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Taking a look inside Oklahoma's workers' compensation law

Many employees have a general understanding about workers’ compensation insurance. However, when a workplace injury occurs, specificity can mean the difference between just and unjust treatment. 

First, keep in mind that the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Code applies to nearly every employee, regardless of industry. Pursuant to that state law, most employers are required to provide benefits to workers injured on the job, including medical and rehabilitation costs and compensation for disability. 

However, just as in other insurance policy contexts, workers’ compensation does impose certain procedural requirements. Failing to comply with those procedures could jeopardize an injured worker’s claim. In the case of a single event injury, an employee must report the injury to his or her employer within 30 days or seek medical treatment within that period. For repeated trauma, the window may be enlarged to 90 days. 

The insurance analogy also applies in the case of doctor selection: The employer has the right to make the selection. Unfortunately, a workers’ compensation attorney knows that this can be a source of dispute. For example, the employer-selected doctor may deem certain medical procedures or services unnecessary. The company’s doctor may also disagree over whether a worker qualifies for short- or long-term disability.

In order to change to a physician of the employee’s choice, a worker who is not covered by a certified workplace medical plan may need to appeal to the Oklahoma workers’ Compensation Court of Existing Claims.

With the help of an attorney who is well versed in the specifics of workers’ compensation law, an injured worker may have a better chance of obtaining the benefits that he or she deserves.

Source: Oklahoma Workers Compensation Court of Existing Claims, “Employee’s FAQ,” Nov. 5, 2014

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