Most Oklahomans work to pay the bills. Many do not have much to fall back on. This is why an on-the-job injury can be devastating. Fortunately, though, the state workers’ compensation system provides a safety net to help injured workers get past a rough patch and move on in their lives.
Workers’ compensation provides benefits on a temporary basis to help employees recover from an injury, pay their bills, and get back to work.
First and foremost, the system provides for the payment of medical costs necessary for the employee to recover physically, and even mentally if necessary. Importantly, the costs of these medical services are paid by the system rather than by employees’ personal insurance policies. This means that there are no co-pays or deductibles like there are with other insurance.
Temporary benefits also include income replacement. The system pays either temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD) payments. TTD payments are set at 70 percent of an injured employee’s average weekly earnings, not to exceed 70 percent of the state average weekly wage. TPD payments may be paid to make up the difference between the 70 percent level and the amount being earned in a temporary alternate job.
TTD payments may continue for up to 104 weeks, with an additional 52 weeks permitted in the event of a consequential injury requiring additional time to reach what is known as “maximum medical improvement.”
Sometimes the residual effects of injuries are so severe that employees cannot return to their former jobs or similar ones. In these cases, the workers’ compensation system provides for vocational training that will qualify employees for other jobs. This is the system’s last effort to see that an on-the-job injury only temporarily keeps an injured employee from working.
Even though this sounds pretty simple, there is frequently the need to seek legal assistance to receive the benefits deserved. When this happens, state law provides that a lawyer is entitled to receive ten percent of TTD and TPD payments. The lawyer is not entitled to any compensation based on the dollar amount of medical costs.
If you have questions about an on the job injury or your current workers comp claim here in the Tulsa, OK area, please call us today at 918-582-2500, or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.