This page provides answers to the following questions:
- I had an accident at work. How do I file a workers compensation claim in my state?
- Should my employer have workers compensation insurance? How do I know I am covered?
- What are the conditions that enable me or prevent me from claiming benefits under my state's law?
- What benefits might I be eligible to receive?
- How much time do I have to file my claim? What are the stages of the claim process? What should I expect?
- If I'm not happy with the determination, how do I appeal?
1. I had an accident at work. How do I file a workers compensation claim in my state?
If you are injured while on the job, notify your supervisor as soon as possible if not within thirty (30) days of the accident or injury. It's imperative to make promptly and clearly communicate to your employer the circumstances involved with your accident and/or injury.
2. Should my employer have workers compensation insurance? How do I know if I am covered?
Workers' compensation coverage begins upon employment, there is no waiting period. There are limited circumstances where individuals will not be protected by workers' compensation laws in the state; therefore, virtually every employee in Oklahoma is covered by worker's compensation law. With this in mind, Oklahoma expects that employers provide workers' compensation coverage for those they employ.
3. What are the conditions that enable me or prevent me from claiming benefits under my state's law?
The best way to insure you successfully claim workers' compensation is to maintain open and clear communication with all parties involved, like your employer or employer's insurance provider, and timely notify or file the appropriate recipients of any issues or changes that arise in your circumstances.
4. What benefits might I be eligible to receive?
If your injury requires medical care and attention, your employer or employer's insurance provider can be expected to cover the expenses associated with all reasonably necessary medical care and attention treatment of your injury requires.
If your injury prevents you from returning to work or working at a full capacity, you may be eligible for wage-replacement benefits, called Temporary Total Disability benefits. These benefits are provided to individuals whose injuries cause them to miss work for more than seven calendar days. Typically, these benefits are payments calculated as roughly seventy percent (70%) of the injured person's average weekly wages. Your eligibility as well as the duration you may be entitled to these benefits will depend largely on the circumstances surrounding your injury.
Permanent Partial Impairment benefits are paid for disabilities caused by the workplace injury that are permanent but do not cause total disability. This means that you will be able to attain some form of employment or have the ability to engage in some type of work. Like Temporary Total Disability, eligibility will depend largely on the extent and scope of your injuries. On the other hand, if your injury is Permanent and Total, meaning you are unable to return to work or obtain gainful employment, you may be entitled to Permanent Total Disability benefits which are calculated at seventy percent (70%) of your average weekly wages.
Death benefits may be available to your survivors and/or dependents should your injury result in death. Spouses typically receive a lump sum benefits payment and dependent children receive weekly benefits based on the average wages the deceased previously earned.
5. How much time do I have to file my claim? What are the stages of the claims process? What should I expect?
To begin the claims process, you must complete a Form 3 to submit to the Workers' Compensation Court. Remember, you don't have unlimited time to file a claim. Promptness and timeliness are essential to ensuring you are in the best position to assert a successful claim. To file a claim for workers' compensation benefits with the Worker's Compensation Court, you must file your claim within one of the following: 1) two years or your injury or accident 2) two (2) years of your last benefits payment 3) or within two (2) years of any authorized medical care.
The first stage of the claims process should always involve your employer or your employer's insurance provider. However, if a dispute arises or your employer is unwilling to accept liability for your injuries, you may request the Workers' Compensation Court to step in and help resolve any issues that may arise. Your cases will be set before a judge. To request a case, you must fill a Form 9 and submit to the Workers' Compensation Court.
A trial or case in Workers' Compensation Court is much like any other case heard in court, but these cases will not heard by a jury. The presiding judge will determine whether benefits should be awarded or how to resolve the issue a hand.
The Workers' Compensation Court encourages you to exhaust all options to mediate or resolve the issues of your cases without having to engage in litigation-like trials. You can request a mediation to handle the dispute.
6. If I am not happy with the determination, how do I appeal?
Appeals from the initial Workers' Compensation Court hearing may be made by filing two copies of a Request for Review within ten (10) days the order of the court was filed.