Question: What is workers’ compensation?
Answer: Workers’ compensation is a state benefit program for injured workers. It was established in the 1920s. It is a compromise plan where employers are relieved of their liability if an employee is hurt due to the negligence of an employer or a co-employee. In exchange, the employee gets limited benefits under a plan that pays 100% of medical bills, a percentage of his or her weekly salary (with a cap), and an award for permanent partial disability/impairment due to any loss of earning capacity and permanency of their injury.
Question: What if I get hurt on the job and can no longer pursue active employment?
Answer: If someone is incapable of employment because of an injury, he or she may be entitled to benefits up to Social Security age. If the employee is unable to work due to the current injury and a combination of previous injuries, he or she might be eligible for the Multiple Injury Trust Fund (MITF). The MITF was established to provide benefits for injured people who could not work due to a combination of existing and pre-existing disabilities.
Question: What if my employer treats me differently after I have been hurt on the job? Do I have a remedy?
Answer: Yes. An employer may not discriminate or retaliate against an employee when the employee has filed a claim in good faith under the Workers’ Compensation Act, retained a lawyer for representation, instituted a proceeding, or testified about any workers’ compensation proceeding. Currently, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide such claims, and employees may be awarded back wages up to $100,000.
If you have questions, or if you would like a case evaluation, contact us for a free consultation at 405-232-6490.
Joseph C. Biscone, attorney for injured workers