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It is important to understand the workers’ compensation benefits available if you have been injured on the job in Oklahoma or developed a work-related illness. Workers’ compensation insurance, which most employers are required to carry, provides a safety net for injured workers.

The Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons are committed to helping injured employees with their workers’ compensation claims and appeals. If you are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits or you have received a letter denying your request for benefits, talk to us. Our knowledgeable attorneys can file an appeal and help you navigate Oklahoma’s complicated workers’ compensation system. We have more than 30 years of experience standing up for hardworking Oklahomans who have suffered workplace injuries. Attorney Charles Simons has resolved more than 4,000 workers’ compensation claims on behalf of workers. Founding partner Patrick Ryan is a former chief judge of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court. We take pride in our one-on-one attention to clients.

Our workers’ comp attorneys are available to discuss your questions in a free initial consultation. We only collect a legal fee if we win your case for you. Contact us today at (800) 725-2222 to speak directly with a dedicated member of our team.

What is the Workers’ Comp Process in Oklahoma?

The workers’ compensation process starts with the notification of a workplace accident.

An injured employee must notify the employer within 30 days that he or she has sustained an injury on the job or developed a work-related illness. A written notice of the injury should always be given as soon as possible.

An employer or the employer’s insurance administrator must provide necessary medical care within five days of being notified of a work-related injury. The employer provides a doctor to administer medical treatment. If an employer fails to provide medical care, the employee may have the right to choose a doctor to treat the injury at the employer’s expense.

The injured worker is responsible for following the directions and treatment plan ordered by the treating physician.

If a dispute arises about a workers’ compensation claim, it is a good idea to talk with a knowledgeable Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorney to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and whether an appeal is appropriate.

If you have received a letter denying your benefits, you may need to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to preserve your rights. The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission is the state agency responsible for hearing claims of injured workers. An attorney can file an appeal with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission on your behalf and request a hearing.

A pre-hearing conference is an informal meeting with an administrative law judge that may provide an opportunity for you and your employer to discuss the issues and try to resolve the claim dispute without a formal hearing. An attorney at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons can represent you at the pre-hearing conference and negotiate on your behalf for the benefits you are entitled to by law.

When a hearing is scheduled, the two sides have until 20 days before the hearing to exchange documents, evidence and lists of witnesses.

A formal hearing is a judicial process similar to a trial. The injured worker must present evidence and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the injury occurred in the course of employment and that he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You are not required to have a lawyer at a hearing, but it is in your best interest to have legal representation. Your employer’s insurance carrier will be represented by a lawyer, and you will be at a disadvantage if you try to represent yourself.

After the hearing, the administrative law judge will decide what if any benefits you will receive. If you disagree with  the judge’s decision, you may appeal it by filing a Request for Review by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

If you disagree with the commission’s decision, an appeal can be filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court for review.

The Oklahoma workers’ compensation system is complex, and legal experience matters. If you have a disputed workers’ comp claim or disagree with the amount of benefits you have been awarded, you want an experienced lawyer who knows the applicable law and can argue effectively on your behalf. The attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons have successfully handled thousands of workers’ compensation cases and will put that experience to work for you. We take pride in standing up for the rights of injured Oklahomans.

Are Employers Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Yes, most Oklahoma employers are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits to employees who are injured on the job or develop a work-related illness. An employer may purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance carrier. An employer also may meet the legal requirement by being self-insured, with approval by the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

As an injured employee, you have a right to receive necessary medical care for your work-related injury or illness. You are covered by workers’ compensation from the first day of employment. There is no waiting period.

There are some exceptions. Independent contractors are not considered employees and are not covered by workers’ compensation.

What Are the Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits Available in Oklahoma?

Injured employees in Oklahoma are entitled to a range of workers’ compensation benefits depending on the severity of the injury and the worker’s ability to return to work.

If you or your loved one has suffered an injury in the course of performing your job, you may have a right to the following workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Paid medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses
  • Payments for wages lost due to being out of work because of work-related injuries or illnesses
  • Temporary total disability payments
  • Compensation for permanent disabilities caused by work-related injuries
  • Job retraining for workers’ who are unable to return to work their prior occupation
  • Death benefits for the families of workers who died due to a work-related injury

Our attorneys can review your injury during a free consultation and discuss which benefits you have a right to claim.

How Much Does Workers’ Compensation Pay in Oklahoma?

If you were injured in the course of performing your job duties and the injuries limit your ability to work, you may qualify for either temporary partial disability benefits or temporary total disability benefits.

Temporary Partial Disability—Injured workers who are able to return to work and perform some lower paying, light duty work may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits are calculated at 70 percent of the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident wages. For example, let’s say you earned $600 a week before your injury, but the light duty work you are performing pays $350 per week. The difference in earnings is $250. To compute the temporary partial disability benefit, multiply $250 by .7. Your temporary partial disability benefit is $175 a week. TPD benefits are paid until you resume your normal workload or for a maximum of 52 weeks.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)—If you are unable to do any type of work, you may qualify for temporary disability benefits. The maximum rate for temporary total disability benefits in Oklahoma is currently set at $590.63 per week. You may collect TTD benefits until you return to work, have achieved maximum medical recovery or have received the maximum number of payments. Depending on the severity of the injury, total disability payments may be paid up to 104 weeks.

Permanent Total Disability Benefits—These benefits are paid for a work-related injury or condition that is permanent and leaves you unable to perform any work. Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) are calculated at 70 percent of your average weekly wage up to a maximum rate of $843.75. PTD benefits are paid until the recipient qualifies for maximum Social Security retirement benefits.

Permanent Partial Impairment Benefits—These benefits are paid for a work-related disability that is permanent, but still allows you to do some type of work. Permanent partial impairment (PPI) benefits are calculated based on the type and extent of the disability. The rate for a permanent partial disability is computed at 70 percent of the worker’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $323 per week.

Scheduled Losses—An injured worker who loses the use of a body part such as with the amputation of a hand or foot in a work-related accident may receive a workers’ compensation PPI benefit. These benefits, which may be paid as a lump sum, are paid according to a schedule, depending on the affected body part. For example, the benefit for the loss of a hand is equivalent to 70 percent of your average weekly wage for 220 weeks. The benefit for the loss of use of an arm is equivalent to 70 percent of your average weekly wage for 275 weeks.

Contact OKC Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Whatever type of work-related injury you have sustained, you need to understand the range of workers’ compensation benefits available to you in Oklahoma. Our experienced workers’ comp attorneys at Ryan Bisher Ryan & Simons represent injured workers in Oklahoma City and throughout the state. Call us to schedule your free initial consultation about your workplace accident claim.

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