When you are injured or get sick in the course of your job, you may be entitled to compensation to help you get well again or to manage any disabilities you suffer. However, you’ll need to take the right steps to make sure that you get the payment you deserve. Workers’ compensation laws exist to protect employees who suffer these injuries in exchange for their forfeiting most of their rights to sue employers for injuries and sickness. Read a comprehensive overview of Oklahoma workers’ compensation laws, and how a personal injury attorney can be helpful in your claim.
Are You Eligible for Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation?
The first step in filing an Oklahoma workers’ compensation claim is to determine if you are eligible. In general, there are three basic things that have to be in place in order for you to be able to file for workers’ compensation:
- Your employer must legally be required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
- You must be an actual employee of a company.
- The illness or injury you suffer must be in the course of, or directly related to, your job.
Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Laws vary from state to state, but most employers are required to carry insurance that kicks in to cover the injuries a worker suffers on the job. This is where workers’ compensation comes from. In general, the amount of coverage an employer carries depends on the size of the organization, the type of work it undertakes and the number of employees that work for them. If you get hurt on the job and your employer claims they’re not required to carry this insurance, you should immediately check with an attorney.
Are You an Employee?
This is a key factor in workers’ comp cases. If you are an independent contractor, consultant, or other outside worker who is not directly employed by the company, you may not be covered. Freelance writers, computer consultants, volunteers and the like are often not covered unless they carry their own workers’ compensation insurance. However, gray areas may exist for companies that misclassify employees as independent contractors. In such a case, or if there is any doubt about your status, you should speak with an attorney.
Your illness or injury has to be directly related to your work. This means if you were doing something in the course of your job or for the benefit of the company, your illness or injury will likely be covered (so long as you meet the prior two requirements). If you’re carrying a heavy load and hurt your back at the office, that’s where workers’ compensation kicks in. If you develop a repetitive motion injury from months of typing, you can get workers’ comp.
There are special rules that attach for specific kinds of workers. These special groups may receive no or limited coverage, depending on the circumstances. They include:
- Agricultural Workers: Most farmers and agricultural workers are exempt from workers’ comp.
- Domestic Work: Nannies, housekeepers, babysitters and the like aren’t covered in most cases.
- Workers on Loan: Temp workers, for example, may not be covered at all, or may be covered by their job shop.
- Seasonal and Casual Workers: If your work is seasonal, sporadic or irregular, you might not be covered.
- Undocumented Workers: While some states allow this, Oklahoma does not permit coverage of undocumented workers.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Many people are shocked to discover when they file a claim that it is denied, fought or otherwise challenged by their employer or an insurance company. When this happens, it’s important to have a knowledgeable ally in your corner to battle for your rights. A workers’ compensation attorney can be the best friend you could ever have in such cases. If you’re ever injured at work, you have little to lose by consulting with an attorney, and it could be the best choice you make.
If you have been hurt on your Oklahoma job, and you need help navigating the waters of a workers’ compensation claim, we are here to help. Read about our workers’ compensation services, and give us a call for a zero obligation, free consultation today!