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Oklahoma Worker's Compensation Benefits

Important Notice: The following overview of Oklahoma's worker's compensation (workmans comp) benefits is presented on an as-is basis. This information is believed accurate as of the date of authorship, but is not intended to provide a complete analysis of available benefits and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law. For a full review of Oklahoma's worker's compensation law, or for a determination of how the law applies to a specific worker, please consult a worker's compensation attorney licensed to practice in the state of Oklahoma.

Contents

Introduction

Oklahoma's system of worker's compensation (workman's comp) is compulsory, meaning that employers are required to provide worker's compensation insurance for their employees. Worker's compensation insurance may be provided through a competitive state fund, a private insurance carrier, or employers may self-insure. Waivers are not permitted.

Special Employment Situations

An employer with five or fewer employees, all of whom are related by blood or marriage to the employer, is exempt from the state's worker's compensation act. With the exception of agricultural employees who are not engaged in operation of motorized machines, all workers employed in agriculture or horticulture must be covered by worker's compensation if their employer had a gross annual payroll in the prior calendar year of $100,000.00 or more. Any person employed as a domestic worker is covered by the state worker's compensation act, if the employer had a gross annual payroll in the proceeding calendar year of $10,000.00 or more for such workers.

Medical Benefits & Choice of Physician

Full medical benefits are provided to employees entitled to worker's compensation benefits, with no time or monetary limits. The employer selects the physician who will provide care. If the employer does not make a timely designation or neglects to provide medical care, the employee may choose a treating physician.

Disability Benefits Provided

Payments are made for temporary total disability (TTD) in an amount determined by a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to a weekly maximum payment amount. Payments may continue for up to 156 weeks, a period which may be extended to 300 weeks by the worker's compensation court for good cause.

Payments are made for permanent total disability (PTD) based upon a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to a weekly maximum payment amount. Payments for PTD continue for the duration of the disability. Payments for permanent partial disability (PPD) are made based upon a percentage of the worker's wage, subject to a weekly maximum payment amount. Payments for PPD may continue for up to 500 weeks.

Scheduled awards are paid in addition to total temporary disability benefits starting upon termination of the termination of the TTD benefits. If TTD was overpaid, scheduled awards may be reduced because of receipt of TTD benefits.

Benefits may be available for serious and permanent disfigurement.

Physical and vocational rehabilitation benefits are available.

With certain constraints and filing deadlines, occupational hearing losses may be compensable.

Death Benefits Provided

Death benefits are payable to an employee's surviving spouse, or spouse and children, based upon a percentage of the employee's wages, subject to a cap. Where the deceased employee has no dependents or heirs at law, a burial allowance is paid to the decedent's estate.

Limits on Attorney Fees

Attorney fees for claimants are limited by statute to 10% for temporary total disability cases, and 20% for all other cases. In certain cases where the denial of benefits is deemed by the court to have been unreasonable, the attorney fee may be added to the award.