Workers’ Compensation is an insurance-based program that provides medical expenses and wage-replacement benefits to workers who suffer job-related injuries or occupational illnesses.
Although you do not have to work with a lawyer to file a Workers’ Compensation claim, an experienced attorney can guide you through the process and help thoroughly support your claim so you receive the maximum benefits available. A knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer can also aid you in appealing a denied claim.
The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Carr & Carr are dedicated to helping injured laborers get the benefits they need. If you or a loved one was hurt in a work-related accident or suffers from an occupational illness, please call us today at 888-824-3144 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Workers’ Compensation in Oklahoma
While there are some exceptions, most employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. This insurance offers medical and income-replacement benefits to employees who are hurt or become ill while engaged in job-related duties.
Although Workers’ Compensation is federally mandated, each state maintains its own Workers’ Compensation program. In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission processes claims from injured workers and hears appeals of denied Workers’ Compensation benefits claims.
Workers’ Compensation was designed in part to make it easier for injured workers to get the medical attention they need and maintain an income while they recover. But the program is also beneficial to employers: By accepting Workers’ Compensation benefits, employees generally waive their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employers for damages.
Injuries and Ailments Covered by Workers’ Compensation
To be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, the injury or illness must have occurred during the course of your job duties or as a result of your job duties. This includes but is not limited to:
- Injuries sustained on your employer’s property
- Injuries or ailments acquired as a direct result of your work
- Injuries suffered on another’s property, but while “on the clock” and performing job-related duties
Workers’ Compensation does not extend to:
- Injuries or illnesses caused by an employee’s use of alcohol or other drugs
- Self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries suffered while the employee was committing a crime
- Injuries or ailments acquired while the employee was not working
- Injuries or ailments suffered due to an employee’s violation of a company policy
It’s important to remember that Workers’ Compensation benefits don’t just apply to physical injuries that are the result of a single event. Repetitive-stress conditions like carpal-tunnel syndrome and occupational illnesses such as diseases linked to chemical exposure may also be covered by Workers’ Comp.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Financial benefits from Workers’ Compensation are based in part on the severity and longevity of the injury or illness. In Workers’ Compensation claims, the injury or illness in question may be categorized as:
- Medical only
- Short-term disability
- Permanent disability
In most cases, workers whose injuries are designated as medical only or disability are eligible to receive benefits including:
- Medical expenses, including money for future costs associated with the injury or illness
- Wage replacement at a percentage of your regular salary
- Job retraining if you are not able to continue working in your previous role
If a work-related injury or illness resulted in death, surviving dependent family members may be eligible for some benefits.
Seeking Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Oklahoma
Injured workers have rights, but they also have responsibilities when pursuing Workers’ Comp benefits. Failure to follow Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation guidelines can prevent you from collecting the financial help you need.
Following these basic steps can help protect your ability to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits:
- Report the injury or illness as soon as possible: In Oklahoma, employees generally have 30 days from the date of injury or the date of diagnosis of an occupational illness to report the injury or illness to their employer.
- Seek medical attention: For non-emergency injuries, employers have the right to choose the treating physician. If the employer fails to provide reasonable and necessary treatment within five days of notice or knowledge of the injury, the employee may choose his or her preferred physician.
- Follow all medical instructions: Missed medical appointments or failure to follow a health-care provider’s treatment plan may result in a denial of benefits.
- File the appropriate documentation: In order to be considered for benefits, injured workers must file the proper claim form with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission.
The Workers’ Compensation process can be confusing and frustrating, especially as you’re trying to recover or are coping with the loss of a loved one. That’s why many people choose to work with a Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Legal Help for Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Claims
While you are not required to hire an attorney to file a Workers’ Compensation claim or appeal a denied claim, you have the right to retain a lawyer, and doing so has advantages.
An experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney can gather the evidence necessary to support your benefits claim, comprehensively document your claim, and file the applicable forms on your behalf. By taking the lead on your benefits claim, our lawyers allow you and your family to focus on healing and moving forward with your lives. If you believe your initial claim for Workers’ Comp benefits was wrongfully denied, our attorneys may also be able to help you appeal.
If you suffered a work-related injury or occupational illness in Oklahoma, please call Carr & Carr Attorneys at Law today at 888-824-3144 or contact us online. We offer free consultations, and we don’t charge for our services unless you’re approved for benefits.
Carr & Carr maintains offices in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, but we’re proud to represent injured workers from across Oklahoma.