Although a majority of Oklahoma employees are covered by the state’s workers’ compensation system, this does not necessarily mean you will receive benefits any time you are injured. This is because the workers’ compensation system does not cover all injuries. It only covers injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment.
An employer’s insurance company will deny claims for non-work-related injuries. For example, injuries that occur during meal breaks or in a parking lot outside of the employer’s building are typically not covered. The insurance company will contend that injuries like these are not eligible for workers’ comp benefits because they were not the result of employment-related activities.
The insurance company may also deny your claim if you were hurt while engaging in other activities that are considered to be exclusions from workers’ compensation, including the following:
Commuting. If you are injured while commuting to or from work, you will not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits unless you were driving a company-owned vehicle or the nature of your job requires you to travel between multiple job sites. In addition, if you were injured while running an errand for your boss on your way to work, you would likely be covered.
Recreational activities. Many companies offer recreational activities for their employees as team-building exercises. Depending on the circumstances, injuries that occur during a social event like a company happy hour or holiday party are typically not covered by worker’s comp. However, there are certain factors that may make it more likely you would be covered, including (1) if you were required by your employer to attend the event, (2) if your employer received a benefit from your attendance; or (3) if the activity was held on your employer’s property during business hours.
Intoxication. Oklahoma law states that a work-related injury that occurs as a result of the use of drugs or alcohol is not covered by the workers’ compensation system. Therefore, if you test positive for an illegal drug, an employer may argue that you are not entitled to benefits since your injuries could have occurred as a result of drug use. However, a recent court ruling may make it harder for employers in Oklahoma to succeed with this argument.
Fighting. In general, injuries caused by fights in the workplace are not covered by workers’ compensation. However, there may be exceptions, depending on the circumstances and whether the fight was about something work-related or if you were simply an innocent bystander.
Has your workers’ compensation claim been denied? If so, seek legal representation from Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to appeal the decision and secure the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to by law. 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.