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Oklahoma - Amended Title 36 § 1250.7 Regarding Statute of Limitations may affect Workers’ Compensation Claims, by Steve Hanna

2021-06-19

On May 12, 2021, Title 36 § 1250.7 regarding Oklahoma Statute of Limitations was amended to require all property and casualty adjusters to provide written notice to claimants, one year after the date of loss of the date their statute of limitations may run.  The change may affect Workers’ Compensation.  While not specifically intended to include workers compensation claims, a clever claimant’s attorney could use it to argue that a statute of limitations was tolled, by an adjuster’s failure to comply with this law. The exact language of the new section is:

“E.  Insurers shall not continue or delay negotiations for settlement of a claim directly with a claimant who is neither an attorney nor represented by an attorney, for a length of time which causes the claimant's rights to be affected by a statute of limitations, or a policy or contract time limit, without giving the claimant written notice that the time limit is expiring and may affect the claimant's rights.  Such notice shall be given to first party claimants and third party claimants one year after the date of the loss.”

In Oklahoma, our statute of limitations on a specific injury is one year from the date of accident or from the last date benefits or medical are paid. On a cumulative injury, it is one year from the date of last exposure. In order to avoid any potential problem, Testan Law recommends that on any denial letter sent to a claimant, specific correspondence regarding statute of limitations should also be sent. 

While this may never become an issue, it is better to address it in advance than try to defend why we did not after the fact. If you have any questions, would like to discuss this further or need some assistance in crafting language that meets Title 36 § 1250.7, please free to contact me here at Testan Law.

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