Workers Compensation in Tulsa, OK
You aren’t alone if you ask “How does workers comp work?” 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 Tulsa, OK workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Tulsa, Oklahoma?
Oklahoma’s Department of Health reported the annual rate of work-related injury and illness in Oklahoma was 17% higher than the national rate. Moreover, Oklahoma’s workplace fatality rate was 58% higher than the national rate. In fact, the US Bureau of Statistics reported that Oklahoma’s natural resources & mining industry experienced the most fatalities. The percentage of Tulsa’s population working in this high-mortality industry is 3 times the national average. Since Tulsa is Oklahoma’s second largest city, this could help explain some of the State numbers.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Tulsa, Oklahoma?
Unfortunately, going through the process of applying for workers’ compensation begins with getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to your problems are especially crucial. For example, the injury had to occur during your regular work duties. While an event that happens during your lunch break wouldn’t apply, getting into a car accident while running an errand for your boss would qualify for a claim.
Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation Commission stipulates that every employer must purchase insurance. Consequently, every Tulsa employee should be covered, starting on the first day of employment. Exceptions include certain agricultural workers and real estate brokers. When it comes to workplace injuries, regardless of fault, an injured employee may be compensated for medical care. In addition, partial or total wage loss, and vocational retraining are also compensable. However, mental injuries are only compensable if caused by a physical injury.
For example, say your supervisor asked you to drop something off on your lunch break. While running this errand you then get in a car accident on your way to the destination. Any resulting injury is eligible for workers’ compensation. However, if you are on your lunch break, performing no such task when you get in an accident, it does not qualify for a claim.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Tulsa, OK 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 seeking help from a Tulsa, OK healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process. Having a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occured is the first step in the process. Your employer cannot file a claim with their insurance carrier without this information.
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. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is either 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
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 bring a copy of the doctor’s report to submit with the report of injury.
An injured employee must notify their employer within 30 days. The employer must file an Employer’s First Notice of Injury with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court within 10 days of notification. A claim for benefits must be filed within 2 years of the date of injury. In cases of disease, such as asbestosis, the 2 years runs from the date of a diagnosable symptom. For residents of Tulsa, the Court is conveniently located at 440 South Houston Ave.
Timeline and Other Information
In Oklahoma, if you miss more than 7 days of work, you might have temporary total disability benefits. These benefits can amount to 70% of your average weekly wage. However, if you miss work for more than 21 days, those benefits should be paid retroactively. The maximum duration of temporary total disability benefits is 156 weeks, unless there is a consequential injury. In that case, the Workers’ Compensation Court may award an additional 52 weeks.
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. In the meantime, the workers’ comp insurer may begin paying medical benefits while the investigation into your claim continues.
Why You Should Hire a Tulsa, Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
While workers’ compensation claims may be straightforward for some cases in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in others it may be more difficult. Your employer might ask if you suffer an injury on the clock or your own time. It’s also common for a company to question the full extent of your injury. Hiring a Tulsa workers’ comp lawyer ensures that you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In Tulsa, Oklahoma
If you are hurt or contract an illness as a result of your job in Tulsa, OK you need to find the right people to help. Since the workers’ compensation claims process can have pitfalls, you should consider getting a local attorney who knows how to avoid them.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!