Oklahoma Workers Compensation: FAQ

What is Workers Compensation?

The Oklahoma Workers Compensation Code requires most employers to carry insurance to provide medical, rehabilitation, and disability benefits for workers who are injured on the job.

Who is covered by workers compensation insurance in Oklahoma?

Most employees, with few exceptions, are covered according to the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Code.  Exceptions include independent contractors, who are not considered employees; those covered for job-related injuries under federal law; certain agricultural workers; real-estate brokers paid on a commission basis; anyone employed by an employer with five or fewer employees, all related by blood or marriage; owner-operators of a truck-tractor; and others as outlined here.

What should I do if I am hurt at work?

As soon as possible, report the accident, injury, or illness to your employer or a supervisor.  If you do not report the injury within thirty days, you will be unable to file a workers compensation claim.  If possible, make sure the injury is reported in writing; never sign a blank accident report form.  Keep copies of any report forms or documentation of the accident or injury.

Is my injury or job-related medical condition covered by the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Code?

Compensable injuries and occupational illnesses are those which "arise out of and in the course" of job duties.  Workers compensation covers injuries and illnesses sustained in the course of job performance without regard to fault.  Excluded injuries include those resulting from intentional injury, voluntary intoxication, failure to use safety devices, and horseplay or employee misconduct.

What type of benefits might I receive under the Oklahoma Workers Compensation Code?

Weekly income benefits vary according to the injured employee's average weekly income and the nature of his or her injury--for example, whether the employee sustained a temporary or permanent disability, and whether the disability is total or partial. Common benefits include:
  • Weekly income benefits
  • Temporary Partial Disability benefits
  • Permanent Partial Disability benefits
  • Death benefits for surviving spouse and dependents
Because the benefits to which you are entitled vary according to the specific nature of your injury or illness, it is important to consult an attorney before accepting a settlement.

Can I be fired or penalized for filing a Workers Compensation claim?

No.  The Oklahoma Workers Compensation Code establishes your right to obtain benefits for job-related injuries, and it expressly prevents employers from retaliating against any worker who files a claim.  If you have been penalized or fired as a result of your claim, or if your employer fails to make reasonable accommodations for your disability, contact a workers compensation attorney as soon as possible.

What if my injury or illness prevents my return to work?

The Oklahoma Workers Compensation Code provides rehabilitation and occupational training benefits workers who cannot return to their previous trade or occupation. If a permanent disability prevents the employee from any type of gainful employment, the worker may qualify for both Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and permanent disability benefits covered by workers compensation insurance.

Q: Do I need an Oklahoma Workers Compensation lawyer?

There is no requirement to hire an attorney to handle your workers compensation claim; however, because workers comp laws are so complex, hiring an experienced lawyer is a good idea.  Keep in mind that the insurance company providing your workers compensation benefits are likely more interested in profits than your well-being, and they may attempt to settle a claim for far less than you deserve.  An attorney can get you the compensation and benefits you need.  Attorneys' fees for workers compensation set by Oklahoma law and are paid on a contingency basis as a percentage of your award.  Unless you obtain an award or settlement from your claim, you do  not pay attorneys' fees.

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