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What is a Lien and How Does it Affect My Workers’ Comp?

If you present a workers’ compensation claim involving liability of a third-party, your employer may have the right to assert a lien for recovery of the benefits paid out to you.

If your Oklahoma employer is bound to provide workers’ compensation coverage, then you are entitled to those benefits if you are injured in the course and scope of your employment. However, if you receive financial compensation from a third party in relation to this injury, then your employer also has the right to recover paid workers’ compensation benefits back. There are two main ways an employer can protect its right of recovery. The first option is to assert a lien and the second is to intervene in the third-party action. When there are allegations of third-party fault, the employer will likely opt to intervene in order to try and settle its lien and assert a “credit” for the workers’ compensation claim.

If your work-related injury stems from an accident where a third-party has a share of the fault, it is important to speak with a skilled Ponca City personal injury attorney who has experience with these types of workers’ compensation claims. It can be especially confusing to understand that in some cases, your attorney and your employer’s attorney are actually working toward the same final result — holding the third-party defendant liable for your injuries and obtaining reimbursement from them. This is a process known as subrogation.

Employer and Third-Party Liability

The process of determining liability becomes more challenging when there is some fault on the employer and the third-party. Not surprisingly, there will be a dispute that arises over how much, if anything, should your employer get in satisfaction of the lien. This is where having the right legal team is so important. Our job is to get the matter resolved fully and get your employer to reduce the lien or make other concessions. In Oklahoma, there is a specific formula on how third-party recovery must be distributed.

First, reasonable attorney’s fees and related costs are deducted. Your employer, or its workers’ compensation carrier, will receive two thirds of the balance, or the entire workers’ compensation lien, whichever amount is less. Then, the balance that is left will be paid to you, the injured employee, or your beneficiaries.

Your employer has the right to present their own third-party claim directly with the responsible party. They must give you written notice that lets you know you have a right to hire an attorney to pursue any damages you may be entitled to above and beyond their workers’ compensation lien.

Contact a Skilled Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and confusing, but they do not have to be. When you retain an attorney to represent your interests, our team will help advise you of your rights and explain how the process works. If your employer has asserted a lien or may have the right to, we will also explain what you can expect and how this affects your right of recovery against a third party. To get started, contact BDIW Law today to schedule an initial consultation.

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