Seasoned Attorneys Explain Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Working to get injured workers full compensation
Most Oklahoma employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees through a private carrier, a state insurance fund, or self-insurance. The right to the benefit should begin as soon as the worker begins employment. If an employee gets injured while on the job, they are not required to show that their employer caused the accident or was negligent in any way. In most cases, a worker will be entitled to compensation even if the worker was acting carelessly. The aim of the law is to help workers return to work if they can or to compensate them when the worker cannot do a prior job or any new job.
At Stipe Law Firm, our Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorneys understand the relevant laws and procedures. We fight to get workers qualified for benefits, and we aggressively demand that each and every benefit be paid. Benefits can include more than lost income and payment for medical bills. Oklahoma also pays to reeducate workers who cannot return to a prior job, death benefits for the families of deceased workers, and cost-of-living increases. Our experienced attorneys are prepared to get you the help you need.
Medical benefits under workers’ compensation
Employers must have insurance to cover all medical costs for each injured worker. The coverage must include hospital surgeries, doctor visits, occupational therapy, medical devices such as prosthetics, medications, and any other reasonable medical expense. The obligation to pay for medical bills extends for the lifetime of the worker, as long as the medical bills relate to a workplace accident or illness.
Workers choose from a panel of doctors the employer provides. If the employer does not provide a panel, the employee can usually then see a doctor of his/her own choosing. Our Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyers also help clients get a second opinion or switch doctors when reasonable.
Wage-loss benefits under workers’ compensation
The injuries of each claimant are classified according to the types and severity of the injuries. The amount of benefits in Oklahoma is generally 70% of the average weekly wage of the worker. Our Oklahoma work injury lawyers help workers determine the exact weekly benefit.
The classification of the injury normally determines how long the worker gets benefits. The possible classifications are:
- Temporary total disability. Temporary total disability (TTD) means the worker cannot do his or her prior job until the injuries heal. Many injuries, such as fractures and bruises, do heal with proper medical treatment. Workers with TTD get their 70% weekly payment until they can return to work, up to a state limit of 156 weeks. Workers with a serious injury may be entitled to an additional 52 weeks.
- Partial permanent impairment. Partial permanent impairment (PPI) is a disability that limits the type of work a claimant can do, but does not prevent him or her from doing any type of work. PPD claimants get paid depending on the nature of their injury and on the Oklahoma schedule of injuries. People who suffer the loss of their arms, legs, hands, or feet are paid according to the state schedule. Workers who have a PPD that is not listed on the schedule can still get partial benefits. Normally, a physician will analyze your injuries and come up with a percentage of impairment based on American Medical Association guidelines.
- Permanent total disability Permanent total disability (PTD) prevents the worker from ever working again. The 70% payment is paid until the worker reaches Social Security retirement age, or up to 15 years, whichever is longer.
Our Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorneys help you understand what type of disability you have and what benefits are available to you.
Additional workers’ compensation benefits
Workers may also be entitled to the following additional benefits:
- Extra compensation if they have a serious disfigurement.
- Extra compensation if they have an occupational hearing loss.
- Death benefits. Family members may be entitled to wage benefits as if the deceased worker had lived up to certain amounts. They may be also entitled to funeral expenses and transportation expenses to the funeral up to certain limits.
Trust our skilled lawyers to help you understand the benefits you may be entitled to after a workplace injury.
Contact a Stipe Law Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyer today
At Stipe Law Firm, we understand how serious a work injury can be. Our clients wonder how they will pay their daily bills and if they can ever get healthy. They stress about being pushed back to work too soon or losing their job. Workers with any type of permanent disability have anxiety about limitations that may apply. Our Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorneys are here to put your worries at rest. Call 918-558-2255 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent clients in McAlester, throughout Southeastern Oklahoma and beyond.