Workers’ Compensation is designed to serve as a safety net that protects workers who become injured on the job. Oklahoma law specifies the types of support you can receive, as well as how that support is calculated and provided. The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission has published a helpful Guide for Injured Workers that explains some of what you can expect.
Here, the seasoned team at the Armstrong Law Firm, PLC share a brief overview of the different types of Workers’ Compensation support you can receive. An Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Tulsa can explain more and answer your questions.
Basic Support to Expect from OK Workers’ Compensation
Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation insurance provided by your employer provides limited benefits to assist with your physical recovery and loss of wages while recovering away from work. They can include:
- Medical treatments for work-related injuries or illnesses
- Payments for a percentage of your wages while you are recovering and cannot work
- Temporary total disability payments
- Compensation for permanent disabilities caused by work-related injuries or illness
- Death benefits for your family if you die due to a work-related injury or illness
This support is basically broken down into two broad categories: medical benefits and wage benefits. There are also some benefits to cover job retraining if your injury precludes you from performing the work you did prior to your injury, but you are still able to do some type of work.
Medical Benefits Under Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation
Workers who sustain an injury or illness while on the job are eligible to receive medical treatment for their injuries or illness. You are not required to pay copays and should not incur any out-of-pocket expenses for your care. You must receive treatment within five days of providing your employer notice of the illness or injury. Other points of interest include:
- Your employer has the right to choose your treating physician within five days of receiving notice of your illness or injury. If no physician is chosen within five days, you may choose your own physician.
- Reasonable medical expenses include prescriptions assigned to you by your treating physician. You should not be asked to pay any co-pays for prescriptions. Workers’ Compensation or your employer may ask you to use certain pharmacies. You should keep all records and prescription paperwork in the event your prescribed medications or other devices are questioned by Workers’ Compensation.
- You may qualify for mileage reimbursement if you must travel in excess of 20 miles round trip to receive your medical care or treatments. Be sure to document your travel and submit the proper mileage reimbursement form. You should receive a reimbursement within 60 days after Workers’ Compensation receives the form.
Wage Benefits Under Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation provides some assistance with wage replacement while you cannot work because of your injury and/or medical treatments. This wage compensation is calculated on a percentage basis according to your prior weekly wages and the type of injury you sustained. Following are the types of disabling conditions under which you may receive wage benefits.
- Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) — these workers are able to return to work after receiving treatments for their injury and perform some lower paying, lighter duty form of work. Workers receive 70% of the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident wages. This benefit is paid until you resume your normal work tasks or for a maximum 52 weeks.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) — these workers are unable to perform any type of work until they are fully recovered from their injury. Their wage benefits are calculated according to their injury, with the maximum rate in 2022 being $953.18 per week. The maximum increases to $986.86 in 2023. These payments can be paid for up 104 weeks or until you return to work.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) — these workers have been judged by their attending physician to be permanently unable to perform any type of work. These wage payments are equal to 70% of your average weekly wage up to a maximum rate of $953.18 in 2022. These payments continue until you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.
- Permanent Partial Impairment Benefits (PPI) — these workers are permanently disabled in some way, but can still perform some type of work. Your specific disability and its severity are factored into the wage calculations, and cannot exceed 70% of your average weekly wage up to a maximum of $360 in 2022.
- Scheduled Losses — these workers have lost a body part due to their work-related injury. They may receive a PPI benefit described above as well as a lump sum settlement paid according to a schedule maintained by Workers’ Compensation for the specific body part lost.
- Death Benefits – survivors of deceased workers who died from injuries on the job are eligible for weekly or lump sum benefits. Calculations depend on whether there is a surviving spouse and how many, if any, children remain. These benefits are also figured as a percentage of the deceased worker’s average weekly wage.
Get the Help You Need with a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Your eligibility to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits is determined by a combination of legal and medical factors. Benefits are awarded depending on the severity of your injury and your ability to return to work, as certified by a competent medical physician. The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC can provide valuable information and guidance as you pursue a claim after becoming injured. Contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free consultation.