Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides financial assistance and medical benefits to employees who are injured while performing a job related duty. In order to obtain workers’ comp benefits, employees must work for eligible employers who are covered by workers’ comp insurance coverage (a majority of employers in Oklahoma – with the exception of independent contractors – are covered by workers’ comp insurance).
Depending on a number of factors, such as the nature of an injury or how severely it impacts a worker’s life, injured employees will be eligible to obtain certain benefits. Typically, these benefits are most commonly given as family death benefits, temporary disability benefits, or permanent disability benefits.
WHAT PERMANENT DISABILITY BENEFITS CAN I OBTAIN?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers who are deemed to have a permanent disability. Permanent disabilities may come in the form of permanent partial impairment (PPI) or permanent total disability (PTD).
Permanent Partial Impairment (PPI) benefits are available to workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness which is permanent, but not a total disability. Workers who are able to perform some type of work will typically be classified as permanently partially impaired and will have their benefits based on the type and extent of their disability. Courts will determine benefits based on a schedule known as a “Benefit Chart,” which includes injuries to the hands, arms, feet, and legs, as well as whole body injuries to the neck, back, head, shoulders, and hips. The percentage of a worker’s disability may also be used to determine benefits, which are awarded at 70% of a worker’s average weekly wages. Injuries occurring on or after August 27, 2010 through August 26, 2015 will not exceed $323 per week or be less than $150 per week.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are available to workers who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses that result in permanent and total disability. This means that their disability prevents them from performing any type of work. Workers with a verifiable PTD can obtain benefits until they reach the age of maximum Social Security retirement benefits or for a period of 15 years, whichever amount of time is longer. As with PPI benefits, PTD benefits are calculated at 70% of a worker’s average weekly wages, with the maximum equal to Oklahoma’s average weekly wage. For example, workers with injuries or illnesses that occur from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2012 will be eligible to obtain a maximum of $735 per week.
As each individual workers’ compensation case is unique, our Oklahoma workers’ comp lawyers personally attend to our clients to ensure that their issue is addressed on an individualized basis. If you or your loved one has suffered a job related injury, allow our legal team to review your case, inform you of your rights, and explain how you may be entitled to compensation. Should you have a valid claim, our attorney can provide you with the step-by step assistance and representation you need to secure the benefits you require. Learn more about your unique case by requesting a case evaluation or contact an Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorney from Atkins & Markoff today.