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Are all workplace injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2021 | Workplace Injuries

Oklahomans are hard workers, but sometimes incidents happen on-the-job that cause serious injuries. When this happens, Oklahomans may choose to pursue workers’ compensation benefits to help them make ends meet financially while they recover from their injury. However, not every incident that leads to injuries is compensable under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. The following is a brief overview of what injuries workers’ compensation will not cover.

Non-employment activities

If an injury was caused by an act that is not considered an employment activity, generally it will not be covered by workers’ compensation benefits. Injuries sustained during recreational or social activities for the worker’s own pleasure generally are not covered. Injuries suffered during breaks will not be compensable unless the break is authorized by the worker’s supervisor and takes place in the employer’s facility.

Drug and alcohol use

In general, if a worker is injured due to drug or alcohol use, these injuries will not be compensable. If a worker has a positive drug or alcohol test, or refuses to take such a test, then there exists a rebuttable presumption that drug or alcohol use was the cause of the accident. In order to rebut this presumption, it is up to the worker to show by clear and convincing evidence that their injury was not caused by intoxication.

Parking lot injuries

If the employer owns or maintains and has exclusive control over the parking lot, an injury that occurs in the parking lot may be compensable. However, if it is a parking lot adjacent to the workplace that is not under the employer’s exclusive control, and an employee is injured in the parking lot either before or after their shift, this injury typically will not be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.

Pre-existing conditions

If a worker has a pre-existing condition, injuries caused by this condition generally are not covered if the condition has not been significantly and identifiably aggravated within the course and scope of the worker’s employment.

Mental injuries

If a worker suffers a mental injury, these injuries will only be compensable if they were sustained due to a physical injury. This does not apply to those who are the victim of an act of violence.

Learn more about workers’ compensation in Oklahoma

This is only a brief overview of some limitations on workers’ compensation benefits in Oklahoma. This post does not contain legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workers in Oklahoma who have further questions about workers’ compensation can explore our website for further information.


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