With only a few exceptions, employees who are hired and subsequently injured while on the job in Oklahoma are covered by the state's workers' compensation laws. Under these laws, employers are protected from certain liability lawsuits, and workers have the right to receive benefits for compensable injuries and related disabilities in turn. However, workers' compensation laws are complex, and injured employees may want to better understand what they must do following a workplace accident or diagnosis of an occupational disease in order to keep their rights intact.
Reporting a job-related injury or disease is a time-sensitive matter. If an employee has been injured in an isolated event, the worker must either report it to the employer or obtain medical treatment within 30 days. In the event that the employee has suffered injuries or the effects of an occupational disease that were caused by exposure to repeated workplace trauma, the employer must be so notified within a 90-day period of that worker's separation from employment.
The laws also govern the area of medical treatment. The employer has the right to choose the treating physician as long as the necessary and reasonable medical services are promptly provided by that employer. If the employer neglects to provide medical treatment in the event of an emergency or fails to provide treatment within seven days after an injury has been reported, the worker can secure the appropriate medical treatment from the physician of that worker's choice at the employer's expense.
In Oklahoma, failure to report workplace injuries or other serious job-related health issues in a timely manner could lead to the loss of benefits, but injured or ill workers may find it difficult to deal with this requirement at a time when focus on their recovery and rehabilitation is paramount. An attorney who understands the complexities of workers' compensation laws may be able to help eligible employees receive full and fair compensation for their losses and see that their rights are protected throughout the process.