Workers Compensation Law in Oklahoma protects you as an injured worker from on the job injuries. This law requires your employer to provide you with all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for any work injury regardless of the injured body part and regardless of how severe the on the job injury is. Below I’ve have listed some frequently asked questions regarding Workman’s Comp insurance in Oklahoma.
Report the Work Injury:
This may seem obvious but actually many people fail to do so hoping the injury will get better on its own. Although this may be the case for simple scraps and bruises you should be extra careful and pay close attention to what your body’s telling you. Oklahoma regarding on the job injuries requires you to report the injury within a certain number of days. Although a work injury reported beyond this date is still covered by workers compensation the burden of proving that the injury is work related changes to you and is made much more difficult than if you’d reported the injury when it occurred.
Workers Compensation Covers You:
Your employers work comp insurance will cover every injury to injured workers so long as the injury occurred within the scope of your employment. The key is that the injury is work related and work you do is a major cause of your injury. Regardless of body part or how badly you’re injured, if the injury occurred while you were on the job and the work you do a major cause, you’re covered.
Workers Compensation Information:
Oklahoma workers’ compensation laws provide money and medical benefits to Oklahoma employees who’ve sustained injury as a result of an accident, injury, or occupational disease on the job. Workers’ compensation is designed to protect workers and their dependents against the hardships from injury or death arising out of the work environment. The Workers’ Compensation Act provides a means of recovery outside of common law negligence, which would require an employee to bring a suit through county district court and prove fault on the part of the employer.
With only minimal exceptions, Workers’ Compensation benefits are provided “without regard to fault. ” Okla. Stat. tit. 85, § 11(A) (2001). Additionally, working through the Workers’ Compensation Court is generally more streamlined than a negligence suit in district court. However, the Workers’ Compensation Act is intended to benefit the employee and employer alike. Although employers under the Act are required to purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance and accept liability for work injuries regardless of fault, employers benefit by receiving immunity from Oklahoma district court actions. Further, employers benefit from the monetary awards caps under the Act.
Benefits Available to Injured Workers:
If you’re injured on the job in addition to all reasonable and necessary medical care your employer has to pay you while you’re being treated. Temporary disability is provided to you if while you are treating you’re unable to return to work. Partial disability payments are owed to you if your treating physician places you on light duty work restrictions and your employer doesn’t have light duty work available. Under the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 85, § 1 et seq.), injured employees may be eligible for the following benefits:
- Medical treatment;
- Compensation for time off work during the healing process, (Temporary Total Disability benefits or Temporary Partial Disability benefits);
- Compensation for permanent disability (Permanent Partial Disability or Permanent Total Disability);
- Training for different employment if the employee is no longer able to perform the same work, (Vocational rehabilitation);
- Compensation during period of vocational rehabilitation;
- Death benefits to spouse, children, and other dependents;
- Reimbursement for death related expenses
You’re entitled to Medical Treatment:
If you have been injured on the job your employer is required to provide you with all reasonable and necessary medical treatment. Generally once you are injured you are required to notify your employer of the injury. Once this is done the employer will file his work comp claim and send you to a worker’s comp doctor. This Doctor will treat you and either refers you to a specialist who is authorized to treat work injury clients under the Oklahoma Workers compensation Act.
Total or Temporary Partial Disability:
Once you’ve been assigned a treating Doctor this Doctor will examine you and set you on a course of treatment. Along with this treatment he’ll either place you on work restrictions if necessary or will take you totally off work What the Doctor does depends on your particular medical circumstances. If he releases you back to work with work restrictions such as no lifting or bending your employer must accommodate those restrictions. In the event that the employer does not have any light duty that you can perform the employer may send you home and in this case pay you 75% of your salary up to certain dollar maximums. If on the other hand your Doctor places you on total temporary disability you will not be able to return to work until treatment is complete. During this period your employers work comp insurance pays you temporary disability.
Permanent Partial Disability Ratings:
Once you’re done treating your Doctor will release you at what is called Maximum Medical Improvement. If you agree and don’t want a second opinion your lawyer will have you rated for permanent partial disability. Generally, the Doc who treated you will rate his work as a percentage of permanent partial disability. At this point YOUR Work Comp lawyer will also have you rated but, by an independent Doctor.
In most all the cases I’ve done the doctor disability ratings differ immensely and this is where you get paid. As a work injury victim you want the judge to consider the medical report of the doctor whose rating is the highest. When you use a workers comp attorney you get access to our doctors and their rating reports. Given our Doctors are independent of the employers insurance you’re assured an independent look at your disability. Its this independent look at your injury that assures you a rating that better measures your actual percentage of disability.