As Ella Fitzgerald sang, it’s summertime and the living is easy – or not. School’s out, but if you want to take advantage of that, you’ll need money to fund your good times. Or maybe your school years are long behind you and you’re taking on a second seasonal job to help make ends meet while the weather is nice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.7 young adults took on work last summer nationwide and 5 percent of all workers who hold one job also work a second.
All this income could be lost in the blink of an eye if you get hurt on the job, but under Oklahoma law, almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect you, even if they have only one part-time employee. The insurance pays for your medical care and rehabilitation and it reimburses some of your lost wages. Sound good? It can be, but the devil is in the details.
Not Everyone Is Covered
A handful of employers and situations are exempt from providing mandatory workers’ compensation coverage in Oklahoma, and this can affect some seasonal or part-time workers. If you go to work on a farm, ranch or in any other agricultural or horticultural capacity, your employer doesn’t have to cover you if his total payroll is less than $100,000 a year. Likewise, if you decide to babysit or work as an in-home companion, you may not be covered. Domestic employers aren’t under any obligation to carry workers’ comp insurance if their payrolls are less than $10,000 a year.
If you go to work for your Uncle Joe, he doesn’t have to cover you provided he has five or fewer employees and all the others are related to him, too. How many hours you work each week and how many weeks you work – whether they total a month or a year – don’t affect coverage. It depends on the nature of your job and who you work for.
The System is Complicated
Before you rush to collect for an injury, there are a few things to keep in mind. When you make a workers’ compensation claim, you give up the right to sue your employer over what happened, so you’ve got to be sure you’re making the right choice. Even if you’re covered and decide to pursue a claim, there are things you can do – or not do – that might cost you benefits. You have a relatively short window of time within which to report your injury.
The extent of compensation for lost wages is calculated using the state’s average weekly wage – currently $736 a week – and your own. If you’re permanently disabled, qualifying for workers’ comp and how much compensation you’ll receive becomes trickier. A doctor must decide just how impaired you are and how able you are to take care of your own personal needs.
With all these potential pitfalls, you’ll need guidance. Our firm can assess your accident and give you the answers you need. Call us today at (405) 703-4567 so we can help.