Oklahoma law establishes specific rules and regulations that govern workers’ compensation claims. If you fail to follow these rules, you put your ability to get workers’ compensation benefits at risk. Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when applying for workers’ compensation benefits.
- You fail to timely notify your employer of your injury. You should always provide your employer with notice of any injuries you suffer while on the job as soon as possible after they occur. You can provide this notice to your employer verbally, but it is preferable that you put your notice in writing. However, you must provide notice of your injuries to your employer no later than 30 days after they occur or no later than 30 days after your separation from employment due to cumulative or ongoing work-related injuries. Although there are a few exceptions, you generally only have 30 days to give notice to your employer. Failure to do so can result in the denial of your claim.
- You don’t provide evidence of injuries that keep you from working. Qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits requires you to show by a preponderance of the evidence that your injury keeps you from working. As a result, you must get medical treatment for your injuries, as you need a doctor to be able to state that your injury makes you unable to work. If you don’t have this medical evidence, you will not qualify for workers’ compensation. Likewise, if you fail to follow the doctor’s orders, such as missing your doctor’s appointments or rehabilitation sessions, the insurance company may conclude that your injury isn’t as bad as you claim. Not following the doctor’s orders can be another reason to deny your workers’ compensation benefits.
- Workers’ compensation does not cover your injury. Oklahoma law identifies some injuries that may happen at work or on your employer’s property that may not make you eligible for workers’ compensation. For instance, if you suffer an injury at work because you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Likewise, if you were engaged in horseplay or fighting with another employee while at work, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Your injury resulted from a preexisting condition. Workers’ compensation benefits are unavailable for workers who are injured because of a preexisting medical condition. Unless you can provide definitive proof that your job aggravated your preexisting medical condition or made it significantly worse, you will not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. As a result, if you have a preexisting medical condition that you are regularly treated for, and examination after your injury does not reveal any change in your condition, you are unlikely to get workers’ compensation benefits.
- You give conflicting accounts of your injury, and there are no witnesses. The insurance company is likely to be suspicious if you are the only person who witnesses a work-related injury. This is simply because your injury must be so severe that you require medical attention and cannot work to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, other employees will notice if you receive that serious of an injury. Similarly, if your accounts of the injury differ from one recollection to the next, or if your explanations are inconsistent, the insurance company may assume that you did not suffer a work-related injury.
Contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. Today for Help
We are here to assist injured workers with all their workers’ compensation insurance and related legal needs. Call us today at (918) 582-2500 or visit our website to learn more about the services that we can offer you.