When injured Oklahoma workers need to recreate a sense of normalcy in their life, the first and most essential step is filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. A successful Workers’ Compensation claim results in benefits to assist the injured worker in covering their medical costs and lost time on the job. However, what happens when an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation claim is denied? Is an employee allowed to appeal a denied Workers’ Compensation claim?
Can an Employee Appeal a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you are injured on the job in Oklahoma, but your Workers’ Compensation claim is denied, or if you have a dispute about your benefits with the insurance company, you may file an appeal through Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation system.
Appealing a Denial of Your Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Claim:
(Injuries On or After February 1, 2014)
Due to changes in Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation laws, there are two different appeals processes, depending on when the injury occurred. The forms, timelines, and other requirements for the associated appeals processes differ. If your injury occurred before February 1, 2014, you need to discuss your options with an experienced Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorney. The Workers’ Compensation Commission handles appeals for injuries on or after February 1, 2014. To appeal your denied Workers’ Compensation claim, you must complete and file a different Form 3 with the Commission (or Form 3B for occupational diseases claims). The Workers’ Compensation Commission requires the original form and four copies.
How to Win Your Workers’ Compensation Appeal:
To maximize your chances of success when filing an appeal for your denied Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation claim, hire an experienced Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorney. An experienced attorney can help you consider likely problems before they occur and design the best argument to challenge and appeal a denied Workers’ Compensation claim for benefits in Oklahoma.
Filing Workers’ Comp Appeals in Oklahoma After February 1, 2014:
As of February 1, 2014, Oklahoma uses an administrative process for filing Workers’ Compensation appeals. An administrative law judge or ALJ is assigned, and a hearing is scheduled. The hearing for Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation claims is informal compared to an actual trial; both parties involved have the opportunity to question witnesses, submit documents to the court, and present legal arguments supporting their claims. Once they hear all the evidence, the ALJ assigned to the case makes a decision.
Special Filing Deadlines: Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Claims
The current statute of limitations is one year, but the savings extension is only six months from the date of last medical treatment but no less than one year from the date of loss. The law was changed on July 1, 2019. Before this date, the law included a longer savings provision, which the legislative changes shortened to six months.
The Commission’s Counselor Program vs. an Experienced Attorney
The Oklahoma Commission Counselor Program assists injured workers with questions and concerns about the Workers’ Compensation system, helps injured workers verify their employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance, and offers guidance about filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. The Counselor Division also provides injured workers with written materials designed to help workers better understand the general process. The division’s staff can respond to requests for information and answer questions. Still, they cannot offer legal advice about your claim and are not necessarily advocating for you as the injured employee.
Deadlines for Filing an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Appeal:
Workers’ Compensation claims for injuries sustained before February 1, 2014 are subject to the previous Workers’ Compensation system that allowed parties that disagreed with the trial judge’s decision to file an appeal to a panel of three judges within ten days, and they could appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court within 20 days if they disagreed with the Panel’s decision. However, Workers’ Compensation claims for injuries sustained on or after February 1, 2014 are subject to the current system allowing those who disagree with the ALJ’s decision to appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Commission within ten days. If still unsatisfied, parties can appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court within 20 days.
Let Us Help Appeal a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim
If your Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation claim is denied, don’t miss out on the benefits you are entitled to receive. Contact an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorney at Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, Premier Workers’ Compensation, Employment, and Social Security Law Firm. We are devoted to providing excellent legal services to clients from all walks of life. Contact us online or call (918) 582-2500 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney.