Certain jobs bring an increased potential for injury. However, you do not have to work in a dangerous job to be at risk for injury. Accidents and workplace violence can occur at any time, leaving you and your family struggling.
Fortunately, workers' compensation insurance covers qualified workers who suffer injuries on the job. The process for claiming these benefits can be complicated, and it is not unusual for injured workers to have to put considerable time and effort into obtaining the financial benefits they need. Additionally, in Oklahoma, the funds available to you through workers' comp may not compare well to those in surrounding states.
Understanding compensation calculations
How much is your arm worth? Your eyes? Your back? The workers' compensation system assigns a percentage value to the parts of your body. A permanent injury to your eyes, for example, may be a greater loss than an injury to your toe. Insurers also weigh your benefits based on whether your injuries will result in temporary or permanent disability and whether that disability is partial or total.
Every state has its own rules and procedures for workers' compensation, but Oklahoma's benefits lag far behind those in surrounding regions. When it comes to partial permanent disability, for example, Oklahoma workers may receive far less compensation than those in nearby states. The difference is startling when comparing the maximum PPD rate for back fusion surgery, which insurers consider 20% of your whole body:
- A Missouri employee may receive up to $496 for as long as 400 weeks, maxing out at $39,680.
- A Colorado employee may receive up to $533 for as long as 400 weeks, maxing out at $42,640.
- An Arkansas employee may receive up to $505 for as long as 450 weeks, maxing out at $45,450.
- A Texas employee may receive up to $639 for as long as 400 weeks, maxing out at $51,120.
Compare these statistics if you should need a work-related back fusion surgery in Oklahoma. Workers' comp allows $323 a week for 350 weeks until you reach the limit of $22,610, less than half of what workers receive in Texas and Arkansas.
Make the most of your benefits
Obviously, you want to get the highest benefits possible when you are injured or disabled on the job. This is seldom easy, and you may be facing months of hassle with the insurance companies to obtain funds that will barely cover your expenses. Because of this, you want to have every possible advantage, and this may include the advocacy of a skilled workers' compensation attorney.