The Oklahoma City Law firm, Burton Law Group, P.C., was founded by the Late Lew Gravitt in 1992. Today, the firm is the people’s choice for personal injury attorneys, social security attorneys, and workers compensation attorneys. The firm serves all of Oklahoma and has offices in Oklahoma City, Walters, and Tulsa.

There are many attorneys in Oklahoma City but our firm gives every case the attention it deserves. You are not just another case in our office but rather someone we will treat like a family member. We will work tirelessly to pursue the benefits you are entitled to and we remain accessible throughout your case. Whether you have a car accident, social security disability claim, or workers compensation claim, we are here to help. People choose our law firm over others because we are extremely passionate about pursuing the rights of our clients – and about pursuing the maximum compensation possible under the law. We approach the case in a very personal manner. We talk to our clients, answer their questions and keep them updated throughout the legal process. Passion for Oklahoma City and the people who make it a great place to live.

Burton Law Group can provide services in a broad range of areas:

  • Auto Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Medical Practice
  • Personal Injury
  • Truck Accidents
  • Bankruptcy
  • Defective Product Injury
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Defective Product Injury
  • Slip and Fall Injuries
  • Workers Compensation
  • Boat Accidents
  • Employment Law
  • On the Job Injuries
  • Social Security Disability
  • Wrongful Death

We’re also passionate about our town, Oklahoma City, and the people who make Oklahoma a great place to live. Naturally, we are keen to pursue the rights of our people. We will always answer any questions you have regarding your case and utilize our resources to obtain the best outcome possible for you.

In 2016, our firm was instrumental in helping undo a great injustice passed into law at the request of a few irresponsible employers. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the Opt Out Act on September 13, 2016, as an unconstitutional special law. Dillard’s department store opted out of the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Act when it became lawful to do so on February 1, 2014. Subsequently, many injured workers were denied benefits that would have otherwise been due under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Employers were allowed to deny claims and if the employee sought an appeal the appeal was decided by Dillard’s much like the fox watching the hen house.

Though there are no guarantees, with the Burton Law Group, P.C., you can be confident that you have a capable and tenacious law firm at your side. We will devote our time, dedication, and all the resources necessary to pursue the best possible outcome for you.

Phone (800) 257-5533(800) 257-5533 for a free consultation with an Oklahoma City injury lawyer from The Burton Law Group, P.C.

Exclusive Remedy For On-The-Job Injuries

By August 29, 2014Blog

tort lawWorkers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for on the job injuries to employees; don’t bet on it.

Since 1935, employers who have insured against workers’ compensation claims by employee shave enjoyed being immune from tort actions. Nevertheless, the workers’ compensation and employer liability insurance policy has coverage under Part II for lawsuits by employees against employers for on-the-job injuries. Part I, workers’ compensation coverage has no dollar limits. Part II does. Part II covers those situations where the employee is able to avoid the ‘exclusive remedy.’

The initial idea for compensation was a sort of quid pro quo. The employer was to provide reasonable compensation benefits and a safe workplace. Benefits were to be paid without consideration of fault in exchange for tort immunity.

In recent years workers’ comp rights and benefits have been eroded in order to solve what was labeled a ‘crisis’ affecting employers; premiums that were too high. The ‘crisis’ was really nothing more than another skirmish in the economic war between the states in which each state uses low workers’ compensation premiums to attract and keep business interests in the state.

This war was predicted in the Report of the National Commission on State Workmens’ Compensation Laws issued in 1972. The unanimous conclusion of the commission was that state compensation laws provided inadequate benefits. The main barrier to adequate compensation laws was the competition between the states. Florida has even labeled past amendments to the workers’ compensation law (Chapter 440 Fla. Stat.) “economic development laws.”

The Florida law has evolved since the mid-1970s with benefit cut after cut and even some employee favorable amendments in 1974 have been eroded since then so as to be worthless today. The 1974 promise of the Papy amendments was to make the law adequate so as to fend off passage of the Federal Minimum Standards Act for State Workers’ Compensation Laws. The ruse worked. The federal threat went away and down went Florida benefits for on the job injury. The exclusive remedy remains. But it too has been eroded by appellate decisions designed to level the playing field.

The theory of estoppel as to assertion of the exclusive remedy defense was explained recently in Coastal Masonry v. Gutierrez. If the employer or the carrier advises the employee that the claim is not covered by workers’ comp, ie: that the accident or injury did not arise out of, or in the course and scope, of the employment, the exclusive remedy vanishes.

A challenge was raised to the constitutionality of the 1990 benefit take-away amendments to the law. In a decision upholding the constitutionality of the compensation law, the Florida Supreme Court held that where a claim was compensable before the amendments and was no longer compensable as a result of the amendments, the employee retained her common law tort action rights.

One of the specific situations mentioned by the court was in the area of recreational and social activity. Benefits for injuries that occur during employer sponsored events, with few exceptions, are not compensable. If an employer wishes, it can buy an endorsement that would cover employees during these activities, thereby protecting the employer from tort actions. Employers are allowed to contract for the provision of benefits better than those required by the law. Few, if any, do. Immunity can be bought. In Texas, where being insured for workers’ compensation is optional, employers who go bare and who voluntarily provide benefits better than the state act requires are rarely sued as reported by the Texas Association of Responsible Non-Subscribers.

Recently an employee of Gallagher Bassett was injured on the job. Gallagher Bassett is a third party administrator of workers’ compensation claims. The employee sued and the case was removed to the federal district court on diversity. The issue of Gallagher’s immunity from suit arose in the district court. The court denied the defense in a comprehensive review of this subject. Picon v. Gallagher Bassett is well worth reading.

Before the legislative assault on the rights of injured workers starting in the mid-1970s workers enjoyed presumptions and favorable evidentiary rules that made their claims easier to prove. Benefits were relatively fair and there were few if any opportunities to avoid the exclusive remedy.

All that has changed. The exclusive remedy itself is under attack in the courts. The pendulum having swung too far in favor of employers has started to swing back. Just how far it will go has not yet been determined. Insured employers should increase the limits of liability coverage under Part II of the policy. Better safe than sorry.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto ruled Aug. 13 that the exclusive remedy was unconstitutional. On Aug. 20, he denied a motion for rehearing filed by the attorney general’s office in FWA, WILG, Padgett v. State of Florida, Case No. 11-13661 CA 25.

Mark Zientz, Daily Business Review

August 25, 2014

About Burton Law Group

Our legal team brings you a wealth of experience in car accident, social security disability, workers compensation and employment cases. We can also handle bankruptcies for businesses and individuals.

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