Workers' Compensation

What's Workers' Compensation? 

The mission of the Workers' Compensation Court is to provide fair and timely procedures for the informal and formal resolution of disputes and identification of issues involving work-related injuries. To this end, the Court dedicates itself to carry out this responsibility and to serve the public promptly, courteously and impartially. 

General Information about Workers' Compensation 

  • Workers’ Compensation benefits are provided under the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, O.S. Title 85A, the “AWCA”. The AWCA specifies who is covered, what injuries and diseases are covered, and gives the benefits to be paid to employees with injuries and occupational diseases that are compensable under the AWCA.
  • The AWCA requires the employer, through its insurance carrier, to pay for the cost of medical treatment plus a percentage of the employee’s wages if he/she is unable to return to work due to doctor’s orders. It is OSAG’s procedure to call all injured employees to review and discuss their injury, and explain the benefits they are entitled to under the AWCA.
  • An injured employee must be given medical treatment within 5 days of notice of injury to the employer. If given within 5 days, the employer can pick which doctor they see. A Notice of Injury must be filed with OSAG when an employee has an on-the-job injury, and receives medical treatment away from the worksite, or misses time apart from that day’s shift. The Notice should be filed preferably within 24 hours. A Notice of Injury will need to be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commission if the injury causes the employee to miss more than 3 days of work. The notice to the Commission is due 10 days after the 3rd day of lost time.
  • The AWCA defines who is a covered employee. Generally, all paid employees are covered (both full time and part time). The employee must be injured during the Course and Scope of their employment. Any unusual circumstances should be reported to OSAG so they can investigate and determine whether the injury was compensable.

Resources

What's not covered by Workers' Comp? 

These injuries are not covered as a “workers’ compensation” injury, even if the accident occurred on the employer premises: 

  • Actively involved in an assault or “fight” at work
  • Volunteers
  • Social activities
  • If the employee tests positive for alcohol or illegal drugs within 24 hours of the injury
  • Non-work related intervening accident
  • Transportation to-and-from work
  • Personal Mission - when an employee is engaged in a personal activity that is not related to their job functions.
  • Personal breaks outside the workplace.
    • If the injury occurs while on break inside the workplace facility, then the injury is covered.
  • Hernia - must meet the following definitions
    • Is the result of a sudden effort, strain or force to the abdominal wall
    • Severe pain in the hernia region
    • Pain caused the employees work to be substantially affected
    • Employer notified within 5 days after the event
    • Physical distress was such that it required treatment by a Doctor
    • If a qualified injury, employee receives 6 weeks of TTD if surgery is performed
    • If surgery declined, employee receives 13 weeks of TTD

Oklahoma Parking Lot Statutes 2016

In LeGarde-Bober vs. Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that injuries occurring in employer controlled and maintained parking lots are considered to be injuries occurring on the premises, and could be considered compensable under the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act.

Each case will be decided by its own merits, as several factors will come into play whether the claim is compensable or not. Factors such as what the employee was doing at the time of injury, were they required to be there, mechanism of injury, etc. will be evaluated.

However, the blanket denial of compensability if the injury occurred in an employer’s parking lot is no longer a legal option.