Oklahoma employees who suffer injury or illness on the job or while performing work-related duties may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation. To determine the maximum level of compensation benefits to which one is entitled, it helps to obtain an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney to advocate on behalf of the injured party. Through a thorough case analysis, a workers’ compensation lawyer can determine the benefits necessary to account for medical care, disability benefits (temporary or permanent), weekly income benefits, and rehabilitative services.
While benefits are often distributed through the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance company, some injured employees find it difficult to obtain the full benefits they need and deserve. If your claim is denied or ignored, you may find help by contacting an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorney to fight for your maximum benefits.
Workers’ Comp benefits are in place to provide medical treatment and financial assistance to employees who have suffered injury, illness, or disability through work-related duties or workplace conditions. Additionally, benefits may be available to those whose non-work-related injuries or illnesses have been worsened or exacerbated by work or working conditions.
The specific benefits available to an injured or impaired worker will vary on a case by case basis; however, every Oklahoma employee is entitled to certain workers’ compensation benefits. By obtaining the assistance of a Workers’ Compensation lawyer, one can be sure that his or her maximum benefit will be pursued. Benefits may be available for a number of financial burdens incurred through workplace injuries or illnesses:
Knowing which benefits to pursue helps to ensure you receive the full compensation to which you are entitled. Utilizing the knowledge and experience of a professional allows you to rest assured that your best interests are sought in matters of Workers’ Compensation.
When a workplace injury prevents an employee from working for a period of time, that worker may apply for temporary disability benefits under the Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation Act. If the worker is completely unable to perform his or her job duties as a result of the injury, the injured party is said to have suffered a Temporary Total Disability (TTD). If the worker is able to perform his or her duties in a limited capacity because of a workplace injury, he or she suffers from a Temporary Partial Disability (TPD.)
TTD benefits are payable if the employee is completely unable to work for a period of more than three days and up to 156 weeks, or until cleared by a physician to return to work. In cases of lesser disability, an injured worker may be released by a physician to return to work in a limited capacity. He or she may be required to work shorter hours, fewer days, or at a lower paying job until a full recovery is made, making him or her eligible for Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits.
Both total and partial temporary disability benefits are based on one’s medical record and the recommendations of a licensed medical professional. If eligible for TTD benefits, one may receive up to 70 percent of his or her average weekly wages (AWW) for a maximum of 156 weeks, with a maximum of $716 per week. In certain cases a compensation extension petition may be granted, which allows for benefits to extend for a maximum of 300 weeks.
Failure to file a Workers’ Compensation claim may result in an employer’s termination of benefits. Filing a claim can protect your right to financial compensation for a work-related injury or disability. An Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation benefits attorney can help protect your right to financial assistance.
Certain workplace injuries or associated medical conditions may leave an employee with a permanent disability. Individuals who suffer from such ailments or injuries may need additional workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that leave disability after reaching Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI.) For those with more extensive needs, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Act provides for Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) through which individuals may require additional financial assistance for continuing or long-term care.
In Oklahoma, a PPD benefit is calculated at 70% of an employee’s average weekly wage at the time the injury or disability was incurred, with set values for minimum and maximum benefits. Regardless of the injured worker’s average weekly wage, the PPD benefit is to be no less than $15 and no more than $323.
While PPD benefits are often paid in the form of weekly income payments, in certain cases, an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation attorney may request a lump sum payment on behalf of the injured client. For example, a doctor may establish that a worker has suffered a 30% disability to the whole body as the result of a neck injury which was sustained or exacerbated while performing job-related duties. This worker may then receive PPD benefits at a maximum of $323/week for 150 weeks or in a lump sum payment of up to $48,450.
Determining PPD benefits is complex and is best handled by an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer. For more information, contact an experienced legal professional today.
Changes are being made to Oklahoma’s Workers’ Compensation Law which will remove such cases from the judicial system and hand them over as administrative matters. With the new changes taking effect in February 2014 and further actions taking place in August 2014, it is important to contact an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Benefits attorney immediately to ensure that you have a professional advocating on your behalf. While the new system is set to help Oklahoma businesses and the state’s economy, injured employees stand to lose leverage in obtaining maximum benefits. If you have been injured on the job, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer today.