A Tulsa resident who gets hurt or sickened at work may wonder how she is going to make ends meet while she is recovering.
After all, paid time off might not last more than a couple of weeks. While laws are in place to protect a person’s job while they are off due to an illness or injury, these laws don’t require employers to pay for the time off.
Fortunately, those who cannot return to duty because of a work-related injury may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for lost wages. The type of benefit will depend on a person’s situation.
Temporary total disability
For example, if a worker suffers an injury and has to be off work for more than 7 days, he will be entitled to receive temporary total disability benefits. He can receive up to 70% of his gross wage, subject to a legal cap imposed by Oklahoma law, for up to 3 years. The benefits may terminate if the worker finds another job.
For a worker who suffers an injury or illness that both is work-related and, practically speaking, prevents her from ever finding another job, permanent total disability benefits are available. These basically extend temporary benefits to a maximum of 15 years or until a person reaches retirement age.
Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system also offers a permanent partial impairment benefit. A worker can receive this benefit if he suffers a permanent work-related injury but could find another position in the workforce.
Figuring out the amount of one’s benefit can be complicated; however, the maximum amounts are considerably lower than those offered through permanent total disability.
Oftentimes, the biggest issue in a workers’ compensation case is making sure a victim gets all the benefits he or she deserves.