When you’re hurt at work, medical bills can pile up quickly. Some injuries require time off of work, and your income can take a hit. Injuries can put a huge amount of pressure on families, especially when their income disappears.
“They’re physically hurt and they have no money coming in,” said Gary G. Prochaska, the workers’ compensation attorney at Laird Hammons Laird. “It’s tough.”
When the financial pressure starts to mount, one common question surfaces: how much can I recoup for my workplace injury?
The compensation for a workplace injury depends on several factors, including what part of your body was hurt and where you live. Oklahoma has some of the toughest laws in the country when it comes to workers’ compensation, so it’s even more critical to have a strong legal team on your side.
Body parts affect injury compensation
In Oklahoma, state law sets specific limits on how much workers can recoup from their injuries. For example, if an employee loses a limb or an eye at work, the maximum payout in Oklahoma is $88,825, according to a recent investigation by ProPublica. A hand or a foot is capped at $71,060. These statistics are for permanent partial disability, just one of many workers’ compensation categories.
State law even limits the amount workers can be paid if they lose fingers. The maximum benefits awarded for a thumb in Oklahoma is $21,318, and a pinkie finger is capped at $5,491.
Oklahoma workers’ comp limits compensation
Workers in Oklahoma are especially unlucky. Getting hurt here hurts worse than nearly any other state.
Benefits have been declining in recent years. Since 2014, workers’ compensation checks have been cut 30 percent. The compensation now is capped at $589.33 a week for up to 350 weeks. The previous max was $801 a week.
“We just treat our workers absolutely horribly,” Prochaska said.
For example, the compensation for a lost or disabled hand is $71,600 — lower than every single neighboring state. Colorado requires payouts nearly 2½ times as much for the exact same injury.
“Oklahoma wants to be about big business, so it’s, ‘Why do we want to spend money on injured workers? Just get rid of them.’ Your big oil and gas companies, your big insurance companies — they don’t want to spend money on workers’ comp,” Prochaska said. “… The Legislature passes the laws for those who get them elected. Who gets them elected? Big business.”
If you need an attorney who will help you take on insurance and big business, contact Laird Hammons Laird today.