Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Being injured at work can put you in a tough position. Your injuries may prevent you from performing the necessary functions of your job, leading to lost wages in addition to your medical bills. The Oklahoma workers’ compensation system can enable you to obtain financial benefits without needing to prove that someone caused your injury. You may need assistance getting an insurance company or employer to treat you fairly during the claims process, however.
At Dan Davis Law, our Oklahoma City workers’ compensation attorneys can assist you with the claims process, including negotiating for maximum financial compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Why Work Choose An Oklahoma City Workers Compensation Lawyer From Dan Davis Law?
- We have been helping injured employees recover compensation for over a quarter of a century.
- Our OKC accident attorneys have a deep and abiding interest in helping others. We bring a personal touch to law.
- We are a local and family-run law firm located in the heart of Deep Deuce in Oklahoma City.
- Our Oklahoma City injury lawyers are caring, attentive, and know how to get real results.
- Our attorneys don’t get paid for your work injury claim unless you do.
How Does the Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Program Work?
Most employers in Oklahoma are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of insurance offers financial benefits to reimburse workers for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with a workplace injury or illness. It is not a fault-based system; financial benefits are not reliant upon the employee proving that someone else caused the injury being claimed. In this way, workers’ comp is different from a personal injury lawsuit.
In general, to be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance benefits, a worker simply must prove that the injury or illness is occupational, report the accident to the employer within 30 days, and work with the employer to file an insurance claim by the deadline. Oklahoma’s workers’ comp insurance program covers almost all injuries and illnesses related to performing a job. This includes repetitive motion injuries but does not include self-inflicted injuries or injuries while the employee was intoxicated or violating a company policy.
Are Businesses Required to Provide Workers’ Comp Insurance for All Employees?
The vast majority of businesses must provide worker’s compensation insurance for their employees since the passage of the law in 1915. However, a small subset of employees remains exempt from the coverage requirement. Employees exempt from required coverage include:
- Sole proprietors
- LLC members who own 10 percent or more of the capital
- Members of a partnership
- Stockholders holding 10 percent or more of capital in a business
- Small family businesses with 5 or fewer family-member employees
- Independent contractors
- Real estate brokers paid by commissions
While there’s no required coverage under these circumstances, employers may still elect to provide coverage for their own protection to close a potential liability gap. Small businesses can purchase affordable worker’s comp coverage through the state of Oklahoma.
Steps to Take After an Accident On the Job
Sustaining an injury at work can greatly impact your life. Not only are injuries painful and traumatic, but they also affect your ability to do your job and earn a living. In order to ensure you get the compensation you need from your worker’s comp claim there are 4 important steps to take.
- Report the injury immediately even if it appears minor at first. Carefully follow the process your employer requires for workplace injuries and do so within 30 days of the incident.
- See a doctor as soon as possible even if the injury doesn’t appear to be an emergency. It’s essential to have medical records showing your doctor’s findings.
- Keep detailed records of your medical treatment expenses and missed days of work
- Seek representation from a skilled and experienced attorney like those at Dan Davis Law in Oklahoma City
A highly qualified attorney with many years of experience in handling workers’ comp claims can help you file your claim correctly and advocate for the best possible settlement or coverage. With a compassionate and diligent attorney handling your claim, you can focus on your medical treatment and recovery.
Can You File a Workers’ Comp Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The answer to this question depends on the situation. Once you accept a workers’ comp settlement, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer or the company – even if there is evidence that your employer was negligent and caused your injury. You can only file a lawsuit against your employer if you don’t accept workers’ compensation.
You may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party after accepting workers’ comp, however, such as the manufacturer of a defective piece of equipment. This is why it is important to consult with an injury attorney in OKC before accepting a workers’ comp settlement – it may not be your best option for making a financial recovery after a workplace accident.
Can You Choose Your Own Doctor?
In a worker’s comp case, it’s the employer’s right to choose the doctor unless your injury requires emergency treatment or if the employer waits more than 7 days to provide a doctor to treat the injury, in which case you can choose your own doctor at the expense of your employer.
In the event that you want to see a different doctor, you can apply to change doctors one of two ways, depending on whether or not your coverage is through a Certified Workplace Medical Plan (CWMP). If it is, you can apply for a different physician from the network. If you aren’t covered through a CWMP you can apply for a change to a physician of your choice, but no more than twice per claim.
What Injuries are NOT Covered by Workers’ Comp?
It’s important to understand that while work-related injuries are covered by Workers’ Comp, not all injuries that occur while you are at work are covered. For instance, if you’re hurt at work while playing, fooling around with coworkers, or socializing, your injury won’t be covered by a worker’s comp claim. Other types of injuries unrelated to your actual work may also be exempt including:
- Injuries caused by pre-existing conditions
- Injuries caused by intoxication or drug use unless you can prove the injury is entirely unrelated to your state of intoxication
- Injuries that occur in parking lots unless the employer owns the lot or has responsibility for maintaining the area
- Injuries occurring during an unauthorized break
- Mental or emotional injuries not caused by a work injury or an act of violence at work
What Damages Are Available?
The damages or financial compensation, available through workers’ comp in Oklahoma can pay for your medical bills (past and future), about 67 percent of your lost wages, a short-term or permanent disability, and death benefits for the loss of a loved one. A personal injury claim, on the other hand, can offer 100-percent wage replacement, as well as compensation for pain and suffering. Filing both types of claims, if your circumstances allow, can maximize your financial recovery as an injured worker in Oklahoma City. Furthermore, if a loved one has died due to an injury sustained on the job, you can also contact our Oklahoma City wrongful death attorneys to help you through that legal process.
Understanding Temporary Total Disability Compensation
If you experience a significant or severe injury and can’t return to work during your recovery you might be eligible for Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Compensation. In Oklahoma, the benefits provide payment at 70 percent of your normal wage or no more than $953.18 per week as of 2022. For many people, this is less than their normal weekly earnings, but the amount isn’t taxable. The disability coverage continues until:
- You are able to return to work
- Your doctor states that your condition has reached its maximum medical improvement or MMI, in which case you may need to file for permanent disability if you are unable to work at all.
- You’ve reached the maximum amount of benefits you are allowed under your coverage, which may be up to 156 weeks for serious injuries and less for soft tissue injuries and other less serious injuries.
In some cases, you may be unable to return to your normal job position but may return to work in a different capacity, such as a light duty position, in which case you may be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) which provides compensation at 70 percent of the difference in pay between your normal position and your new position.
Will My Case End in a Settlement?
Most workers’ comp claims do end in settlements either with single lump-sum payments or weekly benefits for a specific amount of time until reaching the total amount. Trials are necessary only if a dispute arises between you and your employer’s insurance carrier and it isn’t resolved through negotiation or mediation. In this case, your claim becomes a court case and a judge decides based on the facts in your unique case, including your medical records, testimony, and evidence.
In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission (OWCC) handles claims for workers’ comp. The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims hears any cases requiring disputed settlements if an agreement isn’t reached through mediation. The Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act provides guidelines in Oklahoma for employees with workers’ comp claims.
Additional Benefits Available Through Workers’ Comp
If you’ve reached your maximum medical improvement according to your doctor, you may be eligible for vocational rehabilitation with opportunities for career training, vocational assessment, career counseling, and employment searches.
Workers’ comp claims also offer death benefits for surviving family members with the amount depending on the number of dependents left behind. It also allows up to $10,000 in funeral expenses for families of employees who die from work-related injuries.
Contact an Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer from the very beginning of your work injury case is important. An attorney can guide you through the legal process while defending and protecting your rights. At Dan Davis Law, we care about workers in our community and work tirelessly to help injured employees ranging from brain injuries to slip and fall accidents in Oklahoma City collect the financial compensation that they need and deserve. We can help you and your family pick up the pieces and move on after a work-related injury in Oklahoma City. Discuss how our workers’ compensation lawyers can help you today. Request a free consultation here or by calling (405) 930-4210.