Workers Compensation in Oklahoma
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Oklahoma state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Oklahoma workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Oklahoma?
Falls, overexertion, and being struck by an object make up more than 50% of workplace injuries in the state of Oklahoma. These can often be avoidable byproducts of a hazardous work environment. However, these injuries can also be sustained by employees who are overtired or distracted. The Oklahoma Department of Labor has stated that Oklahoma is a no-fault workers’ compensation system. This means you may be entitled to receive benefits even if you were wholly or partially at fault. In addition, a national survey found that Oklahoma was the 11th most dangerous state in regards to work related incidents.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Oklahoma?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Oklahoma workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins when you suffer an injury, or become sick on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court mandates that every employee hired in the state of Oklahoma be covered by worker’s compensation insurance. The exceptions to this are sole proprietors, real estate agents, certain agricultural workers, and independent contractors. If you suffer an injury in a work-related accident, you can receive medical benefits. As well as partial and permanent disability benefits, and vocational retraining if you are unable to return to your job. However, Oklahoma worker’s compensation insurance restricts any benefits for non-physical injuries or illnesses. You should also note that Mental health is not covered.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Oklahoma are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a Oklahoma healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Oklahoma workers comp works.
According to The Oklahoma Department of Labor, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits must be filed with the court within 2 years of the injury. Or within 2 years from the date of payment for lost wages or medical care. If you suffer an injury you should seek medical attention and alert your employer. In case any dispute arises, it’s always best to try and settle it before filing a petition. If it can’t be settled, you can contact an attorney to help you file.
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event.
There is a limit of 156 weeks in Oklahoma to receive weekly benefits. However, an Oklahoma Workers’ Comp Court may choose to extend that to 300 weeks, depending on the circumstances of the claim. Temporary and Partial Disability benefits are capped at $683.00 per week. This is the 100% average weekly wage for the state of Oklahoma.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how Oklahoma workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire an Oklahoma workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Oklahoma
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Oklahoma state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!