Missing a day of work, especially if it is unpaid, because of injury can adversely affect a worker’s financial situation. Imagine how much a worker will have to endure financially if more than a day or week’s pay is lost. Additionally, there are medical expenses, bills, household costs and other miscellaneous expenses to think about. Fortunately, most companies in Oklahoma provide workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers. However, how does a worker claim benefits in the first place?
The first step is to notify the employer of the injury in writing. Although employers should definitely be aware of the fact that one of their employees has been injured on the job, it is more than a formality. If a worker sustains an occupational disease, was exposed to toxins or experienced a workplace accident that resulted in injury, the worker should inform the employer in writing of the injury within 30 days. Otherwise, the injured worker may lose the right to claim benefits.
How will the employer participate in the process? After receiving the notice of injury, the employer will have 10 days to file an injury report with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. When the Commission receives the report, the Commission will inform the worker with a written notice to help the worker understand the claims process better. The employer, or its insurance carrier, will then inform the worker if it will accept the benefits claim or deny it.
What can an Oklahoma worker do if the claim is denied by the employer? The worker has the right to seek mediation to resolve the matter. A worker also may consult with a legal advocate. Time is of the essence when it comes to this issue, since a worker will have 10 days to make an appeal to the Commission. Also, expenses can accumulate while an injured worker recovers and is left without income.
Source: Ok.gov, “Understanding the Claims Process – A Guide for Injured Workers,” accessed on Oct. 28, 2014
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