Do you work in Oklahoma? If yes, are you aware of the benefits you could receive through workers compensation? Employees should understand their rights in the event of an illness or injury caused by working conditions. If you have an injury that occurred while on the job or a condition that resulted from your work environment, you may have the right to medical care, weekly income, permanent disability, and rehabilitation. The following information will help guide you through the general process for acquiring and understanding worker’s compensation in Oklahoma. The first step is to know what kind of injuries and illnesses that can be considered eligible.
Oklahoma allows a broad spectrum of cases that can be identified as valid causes for compensation. Injuries caused by repetitive motion/carpal tunnel, company equipment, slip and fall, burns, and company car accidents are technically viable. An employee can even file for compensation due to suffering from stress, or from exposure to harmful substances such as fumes, chemicals, or loud noises. These cases could come from one incident or from continuous strain on a particular body part over time. Although Oklahoma technically recognizes these kinds of situations, timeliness and immediate treatment are essential components to gaining an approved case.
The first 30 days from when the injury occurred (or when the condition first appeared) is the most critical time period in your case. Injuries should be reported to your employer as soon as possible in order to prove that they occurred on the job. Employees must report an injury to their employers within 30 days or see a doctor within 30 days of the injury. In the event the injury is not reported within 30 days and the employee does not see a doctor within 30 days of the injury, the injury is presumed by law to be unrelated to work and then we must overcome the presumption with more evidence. Once the injury is reported, you must go to a physician for treatment and evaluation as directed by the employer. You have the right to change physicians thereafter in the event you are not satisfied with your employer’s selection.
Impairment is the assessment of a person’s health (level of health), whereas a claim of “disability” comes after measuring the ability of the patient to meet social and occupational expectations. The level of disability is the first factor that will determine your benefits from workers compensation. When the disability has a chance of healing or improving, it is known as Temporary Total Disability (TTD). When the injury has left conditions/symptoms that are permanent and not likely to improve in the near future, you will receive benefits for Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI).
Calculating the amount of workers’ compensation benefits due depends on the benefits that are provided by law based on the date the injury occurs. An employee is entitled to benefits equal to 70% of their average weekly wage (AWW) or up to 100% of the state’s AWW for temporary total disability benefits. Permanent disability benefits are paid at a rate equal to one-half of the state’s AWW or if below the state’s AWW, equal the TTD rate. Also know that when benefits are calculated, they are identified as “weeks of compensation” for a specific disability.
Worker’s compensation can be a complicated process for employees. By hiring our office to assist you, we can keep the insurance company from deciding what you will be paid and what treatment you will be provided for the injury. You should seek legal guidance in order to obtain medical treatment your need and to determine the disability caused by the injury. Remember to immediately notify your employer when you receive any type of injury or begin noticing symptoms of a health condition related to work, and seek medical treatment immediately. With the right steps taken, you can make sure that you receive what you are entitled to by law.