Working in any of the industries in Oklahoma City can be hazardous, regardless of whether you work in an office, a construction site or as a driver of a commercial vehicle. Do you find comfort in the knowledge that you are covered by your employer's workers' compensation insurance? Will you be able to navigate a workers' compensation benefits claim if a workplace accident caused debilitating injuries?
Your injury may be severe and prevent you from returning to work for an extended period. You might spend months in the hospital and then have to go for rehabilitation. How will you cope if your injury prevents you from returning to your regular job, and you need vocational rehabilitation to learn a new skill? The effect that such circumstance can have on your financial stability and your ability to provide for your family may cause anxiety and despair.
Help is available
The workers' compensation system comprises a set of complicated laws that involves both state and federal laws. Different benefits apply to different industries, and understanding the unique nature your claim and your rights could be challenging. For this reason, it may be wise to seek the support and guidance of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.
Workers' compensation is a no-fault system by which an understanding exists between employers and employees. Injured workers may claim benefits regardless of who was at fault, but you may not file a legal claim against your employer. However, if your injury resulted from your employer's gross negligence, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim in a civil court. Your lawyer can assess the circumstances that led to your injury to determine the viability of a civil lawsuit.
What are third-party claims?
Your attorney may determine that an independent third party caused your injury, in which case you may file a civil lawsuit along with your workers' compensation benefits claim. An example of such a claim is if a delivery driver from another company runs you down at your place of work, or if a manufacturer's defect in a power tool caused your injury. Your lawyer can explain how any financial award by the court and workers' compensation will be subject to repayment to the insurance provider.
Which benefits can you expect?
The insurance provider's loyalties might lie with your employer, and your attorney can make sure you get the benefits you deserve. Some of the following benefits will depend on the type and severity of your injury:
- Medical benefits: Paid to all injured workers
- Disability benefits: Wage replacement for temporary disability due to hospitalization or recuperation
- Permanent disability settlement: Paid to victims of traumatic injuries that prevent any future gainful employment
- Vocational training: Provided if you are unable to return to the same job due to an injury such as an amputation, but vocational training can teach you a new skill
Navigating the workers' compensation claims process can be challenging and confusing. There are time limits and multiple administrative and legal procedures with which an experienced workers' compensation attorney will be familiar. Furthermore, he or she can also handle any civil lawsuits that may ensue -- affording you the time to recover and get back to work.