The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that an average of 67 workers under the age of 18 sustain fatal work-related injuries every year. Another 77,000 minor workers are treated in emergency rooms ever year for non-fatal work-related injuries. Based on these statistics, it’s clear that working minors need to be prepared in case they are ever injured in the workplace. Here’s what minors should know about their right to workers’ compensation:
Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Minors
In general, the workers’ compensation system treats minors and adults the same way. This means that minors who are injured while on-the-job are entitled to the same workers’ compensation benefits as adults. The process of securing workers’ compensation benefits after a work-related injury is the same for minors and adults as well.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits For Minors Under the Minimum Employment Age
The minimum employment age in Oklahoma is 14, so children under the age of 14 are legally prohibited from working. But, some employers choose to ignore this law by hiring children under the minimum employment age. If a child under the age of 14 suffers a work-related injury, he is still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even though he should not have been working in the first place. In fact, he is entitled to double the benefits since his employer broke the law by hiring him. This rule was put in place to penalize the employer for violating the state’s minimum employment age law.
There is one exception to this rule, however. Let’s say a 13-year-old child lies to his employer in writing about his age in order to get a job. The child tells his employer that he is older, so his employer is not aware that he is breaking any laws by hiring him. If the child is injured while at work, he is still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But, the benefits will not be doubled even though he is under the age of 14. In this case, the employer is not penalized since he was not aware that the child was under the state’s minimum employment age.
Have you been injured in the workplace? If so, seek legal representation from the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you are fully compensated for your work-related injuries. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.