Almost all employers in Oklahoma are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect their workers if they get hurt on the job and can’t earn their paychecks. But some workers purchase their own disability insurance policies to protect themselves—even if their employers have workers’ compensation insurance.
Although you aren’t required to purchase disability insurance, it can be a good idea to do so, even if you may be covered by workers’ comp for a workplace injury. Here’s why.
Getting Workers’ Compensation Benefits Isn’t Guaranteed
Getting approved for workers’ compensation benefits isn’t easy. The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission is notoriously strict when it reviews applications, and it’s not uncommon for applicants to be denied. Having an experienced Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can significantly improve your chances of getting approved for benefits, but certain facts can make it difficult or impossible to get approved.
For these people, having disability insurance can be vital for being able to pay their bills and stay afloat financially. Disability insurance can kick in after an on-the-job injury that doesn’t qualify for workers’ compensation.
You May Become Disabled Outside of Work
Workers’ compensation is a great program for replacing injured workers’ lost wages, but it only kicks in when their injuries occur on the job. If a worker gets hurt in an auto accident, falls off a ladder at home, or slips on ice on a sidewalk, workers’ compensation won’t pay them a dime.
Disability insurance is designed to cover disabilities caused by anything and everything, whether they occur at work, at home, or even on vacation. Workers’ compensation covers the 40+ hours you’re at work every week, while disability insurance covers the rest of the time.
You May Have Already Been Injured and Want Further Protection
Purchasing a private disability insurance plan can be a smart move if you’ve already been injured and your doctor believes you’re likely to be injured again. Although you may re-aggravate your injury at work and be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there’s no guarantee it will happen when you’re on the job.
Having disability insurance means that you have full-time coverage in the event you tweak or inflame an existing or previous injury. If it happens at work, you get workers’ comp, and if it happens at home or anywhere else, you can tap into your private disability insurance.
You May Not Be Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Some people work for companies that have workers’ compensation insurance, but they don’t have access to it because they aren’t actual employees. This is common for people who work as freelancers or independent contractors.
If you fall into these categories, you won’t be eligible to receive workers’ compensation, even from a participating employer, and having private disability insurance is your only way of recouping income if you become too hurt to work.
Note That Receiving Both Benefits Can Result in Payment Reductions
Having double coverage is important for your peace of mind, but it doesn’t result in a double-dip for your bank account. If you get hurt on the job and are eligible to receive both workers’ compensation and your private disability insurance benefits, one or both insurance carrier has the right to deduct how much money you receive.
We Can Help You Get the Money You’re Owed If You Become Disabled
It’s important to be covered in the event of a disabling injury or illness, whether it happens at work, at home, or anywhere else. But simply being covered isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get the benefits you need. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to pay claimants as little as possible, even when their claims should be valid and approved without hesitation.
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, our Oklahoma workers’ compensation lawyers know what it takes to win, and we put our knowledge and resources to work for injured workers like you every day. Contact us for a free consultation and find out how we can help you get maximum benefits for your disabling injury or illness.