Explanation of Your Rights
- You can seek representation from an attorney, or you can turn to the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Counselor program for help.
- It is your responsibility to notify your employer of the injury. Failure to do so within 30 days could jeopardize your right to compensation.
- After receiving notice of your work-related injury, your employer must provide reasonable and necessary treatment within five (5) days.
- If your employer fails to do so, you may have the right to select your own physician at the employer’s expense.
- Full-time, part-time, and some volunteer workers qualify for benefits. Independent contractors are not eligible.
- Oklahoma has a “no-fault” system. You qualify for workers’ comp even if you are wholly or partially at fault for your injury, as long as it happened from employment.
Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits in Oklahoma
- Medical, which covers your care and treatment
- Disability, which helps you recover a portion of lost wages
- Vocational Rehabilitation; if you are unable to return to your previous line of work, you may be eligible for training in a different field of employment
Am I Able to Change Physicians?
Your employer should give you a list of (3) physicians to choose from. You can change physicians, but the procedure for doing so differs depending on whether the employer has a contract with a certified workplace medical plan. You can apply with the Commission for a one-time change.
Getting a Second Opinion
The employer or its insurance carrier has the initial authority to determine whether you need a second opinion. Once you file a claim for compensation to the commission, an Administrative Law Judge can order an independent medical examiner to address any number of medical issues, such as the nature and extent of the medical treatment.
What if I Am Unable to Work Due to the Injury?
Temporary disability comes in two forms, temporary total disability and temporary partial disability.
Temporary Total Disability, or TTD
This is available when you are unable to work or perform other tasks, but you are expected to recover. TTD provides 70% of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, and these payments typically weekly.
The length of compensation varies depending on the injury. Soft tissue injuries have very strict limitations on the amount of time you can draw TTD. A hernia, for instance, provides only six weeks of TTD no matter how long you are unable to work.
More severe injuries can provide compensation for 15 years, or until the employee reaches the age of max social security retirement benefits, whichever period is longer.
Temporary Partial Disability, or TPD
This is paid only if the injured worker takes on other work, and that job’s average weekly wage is less than his temporary total disability. TPD does not extend beyond one year. It is available when you are able to return to work for limited hours or limited duties at a lower wage.
Appealing an Adverse Decision
If you disagree with any decision about your workers’ compensation claim for medical and or disability benefits, you can appeal that decision. Contact an attorney for help.
According to Title 85A, Continuing Medical Maintenance refers to medical therapy that is appropriate and required to maintain your condition. This applies after the worker has reached maximal medical improvement.
A Multiple Injury Trust Fund can help a physically impaired person. This applies if you have sustained a subsequent compensable injury and received adjudication through the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
If your injury resulted in permanent total disability (as defined by law), you may be eligible for work-related disability.
Am I Eligible for a Third-Party Liability Claim?
If a non-employer or coworker caused your injury, illness, or loss of your loved one, you may be eligible to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim against this third party.
Brewster & De Angelis is here to help you recover compensation for your work-related injuries, no matter the situation. You can set up a free consultation by contacting us online or calling (918) 265-1214.