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Injured Okla. workers face new compensation system

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma workers who are injured on the job soon will have their legal claims handled through a new administrative system instead of the current court-based system.

The Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Commission will begin handling claims for any employee injured on the job after Friday. Workers with injury dates before Feb. 1 will be handled in the court system that is being renamed the Court of Existing Claims.

The new administrative system will be overseen by three commissioners appointed by the governor. Republican supporters of the new system say it's designed to avoid drawn-out and expensive claims, while opponents say it slashes employee benefits.

Commissioner Robert Gilliland will provide a demonstration on Friday for reporters and other interested parties about how the new system will work.

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