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Workplace injuries: Severity does not cause benefits eligibility

Most Oklahoma workers know that they will be entitled to workers' compensation benefits if they should be injured on the job. However, some may think that the severity of workplace injuries determine eligibility for benefits. This is not true, and any illness or injury that is work-related and suffered while an employee was on duty, sober and not taking part in horse-play is typically compensable.

Workplace injuries include broken bones, repetitive stress injuries and other physical injuries along with emotional or mental injuries like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after suffering or witnessing a catastrophic injury. Although the severity does not define eligibility, it will determine the level of compensation provided.  The financial relief offered will depend on the medical treatment and the impact of the injury on the victim's ability to continue working, or the time spent recovering.

Workers' compensation benefits typically cover medical care costs and wage replacement. In cases in which an injured worker returns to work part-time or with reduced-duty accommodation, income replacement might also be provided to make up for lower wages. Also, benefits might cover vocational rehabilitation and retraining if the injuries caused permanent disabilities. When on-the-job injuries claim the lives of Oklahoma employees, their families are typically able to file claims for workers' compensation survivors' benefits.

Reportedly, a significant percentage of workplace injuries are never reported for fear of harassment or reprisal. However, it is unlawful for employers to punish workers for filing workers' compensation benefits claims. Injured employees who need assistance with the complicated administrative and legal procedures of filing benefits claims are free to seek the support and guidance of an Oklahoma attorney with experience in this field of the law.

Source: FindLaw, "Workers' Comp Benefits: How Injured Do I Have to Be?", Daniel Taylor, Accessed on Jan. 19, 2018

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