The key to winning compensation in some civil suits is proving fault. For example, someone who has been injured in a car accident must prove that the other driver caused the crash in order to recover compensation. But, the same rules do not apply to workers’ compensation cases.
Fault in the Workers’ Compensation System
Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system. This means that injured workers are not required to prove that someone else was responsible for their injury in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Proving Compensable vs. Non-Compensable Injuries
The injured worker does not need to prove fault, but he may need to prove that his injury is covered by the workers’ compensation system. Injuries that occur as a result of a work-related accident, occupational disease, or cumulative trauma are compensable, meaning they are covered by the workers’ compensation system. But, some injuries are not compensable. This can include injuries sustained while the worker engaging in recreational or social activities or those sustained at a time where the worker was not performing his job duties.
An injury that occurs as a result of the worker’s use of alcohol or drugs is also not compensable--even if the injury is sustained at work. If the employer suspects the use of alcohol or drugs played a role in the incident, they can test the worker within 24 hours of being notified about the injury. If the employee tests positive, the employer will assume that the injury is not compensable because it was caused by the intoxication of alcohol or drugs.
You are not expected to prove fault in a workers’ compensation case, but some injured workers are forced to prove that their injuries are compensable. This occurs when the employer or employer’s insurance company denies a claim and argues that the injury is not compensable due to one of the reasons listed above. In the event this happens, you will need to submit clear and convincing evidence that proves that your injury is covered by the workers’ compensation system.
Most injured workers are able to settle their claims with their employer or employer’s insurance company quickly, but if this sort of dispute arises, the Workers’ Compensation Commission may need to get involved.
Recovering workers’ compensation benefits is not always easy. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. are here to help. We will ensure you are not denied the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.