You probably know someone who has received workers’ compensation benefits. Maybe you have even been injured at work yourself. However, it’s common for people to have misconceptions about how workers’ comp works. This article debunks some of those misconceptions by showing how Oklahoma worker claims are handled.
#1. I Won’t Get Workers’ Comp if the Accident Is My Fault.
Oklahoma is a no-fault workers’ comp state. If you were partially or entirely at fault for your injuries, you can usually still qualify for benefits.
One of the exceptions involves alcohol. Being intoxicated at the time of your injury could disqualify you from benefits.
#2. Employers Don’t Have to Buy Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
Most Oklahoma employers are required by law to have workers’ comp coverage for their employees. In fact, they can be fined $1,000 per day for failing to provide it. Employers can also be sued in district court and face work stoppages because of their noncompliance.
#3. My Boss Will Fire Me if I File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee for requesting benefits. However, there are specific guidelines if an employee does need to be let go.
The law prohibits employers from firing someone “for the sole reason of being absent from work for the purpose of avoiding payment of temporary total disability benefits to the injured employee.” After temporary total disability benefits have been exhausted, the law does not require employers to retain employees who can’t physically perform their duties. In fact, sometimes employees can be released because their position has been eliminated.
Generally, though, employers cannot discriminate or retaliate against employees who have filed claims or even hired an attorney to pursue a claim under Oklahoma workers’ comp laws.
#4. If My Claim Is Denied, I Can’t Appeal.
Administrative law judges deny some claims. If this happens to you, you can appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, you must do this within ten days of the judge’s decision. If you do not already have an attorney, it’s best to hire one to handle your appeal.
#5. Occupational Diseases Are Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation Laws.
In some situations, an employee’s work-related disease is covered by workers’ comp insurance. However, the worker will have to prove that their employment caused the disease. Compensation might be affected by the workers’ other health conditions if any. This type of case can be very complicated, so we urge you to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible.
We Can Clear Up Any Misconceptions About Workers’ Compensation – and Help with Your Claim.
Have you been injured at work? If so, seek legal representation from the attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys understand how work injuries can impact your life, which is why we will work tirelessly to ensure you are fully compensated through the workers’ compensation system. 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.