The law of Workers’ Compensation in Oklahoma is a no-fault law. An injury sustained by an employee on the job and during working hours, must be compensated. The law and process, however, is a specialized process. The importance of reporting an injury to your employer immediately cannot be stressed enough. Employers look for reasons to object to a claim and prompt reporting can be in you favor. Equally important is seeking medical attention. Proper medical care which is well documented and made available to your Oklahoma City Workers’’ Compensation attorney will provide an advantage in the process. Contacting an Oklahoma City Workers’’ Compensation attorney is a must. Workers’’ Compensation is not a good time to decide to file a claim without an attorney. The process is complex and time sensitive. It is not to be tackled by a person without the expertise of an Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation attorney.
New Workers’ Compensation Law: In 2013 the Oklahoma legislature created the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission, thus taking Oklahoma Workers’ Comp out of the Court, and adopted a purpose of compliance within the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act. The following is a review of the function performed by the Commission and to set forth the new workers’ compensation into an administrative driven process.
DUTIES OF THE AWCA include but are not limited to applying the law the Commission has set up by adjudication, administration and regulatory functions. The functions include providing fair and timely procedures for the administration of a claim to assist the claimant in receiving his rightful benefits. The AWCA further processes settlements, and ensures that employers maintain proper and required insurance coverage, whether through the AWCA or as self-insured employers. Your Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney has knowledge to work through the maze of all the requirements and filings to assure your Workers’ Compensation claim will be handled in an efficient, effective manner within the parameters set forth by the AWCA.
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURES: Your Oklahoma City Worker’s Compensation Attorney is specialized in the requirements of the practice and procedures of a Workers’ Compensation claim. You are, however, allowed to proceed pro se, as a matter of law. It is probably not, as in any law related cause of action, wise or less costly to proceed without an attorney.
Known as the “Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure”, all proceedings before the Commission are governed by these rules and procedures. Your Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney has the knowledge and will provide you with the expertise to understand and abide by these procedures in order that you are properly and fully compensated according the limits of the law. The rules should not be construed to eliminate the Commission’s ability to or authority to grant an exception for good cause shown to any rule unless otherwise prohibited by law.
Most certainly you have an obligation to report the injury to your Employer, which presumably your Oklahoma City Workers’’ Compensation Attorney has done in a timely manner. Now it is the Employer’s time to report the injury
Your employer, within ten days after the date of receipt of notice or knowledge of death or injury which necessitates losing work time and which demands medical attention during a normal work day, the Employer must file a First Report of Injury. The report must contain information required by statute. Should the employer refuse or neglect to file this report, it is subject to possible sanctions prescribed by Statute.
Further requirements of employer include filing a report of controversion, if it wishes to controvert the claims of the injury. The employer has 15 days to object. The employer further has opportunity to request extensions of time to investigate the injury and to file a report. Once the additional time has been allowed and the implementation of benefits date set, the Claim Administrator , if not controverting, will report a first payment of first report benefits. The commission will mandate implementation of benefits and your Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney will advise you of further proceedings affecting your temporary benefits, including the filing of a permanent disability rating report or a request for a hearing. Termination of temporary benefits may be by Order of the Commission.
INFORMAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCESSES: These processes are to give the parties an opportunity to compromise in order to resolve any differences rather than go through the stress of trial. It is voluntary on the part of the parties and you will not lose your right to a hearing before a Judge if you so choose. Your Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney will advise you that all Workers’ Compensation issues may be mediated except disputes related to medical care if a certified workplace medical plan is available or for claims against the Multiple Injury Trust Fund. All mediation is strictly confidential even though a solution may be found. The agreement as written between parties is a non-binding document until it is presented to an Administrative Judge as a resolution to the claim. Your Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney will be with you each step of the mediation. You are assured of your right to a hearing before an Administrative Judge is still an option.
APPEARING BEFORE THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE FOR RESOLUTION: The right to be heard by an Administrative Judge rests in the Assignment of Administrative Law Judge and Notice of hearing to all interested parties. The Administrative Judge will conduct the hearing in a fair, impartial and expeditious manner without a jury. Within 30 days of the hearing, the Administrative Judge will issue a written decision. The Order is filed with the Clerk of the Commission.
Additional procedures may be advised by your Oklahoma City Workers’ Compensation Attorney.