If you’re injured at work, how can you get financial compensation to cover your medical bills and lost wages? In most cases, the answer is to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program for employers that covers wage replacement and medical expenses for employees who are injured at work.
The law doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer to file a Workers’ Comp claim. However, doing so offers some potential benefits. An expert Workers’ Compensation attorney can guide you through the process so you can focus on your recovery. A lawyer can also help you file an appeal if your claim is unfairly denied.
At Carr & Carr, we know that filing a Workers’ Compensation claim can be a complicated process that’s especially difficult when you’re recovering from an injury or occupational illness. Our team helps Oklahoma City residents and families navigate the Workers’ Comp process, including filing an appeal for a wrongfully denied claim. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our OKC office at 405-691-1600.
Workers’ Compensation in Oklahoma City
State law requires most Oklahoma City employers to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Some types of businesses are exempt from this requirement, such as small family businesses and sole proprietorships. Additionally, Workers’ Compensation benefits don’t apply to independent contractors who are, by definition, not employees.
One of the initial goals of Workers’ Compensation was to help employees get money to cover their medical bills and living expenses while they were recovering from an illness or injury sustained at work. However, the system doesn’t only benefit employees. Employers who offer Workers’ Comp benefits protect themselves from lawsuits. In most cases, you must waive your right to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer when you accept Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Oklahoma City Workers’ Comp claims go through the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, which is a state regulatory body. This organization is responsible for processing Workers’ Comp claims and appeals. As of June 2022, there have been 1,263 Workers’ Comp claims filed in Oklahoma and $61,280,338 paid in compensation and medical bills.
What Injuries and Illnesses Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
Workers’ Compensation covers injuries and illnesses that occurred at work or in the course of fulfilling your work duties:
- Getting injured on your employer’s property
- Getting injured on non-company property while performing job-related duties “on the clock”
- Getting an illness or injury as a direct result of your work
There are many types of injuries and illnesses that Workers’ Comp does not cover:
- Injuries or illnesses resulting from a violation of company policy
- Injuries or illnesses sustained outside of work (i.e., not “on the clock”)
- Injuries sustained during the commission of a crime
- Illnesses or injuries caused by an employee’s use of drugs and/or alcohol
- Self-inflicted injuries
While many Workers’ Compensation claims relate to a single event (e.g., a construction site accident), there are other situations that may qualify for benefits. For example, if you develop back problems due to repetitive-stress conditions at work, you could file a Workers’ Comp claim. Illnesses caused by work-related chemical exposure (e.g., mesothelioma) may also qualify.
Most Workers’ Compensation claims are for physical illnesses or injuries, but some mental health issues may be eligible for benefits. In Oklahoma, Workers’ Comp only covers mental illnesses that are caused by a qualifying physical injury. For example, if you develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after watching a coworker die in a workplace accident, you could file a Workers’ Comp claim for your PTSD.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Oklahoma City
The details of your workplace injury or illness affect the amount of Workers’ Compensation benefits you can receive. Generally, Workers’ Comp benefits are based on the type and severity of the injury or illness:
- Medical only
- Short-term disability
- Permanent disability
If you sustain a medical or disability injury, you can receive Workers’ Comp benefits to cover related expenses:
- Medical bills (including future costs)
- Replacement wages (usually a percentage of your regular salary)
- Job retraining expenses (if your injury/illness prevents you from returning to your original job)
In situations where the occupational injury or illness results in death, Workers’ Compensation insurance may provide some benefits for the employee’s surviving family members.
How to Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits in Oklahoma City
Failing to file your claim properly can result in a denial. When filing your claim, follow the guidelines set forth by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission:
- Report your condition as soon as possible: Under Oklahoma law, you have 30 days from the date of your injury (or the diagnosis of your illness) to inform your employer of the situation.
- Get medical attention: If your injury isn’t an emergency, your employer can choose a medical provider for treatment. However, you can choose your own medical provider if your employer fails to provide treatment within five days.
- Follow the treatment plan: You may not qualify for Workers’ Comp benefits if you miss medical appointments or fail to follow your healthcare provider’s treatment instructions.
- File your claim: Use the appropriate claim form provided by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission and include any required documentation.
An experienced Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorney can walk you through the claims process, which can be especially helpful if you are recovering from an injury.
Trust Carr & Carr for Oklahoma City Workers’ Comp Claims
Getting injured on the job can lead to a financial crisis due to expensive medical bills and lost wages during your recovery time. If you get injured at work, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim to receive financial compensation for those expenses. However, the claims process can be confusing, and some claims get unfairly denied.
The Carr & Carr team is dedicated to helping Oklahoma City residents who have been injured at work. We can answer your questions about Workers’ Comp and help you file a claim or appeal. With a legal representative on your side, you don’t have to go through the process alone. To schedule a free consultation at our Oklahoma City office, call 405-691-1600 or contact us online.