Nearly 50,000 Oklahomans are hurt at work each year.
Workers’ compensation is a politically charged subject in Oklahoma, and because of that, rumors and misinformation often make it difficult to understand what’s true and what’s not. Navigating the Oklahoma workers’ comp process is also lengthy and difficult.
Gary G. Prochaska has spent his legal career fighting for injured workers. He clears up some misinformation by explaining how workers’ compensation finances work.
Q: How much are benefits for temporary total disability?
Injured workers can receive up to 70 percent of their weekly income for up to 104 weeks, which is two years. In Oklahoma, the maximum temporary total disability payout is $596.03 a week, for date of accident from November 1, 2016 or thereafter.
Q: How much are benefits for permanent partial disability?
The amount you are paid for partial impairment depends on your injury or disease. You can receive 70 percent of your income up to $323 per week.
Q: How much do I receive if I lost a limb or other body part?
Each state sets its own limits for benefits for the loss or permanent disability of a body part, and the amount varies depending on the body part. For example, in Oklahoma, the maximum benefits for a lost hand are $323 a week for 220 weeks — a total of $71,060. That’s not much for a lifetime without a hand.
Q: How much does my family get if I die from a work injury?
Death benefits depend on if you are married and if you have children. Spouses receive a lump sum of $100,000, and children receive $25,000 per child (max. total of $50,000). Your family will also receive up to $10,000 for funeral expenses. Also, your surviving spouse and children will receive weekly benefits. Your spouse will receive up to $596.03 a week. Each child can receive up to $127.72 per week until age 18; benefits can continue until age 23 if the child is a full-time student.
Q: What are the fees for workers’ comp attorneys?
The fee for workers’ compensation attorneys in Oklahoma is 20 percent of the amount awarded for permanent disability and 10 percent for temporary disability. That amount is set by state law. Politicians and insurance companies who work to chip away at workers’ rights claim that workers’ comp attorneys are the ones who walk away with all the money. That’s simply not true. With a rate of 20 percent, workers’ comp attorney fees are lower than most other cases.
If you’ve been hurt at work, report your injury, get medical treatment and seek out a lawyer if you need one. Contact the experts at Laird Hammons Laird if you need a law firm that will fight for you.