Employers are generally required to purchase workers' compensation insurance that provides financial benefits to workers who are injured or become sick while on the job. Workers are covered while at their workplaces or performing their duties at another location, but coverage is not extended to those injured in automobile accidents while commuting to or from their places of employment.
In return for receiving workers' compensation benefits, injured or sick workers give up the right to file personal injury lawsuits against their employers. However, litigation may be initiated when workplace injuries occur because safety rules are not followed by the employer. For this reason, it is important that employers assess the risk of the work environment in order to implement any necessary safety measures.
The workers' compensation program protects employers from litigation, but it does not compensate them for expenses like lost productivity, overtime pay or the costs of recruiting and training replacement workers. Employers may reduce their exposure to these costs by taking a proactive approach to workplace safety and engaging with workers to identify areas of concern. Injuries from repetitive movement or lifting, for example, might be avoided more often if employers provide workers with up-to-date training.
Filing a workers' compensation claim in Oklahoma can be a confusing and frustrating process for injured or sick workers. Attorneys with experience in this area may help claimants by assisting them with the claims paperwork and ensuring that they provide acceptable forms of medical evidence. Attorneys may also be called upon to advocate on behalf of claimants before workers' compensation hearings when their claims are contested by their employers.