Art Adams Tulsa Injury Lawyer: Oklahoma Workers Compensation Bill
5:15 PM, Sep 23, 2013
7:33 PM, Dec 17, 2013
This summary is for informational purposes only and is not an exhaustive review or analysis. For legal advice, please contact our office (918) 496-9155.
The passage of this law makes it imperative that any claims for work injuries be filed with the Workers' Compensation court before February 1, 2014 particularly repetitive and/or over a period of time cumulative trauma injuries. The new law in many cases eliminates benefits and in other circumstances results in a dramatic reduction in benefits.
One of the most dramatic changes regards the award of permanent partial disability . 85 OS 45 (C) & 46 defines "permanent disability or loss of use after maximum medical improvement has been reached which prevents the injured employee, who has been released to return to work by the treating physician, from returning to his or her pre-injury or equivalent job."
This definition bars PPD benefits when an injured worker with permanent disability or loss of use returns to the pre-injury or equivalent job after reaching maximum medical improvement and after being released by the treating physician for full or light duty work. In our opinion, this means that for many work injury claims, there will be no award of permanent partial disability regardless of the severity of the injury and subsequent treatment if an employer returns the employee to work. This means that many employees with injury dates after February 1, 2014 will be deprived of a financial settlement for their permanent injury.
In addition, the amount of benefits for permanent partial disability has been reduced from 500 weeks to 350 weeks. The average weekly wage not to exceed 323.00 a week. This is a 30% reduction in benefits. For example, under the present law a 10% award would be worth $16,150.00. Under the new law a 10% whole man injury award would be worth $11,305.00.
As it can be seen, in many instances, the new law will eliminate the right to permanent partial disability benefits. When an employee is terminated or laid off from his/her employment he/she may receive a substantial reduction in permanent partial disability. The bottom line is you should file your claim for any work injury now.