Even though there may be less money in the workers’ compensation system, job injury victims are still entitled to substantial benefits.
A drop in the average workers’ compensation claim amount probably means lower insurance premiums as well, which makes less money available for job injury victims.
Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready approved a 5.1 percent decrease. He expects to approve another decrease next year. “This is excellent news for Oklahoma businesses,” Mulready said in a news release. “The decline in workers’ compensation rates will lower the cost of doing business in our state.”
The revised rate goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
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Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
In the early 1900s, many people worked long hours in dangerous factories. The resulting injury claims threatened to overwhelm the civil court system in Kay County and elsewhere. So, workers agreed to give up their civil damage claims if employers provided a no-fault insurance system that offered financial benefits.
For many years, the workers’ compensation system worked fairly well. But benefits have declined significantly since the 1960s, when they are adjusted for inflation. The aforementioned decrease means that even less money will be available in Oklahoma for injured victims. Furthermore, the once-straightforward workers’ compensation system has become a bloated bureaucracy dominated by insurance companies.
Today, unless injured workers have an assertive Ponca City workers’ compensation attorney, it is almost impossible to timely obtain fair compensation in these cases. These benefits are available in both the following instances:
- Trauma Injuries: Falls and other instances are all too common at construction sites. Statistically, many offices are just as dangerous. People often trip and fall over loose carpet, desk drawers carelessly left open, loose wires, and other hazards.
- Occupational Diseases: These conditions, such as hearing loss, occur over the course of more than one work shift. Even if the victim has a pre-existing condition, full benefits are usually available.
Workers’ compensation is not always the exclusive remedy for these injuries, especially in Oklahoma. In some cases, such as employer recklessness, injured victims may be able to file claims in civil court.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Normally, workers do not need to prove fault, negligence, or anything else to obtain compensation for:
- Lost Wages: Generally, injured workers receive two-thirds of their average weekly wages for the duration of a temporary disability. If the victim has a permanent disability, a lump sum payment may be available. Bear in mind that the word “disability” has medical, legal, educational, and occupational aspects.
- Medical Bills: Usually, the workers’ compensation insurance company directly pays all reasonably necessary medical bills, and injured workers are not responsible for any unpaid charges. Reasonable medical expenses usually include emergency care, follow-up care, and physical rehabilitation.
Procedurally, a claims examiner typically reviews the medical records and other paper. The claims examiner almost always denies the claim, at least in part. It is important not to give up. At a subsequent administrative law hearing, a Ponca City workers’ compensation attorney may introduce evidence, challenge the other side’s evidence, and make legal arguments.
Once the administrative law judge rules, the awarded benefits are usually retroactive to the filing date.
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Contact an Aggressive Lawyer
Another loss cost decrease means less money available for victims. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Ponca City, contact BDIW Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.
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