|By Ziva Branstetter and Curtis Killman, Tulsa World, Okla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
That increase cost employers and their insurers
But figuring out the reason behind the costly increase is a challenge.
Depending on whom you ask, the increase in total awards is variously the fault of state lawmakers, judges, employers, attorneys, insurance companies or escalating medical costs.
Injured workers often also get the blame for an allegedly broken system. Some critics believe that most workers who file claims are feigning injury to collect fat paychecks and sit at home.
The state's Workers' Compensation Court system handles only a fraction of all claims, about two in 10, although they are often the most serious and expensive. The rest are handled privately, between workers and their employers.
Others who are part of the system, including a judge, questioned Bingman's conclusion that the 2011 reforms aren't working.
"Nothing works in a year completely," said Vice Presiding Judge
"This goes back to the days of Moses. If you injure someone, they are supposed to be compensated," McClure said. "My job is to make sure the injured worker doesn't get a penny more than they are entitled to."
Jobs 'tear up your body'
The World reviewed computerized data covering more than 73,000 cases filed in the court system from
The World's review shows the median award in
On a recent December morning,
Laney's claims state that in 2010 she injured her chest in a fall and last year she injured both hands, arms, right shoulder and neck. She said she hasn't been able to work since her most recent injuries on the job.