A job-related injury or illness can impact you and your loved ones. It can keep you out of work and make it difficult to stay afloat financially. With help from a personal injury lawyer in Tulsa, OK, you may be able to get money as part of a workers’ compensation claim.
The team at BDIW Law has plenty of experience with work injury cases. Our Tulsa workers’ compensation lawyer is available to review your case and discuss your legal options. Contact us today for more information.
Definition of Workers’ Compensation in Tulsa
Workers’ compensation refers to an insurance program that provides benefits to employees who get hurt on the job, according to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims. With this program, an employer offers compensation and medical and rehabilitation benefits to an employee following a workplace injury. There are also times when the program entitles an employee’s dependents to receive benefits if the worker dies on the job.
Oklahoma’s workplace laws are designed to protect both employers and workers. Based on these laws, an employer is protected from liability lawsuits that fall outside the purview of the workers’ compensation system. At the same time, employees are covered under these laws and have the right to receive benefits if they suffer an on-the-job injury.
Most Oklahoma businesses are required to carry workers’ comp coverage. Exceptions include sole proprietors and family businesses with five or fewer employees. If you get hurt at work, a Tulsa workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine if you are eligible for benefits from your employer.
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Who Is Protected Under Oklahoma’s Workers’ Comp Laws
Oklahoma’s work laws apply to every employee hired across the state. If you work as an independent contractor, you may not be covered under these laws. Other exceptions to workplace laws in Oklahoma include:
- Workers are covered for job-related injuries under federal laws
- Agricultural workers
- Licensed real estate brokers who are paid on commission
- Workers who provide services administered by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
If your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage, you can still have options if you get hurt at work. In this situation, you can file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims or a district court. You are not eligible to submit claims with both.
Do not wait to report an on-the-job injury to your employer, either. In most instances, you are legally required to report a workplace injury to your employer or receive medical treatment for it within 30 days of when it happens, Oklahoma Human Services notes. In addition, your employer must provide medical, surgical, or other reasonable and necessary treatments for your work injury.
Injuries Covered Under Workers’ Comp in Oklahoma
You may be ineligible for benefits if you suffer a workplace injury due to your own negligence. Or, if you get hurt at work while you are engaged in something that does not relate to your job, you may not qualify for such benefits. Here are examples of injuries that are not covered by workers’ comp insurance in Oklahoma:
- An injury that occurred while an employee is in a parking lot or another area close to their workplace and before or after the worker’s shift
- An injury that took place while an employee was intoxicated or working under the influence of drugs
- An injury that happened while an employee engaged in recreational or social activities for their personal enjoyment
- Injuries relating to any pre-existing medical conditions
If you are unsure about whether your workplace injury is covered under workers’ comp, err on the side of caution. Go to a doctor to treat your injury and keep track of your medical bills and treatments. File a claim and work with an attorney who can go over the different types of benefits you may be able to get.
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Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits
You may be eligible for multiple types of benefits. A workers’ compensation attorney in Tulsa can answer frequently asked questions and many others about these benefits, how they work, and which ones you may be able to get. Benefits fall into four categories:
- Medical: Your medical costs can include doctor visits, prescription medications, and any other treatment expenses.
- Disability: You may qualify for temporary or permanent benefits if you suffer an injury that prevents you from working for a limited amount of time or leaves you permanently disabled.
- Rehabilitation: Rehab benefits may be available if your injury prevents you from returning to your previous position or keeps you from working any job in the future.
- Death: If an employee suffers a wrongful death, their dependents may be eligible for benefits.
Research indicates the average cost of workers’ compensation claims combined for accidents in a given 12-month span was $41,757, the National Safety Council (NSC) points out. A workers’ compensation lawyer in Tulsa can help you determine the value of your benefits. Also, they can walk you through the process of filing a claim.
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How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Tulsa
You can file a request for benefits with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). Generally, an employer and their insurance provider will make sure that an injured worker receives adequate coverage. Here are the steps you will need to complete to submit your claim:
1. Notify Your Employer About Your Injury
You have 30 days from the day of your on-the-job injury to inform your employer orally or in writing about it. At this time, tell your employer that you intend to file a claim for benefits. Rather than fight back against your request, your employer may cooperate and provide you with benefits as quickly as they can.
2. Let Your Employer Contact Their Insurer
Your employer can get in touch with their insurance company and discuss what coverage may be available to you. Most Oklahoma employers must maintain workers’ compensation insurance. They may face legal consequences if they do not.
3. Get Your Benefits
In the best-case scenario, your employer provides your benefits. Of course, the workers’ compensation process offers no guarantees. Even if you suffered a workplace injury due to no fault of your own, your request may be denied, and you may need additional help to secure benefits.
For those who are dealing with a denial of their request for benefits or want help submitting a claim, partner with BDIW Law. Our attorney has decades of experience with workers’ compensation cases. To learn more, reach out to us.
How Long It Takes to Get Workers’ Comp Benefits
If you miss more than seven calendar days of work due to an on-the-job injury, you may qualify for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. If a court determines you were temporarily totally disabled for more than 21 days, you may be able to receive these benefits from the first day after your injury. You may also be able to get TTD benefits without a court order.
TTD benefits give you up to 70% of your average weekly wage up to the maximum, which is the state’s average weekly wage. As of December 2023, this maximum was $986.86 per week, per the Oklahoma Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act. TTD benefits can last up to 156 weeks.
You may be able to receive temporary partial disability (TPD), permanent partial disability (PPD), or permanent total disability (PTD) benefits based on your injury. Regardless of the severity of your injury, you must request benefits in alignment with Oklahoma’s laws. An attorney who has workers’ comp case experience can help you do just that, as well as offer tips and guidance on what to do if your claim gets denied.
What to Do if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Rejected
You may get hurt at work, and your employer does not have workers’ compensation coverage, in spite of the fact that they were required to maintain it. In this scenario, you may have to sue your employer in civil court. By hiring a lawyer who has a proven track record in workers’ comp cases, you are well-equipped to secure compensation.
Similarly, an employer denies your workers’ compensation claim without cause or explanation. At this point, you do not have to take responsibility for your injury expenses. You can bring your case to an attorney and pursue civil action.
Choose a lawyer who has received many positive client testimonials. They can submit your claim and build a body of evidence to support it. Your lawyer can also help you calculate your losses and request the most compensation possible.
Get Legal Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim
At BDIW Law, we do everything in our power to help you secure a fair settlement. Our Tulsa workers’ comp lawyer does not charge a fee unless we win or settle your case. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today.
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