OVERVIEW OF OKLAHOMA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

 

 

WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?

 

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program that provides compensation for disability, and medical and rehabilitation benefits, for employees injured on the job. In the case of accidental death of an employee, it includes benefits to the employee’s dependents. Under workers’ compensation, both workers and employers are protected. Each covered worker has a right to benefits for a compensation injury. In return, employers are protected from liability lawsuits outside the workers’ compensation system.

 

DEFINITIONS

 

“Compensable injury" means any injury or occupational illness, causing internal or external harm to the body, which arises out of and in the course of employment if such employment was the major cause of the specific injury or illness. An injury, other than cumulative trauma, is compensable only if it is caused by a specific incident and is identifiable by time, place and occurrence unless it is otherwise defined as compensable in this act. A compensable injury must be established by objective medical evidence. The employee has the burden of proof to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that such unexpected or unforeseen injury was in fact caused by the employment. There is no presumption from the mere occurrence of such unexpected or unforeseen injury that the injury was in fact caused by the employment.

 

"Compensable injury" means a cardiovascular, coronary, pulmonary, respiratory, or cerebrovascular accident or myocardial infarction causing injury, illness, or death, only if, in relation to other factors contributing to the physical harm, a work-related activity is the major cause of the physical harm. Such injury shall not be deemed to be a compensable injury unless it is shown that the exertion of the work necessary to precipitate the disability or death was extraordinary and unusual in comparison to the usual work of the employee, or alternately, that some unusual incident occurred which is found to have been the major cause of the physical harm.

 

"Consequential injury" means injury or harm to a part of the body that is a direct result of the injury or medical treatment to the part of the body originally injured in the claim. The Court shall not make a finding of a consequential injury unless it is established by objective medical evidence that medical treatment for such part of the body is required.

 

"Cumulative trauma" means a compensable injury which is repetitive in nature and engaged in over a period of time, the major cause of which results from employment activities, and proved by objective medical evidence.

 

"Light duty" describes the status of an employee when a physician has declared the employee available for work with specific temporary physical restrictions.

 

"Maximum medical improvement" means that no further material improvement would reasonably be expected from medical treatment or the passage of time.

 

"Permanent partial impairment" means any anatomical abnormality or loss of use after maximum medical improvement has been achieved which can be evaluated by a physician. Any examining physician shall only evaluate impairment in accordance with the method prescribed in Section 33 of this act. All evaluations of permanent impairment must be supported by objective medical evidence.


 

 

"Permanent total disability" means incapacity, because of accidental injury or occupational disease, to earn wages in any employment for which the employee may become physically suited and reasonably fitted by education, training or experience, including vocational rehabilitation. Loss of both hands, or both feet, or both legs, or both eyes, or any two thereof, shall constitute permanent total disability.

 

"Temporary partial disability" describes the status of an injured worker who is under active medical care that is expected to improve his or her condition and who is unable to perform some of the normal activities of his or her work or is limited to a portion of his or her normal hours of employment.

 

 

 

 

OKLAHOMA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT
L. Brad Taylor, Presiding Judge
Michael Clingman, Court Administrator
Joyce Sanders, Court Clerk
www.owcc.state.ok.us

Oklahoma City Location

Tulsa Location

1915 N. Stiles Avenue

440 S. Houston, Suite 210

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Tulsa, OK 74127

(405) 522-8600

(918) 581-2714

(800) 522-8210 (In-State Toll Free)

 

 

Useful websites:

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court

http://www.owcc.state.ok.us

 

Oklahoma Insurance Department

http://www.ok.gov/oid

 

Oklahoma Department of Labor

http://www.ok.gov/odol