice of the hearing not less than five (5) days before the hearing begins. Unless a party to the arbitration proceeding makes an objection to lack or insufficiency of notice not later than the beginning of the hearing, the party's appearance at the hearing waives the objection. On request of a party to the arbitration proceeding and for good cause shown, or upon the arbitrator's own initiative, the arbitrator may adjourn the hearing from time to time as necessary but may not postpone the hearing to a time later than that fixed by the agreement to arbitrate for making the award unless the parties to the arbitration proceeding consent to a later date. The arbitrator may hear and decide the controversy on the evidence produced although a party who was duly notified of the arbitration proceeding did not appear. The Commission, on request, may direct the arbitrator to conduct the hearing promptly and render a timely decision.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. At a hearing under subsection C of this section, a party to the arbitration proceeding has a right to be heard, to present evidence material to the controversy, and to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If an arbitrator ceases or is unable to act during the arbitration proceeding, a replacement arbitrator shall be appointed according to the rules of the arbitration organization through which the arbitration is being conducted or, in the absence of such rules, by application to the Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 136, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-316. Payment of legal fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A party to an arbitration proceeding may be represented by a lawyer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. Each party shall be responsible for payment of his or her legal fees incurred during arbitration, except as provided for in Section 142 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. The employee's attorney may not recover legal fees in excess of the limits described in Section 82 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 137, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-317. Subpoenas - Depositions - Discovery.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An arbitrator may issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness and for the production of records and other evidence at any hearing and may administer oaths. A subpoena shall be served in the manner for service of subpoenas in a civil action and, upon application and motion to the Commission by a party to the arbitration proceeding or the arbitrator, enforced in the manner for enforcement of subpoenas in a civil action. A witness may be allowed to appear telephonically or by any other available means that allows contemporaneous cross-examination.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. In order to make the proceedings fair, expeditious, and cost-effective, on request of a party or witness in an arbitration proceeding, an arbitrator may permit a deposition of any witness to be taken for use as evidence at the hearing, including a witness who cannot be subpoenaed for or is unable to attend a hearing. The arbitrator shall determine the conditions under which the deposition is taken.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. An arbitrator may permit such discovery as the arbitrator decides is appropriate in the circumstances, taking into account the needs of the parties to the arbitration proceeding and other affected persons and the desirability of making the proceeding fair, expeditious, and cost-effective.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If an arbitrator permits discovery under subsection C of this section, the arbitrator may order a party to the arbitration proceeding to comply with the arbitrator's discovery-related orders, issue subpoenas for the attendance of a witness and for the production of records and other evidence at a discovery proceeding, and take action against a noncomplying party to the extent a court could if the controversy were the subject of a civil action in this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. An arbitrator may issue a protective order to prevent the disclosure of privileged information, confidential information, trade secrets, and other information protected from disclosure to the extent a court could if the controversy were the subject of a civil action in this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. All laws compelling a person under subpoena to testify and all fees for attending a judicial proceeding, a deposition, or a discovery proceeding as a witness apply to an arbitration proceeding as if the controversy were the subject of a civil action in this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. The Commission may enforce a subpoena or discovery-related order for the attendance of a witness within this state and for the production of records and other evidence issued by an arbitrator in connection with an arbitration proceeding in another state upon conditions determined by the Commission so as to make the arbitration proceeding fair, expeditious, and cost-effective.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 138, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-318. Pre-award ruling.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">If an arbitrator makes a pre-award ruling in favor of a party, the party may request the arbitrator to incorporate the ruling into an award under Section 140 of this act. A prevailing party may make an application and motion to the Commission for an expedited judgment to confirm the award under Section 143 of this act, in which case the Commission shall summarily decide the motion. The Commission shall issue a judgment to confirm the award unless the court vacates, modifies, or corrects the award under Section 144 or 145 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 139, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-319. Record of the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An arbitrator shall make a record of the award. The award may contain the evidence and conclusion upon which the award was based unless the agreement of the parties specifies the type of award to be issued. The record shall be signed or otherwise authenticated by any arbitrator who concurs with the award. The arbitrator or the arbitration organization shall give notice of the award, including a copy of the award, to each party to the arbitration proceeding.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An award shall be made within the time specified by the agreement to arbitrate or, if not specified therein, within the time ordered by the Commission. The Commission may extend or the parties to the arbitration proceeding may agree in a record to extend the time. The Commission or the parties may do so within or after the time specified or ordered. A party waives any objection that an award was not timely made unless the party gives notice of the objection to the arbitrator before receiving notice of the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 140, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-320. Modification of awards.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On motion by a party to an arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator may modify or correct an award:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. On a ground stated in paragraph 1 or 3 of subsection A of Section 145 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Because the arbitrator has not made a final and definite award upon a claim submitted by the parties to the arbitration proceeding; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. To clarify the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. A motion under subsection A of this section shall be made and notice given to all parties within twenty (20) days after the award is issued to the parties.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A party to the arbitration proceeding shall give notice of any objection to the motion within ten (10) days after receipt of the motion.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If a motion to the Commission is pending under Section 144 or 145 of this act, the Commission may submit the claim to the arbitrator to consider whether to modify or correct the award:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. On a ground stated in paragraph 1 or 3 of subsection A of Section 145 of this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. Because the arbitrator has not made a final and definite award upon a claim submitted by the parties to the arbitration proceeding; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. To clarify the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. An award modified or corrected under this section is subject to Sections 143, 144 and 145 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 141, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-321. Benefits - Attorney fees.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. An arbitrator may award benefits set forth in Sections 45, 46, 47 and 51 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An arbitrator may award reasonable attorney fees and other reasonable expenses of arbitration if the arbitrator finds that a party was not acting in good faith throughout the arbitration.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. As to all remedies other than those authorized by subsections A and B of this section, an arbitrator may order such remedies as the arbitrator considers just and appropriate under the circumstances of the arbitration proceeding. The fact that such a remedy could not or would not be granted by the Commission is not a ground for refusing to confirm an award under Section 143 of this act or for vacating an award under Section 144 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. An arbitrator's expenses and fees, together with other expenses, shall be paid by the employer.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. If an arbitrator awards relief under subsection A of this section, the arbitrator shall specify in the award the basis in fact justifying and the basis in law authorizing the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 142, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-322. Judgments confirming the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">After a party to an arbitration proceeding receives notice of an award, the party may make an application and motion to the Commission for a judgment confirming the award at which time the Commission shall issue a confirming judgment unless the award is modified or corrected under Section 141 or 145 of this act or is vacated under Section 144 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 143, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-323. Vacation of awards.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On an application and motion to the court by a party to an arbitration proceeding, the Commission shall vacate an award made in the arbitration proceeding if:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. The award was procured by corruption, fraud, or other undue means;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. There was:&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">a.&nbsp;&nbsp;evident partiality by an arbitrator appointed as a neutral arbitrator,&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">b.&nbsp;&nbsp;corruption by an arbitrator, or&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="cls1"><span class="cls0">c.&nbsp;&nbsp;misconduct by an arbitrator prejudicing the rights of a party to the arbitration proceeding;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. An arbitrator refused to postpone the hearing upon showing of sufficient cause for postponement, refused to consider evidence material to the controversy, or otherwise conducted the hearing contrary to Section 136 of this act, so as to prejudice substantially the rights of a party to the arbitration proceeding;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. An arbitrator exceeded his or her powers under this act;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. The arbitration was conducted without proper notice of the initiation of an arbitration as required in Section 130 of this act so as to prejudice substantially the rights of a party to the arbitration proceeding; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. It is determined that an arbitrator did not disclose a conflict under Section 133 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. An application and motion under this section shall be filed within thirty (30) days after the movant receives notice of the award or within thirty (30) days after the movant receives notice of a modified or corrected award, unless the movant alleges that the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or other undue means, in which case the motion shall be made within ninety (90) days after the ground is known or by the exercise of reasonable care would have been known by the movant.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. If the Commission vacates an award it may order a rehearing. If the award is vacated on a ground stated in paragraph 1, 2 or 6 of subsection A of this section, the rehearing shall be before a new arbitrator. If the award is vacated on a ground stated in paragraph 3, 4 or 5 of subsection A of this section, the rehearing may be before the arbitrator who made the award or the arbitrator's successor. The arbitrator shall render the decision in the rehearing within the same time as that provided in subsection B of Section 140 of this act for an award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. If the Commission denies a motion to vacate an award, it shall confirm the award unless a motion to modify or correct the award is pending.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 144, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-324. Modification of awards by Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On application and motion made within thirty (30) days after movant receives notice of the award or within thirty (30) days after the movant receives notice of a modified or corrected award, the Commission shall modify or correct the award if:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. There was an evident mathematical miscalculation or an evident mistake in the description of a person, thing, or property referred to in the award;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. The arbitrator has made an award on a claim not submitted to the arbitrator and the award may be corrected without affecting the merits of the decision upon the claims submitted; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. The award is imperfect in a matter of form not affecting the merits of the decision on the claims submitted.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. If a motion made under subsection A of this section is granted, the Commission shall modify or correct and confirm the award as modified or corrected. Otherwise, unless a motion to vacate is pending, the Commission shall confirm the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. A motion to modify or correct an award under this section may be joined with a motion to vacate the award.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 145, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-325. Judgment entered by Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. On granting a motion to confirm or vacate an order, the Commission shall enter a judgment in conformity therewith. The judgment may be recorded, docketed and enforced as any other judgment in its jurisdiction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. On application of a prevailing party, the Commission may award reasonable attorney fees and other reasonable expenses of litigation incurred in the proceeding.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 146, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-326. Exclusive jurisdiction.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">The Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to enforce and enter judgment confirming, vacating, correcting or modifying an award under this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 147, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-327. Appeals.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. A party may appeal the following actions to the district court as provided in Section 149 of this act:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">1. An order denying a motion to compel arbitration;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">2. An order granting a motion to stay arbitration;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">3. An order confirming or denying confirmation of an award;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">4. An order modifying or correcting an award;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">5. An order vacating an award without directing a rehearing; or&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">6. A final judgment entered under the Workers' Compensation Arbitration Act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 148, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-328. Selection of court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">An application and motion under judicial review of a judgment or award entered by the Commission under this act shall be made in the district court in the county in which the agreement to arbitrate specifies the arbitration hearing is to be held or, if the hearing has been held, in the court in the county in which it was held. Otherwise, the motion may be made in the district court in the county in which an adverse party resides or has a place of business or, if no adverse party has a residence or place of business in this state, in the district court located either in Oklahoma City or Tulsa. All subsequent motions shall be made in the court hearing the initial motion unless the court otherwise directs.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 149, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="cls0">&sect;85A-400. Workers' Compensation Court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">A. The Workers' Compensation Court shall be renamed the Workers' Compensation Court of Existing Claims for the purpose of hearing disputes relating to claims that arise before February 1, 2014. The Court shall consist of the existing judges for the remainder of his or her term. Each judge of the Court shall continue to serve as the appointment to a designated numbered position on the Court. The positions shall be numbered one through ten. The terms of the judges by position number shall expire on the following dates:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 1 shall expire 7-1-14.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 2 shall expire 7-1-14.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 3 shall expire 7-1-14.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 4 shall expire 7-1-20.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 5 shall expire 7-1-20.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 6 shall expire 7-1-16.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 7 shall expire 7-1-16.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 8 shall expire 7-1-20.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 9 shall expire 7-1-20.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Position 10 shall expire 7-1-14.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Provided, judges who are serving unexpired terms on the Workers' Compensation Court on the effective date of this section shall serve on the Court created by this section until their respective terms expire as provided in this act. Thereafter, each position shall be dissolved. After a judge serves this term, such judge shall be eligible to reapply for an administrative law judge with the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">When a vacancy on the Court occurs or is certain to occur, the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Commission shall assign administrative law judges from the Commission to assist in the duties of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court of Existing Claims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">B. A judge may be removed for cause by the Court on the Judiciary prior to the expiration of his or her term.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">C. Each judge shall receive a salary equal to that paid to a district judge of this state, and shall devote full time to his or her duties and shall not engage in the private practice of law during the term in office.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">D. The Court shall operate by the rules adopted by the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court prior to the effective date of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">E. The Court is hereby designated and confirmed as a court of record, with respect to any matter within the limits of its jurisdiction, and within such limits the judges thereof shall possess the powers and prerogatives of the judges of the other courts of record of this state, including the power to punish for contempt those persons who disobey a subpoena, or refuse to be sworn or to answer as a witness, when lawfully ordered to do so.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">F. The principal office of the Court shall be situated in the City of Oklahoma City in quarters assigned by the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. The Court may hold hearings in any city of this state.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">G. All county commissioners and presiding district judges of this state shall make quarters available for the conducting of hearings by a judge of the Court upon request by the Court.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">H. Judges of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court of Existing Claims may punish for direct contempt pursuant to Sections 565, 565.1 and 566 of Title 21 of the Oklahoma Statutes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">I. The Court shall be vested with jurisdiction over all claims filed pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Code. All claims so filed shall be heard by the judge sitting without a jury. The Court shall have full power and authority to determine all questions in relation to payment of claims for compensation under the provisions of the Workers' Compensation Code. The Court, upon application of either party, shall order a hearing. Upon a hearing, either party may present evidence and be represented by counsel. The decision of the Court shall be final as to all questions of fact and law; provided, the decision of the Court may be appealed to the Commission. The decision of the Court shall be issued within sixty (60) days following the submission of the case by the parties. The power and jurisdiction of the Court over each case shall be continuing and it may, from time to time, make such modifications or changes with respect to former findings or orders relating thereto if, in its opinion, it may be justified.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">J. Any appeal of an order by the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court of Existing Claims shall be heard by the Commission en banc. The Commission shall review the decision using an abuse of discretion standard of review. Orders by the Commission may be appealed in accordance with Section 78 of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">K. To protect the integrity of the transition from the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court to the administrative system created by this act, and to protect all rights and privileges of parties to claims adjudicated by the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court, the Commission shall retain all remedies and responsibilities of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court for as long as cases involving claims for compensation accruing before the effective date of this act but filed thereafter or which were pending before or adjudicated by the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court shall remain open.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">L. For an injury occurring before the effective date of this act, all benefits and procedures to obtain benefits shall be determined by the workers&rsquo; compensation law of this state in effect on the date of the injury. Administrative law judges of the Commission shall enforce all final orders of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court in a manner to secure for all parties the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">M. All accrued rights and penalties incurred pursuant to a final order of the Workers&rsquo; Compensation Court shall be preserved. Administrative law judges of the Commission shall be authorized to issue orders and conduct legal proceedings to enforce all such accrued rights and penalties incurred. No accrued right, penalty incurred, or proceeding begun by virtue of a statute repealed by this act shall be abrogated by the terms of this act.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="cls0">Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, &sect; 169, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </body> </html>

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