In Oklahoma, most employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses have the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. But it is possible for an injured employee to lose their right to benefits. Are you still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you refuse treatment? Here’s what you need to know:
Refusing Treatment After A Work-Related Injury
The law states that workers must submit to treatment ordered by the Workers’ Compensation Commission as long as the treatment is reasonable and necessary. If you refuse, the Commission has the authority to temporarily suspend your benefits until you agree to undergo treatment. This suspension becomes permanent if you have not started treatment within one month from the date it was ordered by the Commission. This means you will lose the right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injury if you refuse treatment for a period of one month.
Refusing Surgical Treatment After A Work-Related Injury
The rules are slightly different when it comes to refusing surgical treatment for a work-related injury. If you refuse surgical treatment, the Workers’ Compensation Commission can take your refusal into consideration when determining whether or not to award permanent partial or permanent total disability benefits. However, this rule only applies if the recommended surgery is relatively low-risk, which means it does not carry a high risk of death or further impairment. The surgery must also have been recommended by at least two physicians.
This means if you refuse to undergo a low-risk surgical treatment that has been recommended by multiple physicians, it could affect your ability to obtain permanent disability benefits. The Commission cannot hold your refusal against you if the surgery was high-risk or only recommended by one physician.
Refusing Surgical Treatment After Sustaining A Work-Related Hernia
The rules are also different for workers who refuse to undergo surgery to treat a work-related hernia. If you sustain a work-related hernia and your doctor recommends surgery, you can still obtain benefits even if you choose not to undergo surgical treatment. By law, you are still eligible for 13 weeks of temporary total disability benefits in addition to compensation for your medical expenses.
Have you sustained a work-related injury? Seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. right away. Our attorneys will protect your best interests and fight for the benefits you deserve throughout the workers’ compensation claim process. 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.