States process all workers’ compensation claims in the U.S. according to local laws, unless you’re a federal employee. We’ll explain which employees with workplace injuries or occupational illnesses may qualify for these benefits. Then, follow the steps we’ve outlined below to file your Oklahoma workers’ compensation claim for benefits.
How to Know If You Have Workers’ Comp Coverage
Most employers in this state must provide Oklahoma workers’ compensation coverage for all part-time and full-time workers. This type of insurance protects both parties if an on-the-job injury or occupational illness occurs. The one exception is small, family-run businesses with five or fewer total employees. Other workers automatically exempt from this coverage under current state law include:
- Federal employees (i.e., railroad workers, postal carriers)
- Agricultural employees working for employers whose payroll for the previous year was less than $100,000
- Licensed real estate brokers or salespeople working on a commission-only basis
- Some medical care or social services providers working for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
- Independent contractors
- Sole proprietors
- Workers with self-inflicted injuries or who test positive for drugs or alcohol after a workplace accident
Steps to Apply for Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Benefits
After your workplace injury or illness, follow these steps to apply for workers’ comp benefits:
- Notify your supervisor immediately and ask which doctor can treat you. You cannot choose your doctor unless you need emergency medical care. If your employer fails to provide medical treatment within five days, you may then choose your own doctor.
- You must notify your employer and seek medical care within 30 days to qualify for any benefits. Have a repetitive stress injury (such as carpal tunnel) or occupational illness, like mesothelioma? You must notify your employer within 90 days of leaving your job.
- Fill out Form 3 to start your claim for a workplace injury, or Form 3B for an occupational illness. Submit the relevant form to the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission as soon as possible. You have two years to apply for benefits before the statute of limitations expires.
- Then, contact your employer’s insurer to see if they voluntarily offer you benefits. Some insurers require a letter from your doctor before approving your claim. This letter should explain if you cannot work and what medical treatment you need.
- If approved, you must miss three days of work before qualifying for lost-wage benefits. These payments equal 70% of your work wages and begin 15 days after your accident. The first three days are always unpaid. If you don’t need time off to recover, workers’ comp only pays your medical bills.
- If denied benefits, file Request For Hearing Form 9 with the Court to appeal. To resolve your dispute through mediation, call the state’s Counselor Program at (918) 581-2393.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
State law says your employer can deny you Oklahoma workers’ compensation for preexisting conditions. Your supervisor can also demand a workers comp drug test and deny you benefits if you refuse or test positive. Not having the option to choose your own doctor could also hurt your chances for approval. A workers’ compensation attorney knows how to get your claim approved quickly for the largest possible amount. Attorneys can also help gather medical evidence, negotiate with your employer’s insurer, and handle your appeal, if needed.
Why not sign up for a free, no-obligation phone call with a workers’ comp attorney near you? This phone call costs you nothing. It’s a fast, easy way to get confidential legal advice by phone. Click below to sign up for this call and get your claim questions answered today.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.