Severe Burns & Disfigurements

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TULSA OKLA WORKERS’ COMP BURNS & DISFIGUREMENT SETTLEMENTS EMPLOYER LIABILITY FOR WORK-RELATED BURN & DISFIGUREMENT INJURY

A worker can only realize a settlement &/or award for disfigurement in Oklahoma if he or she &/or his or her attorney or lawyers can establish that the underlying injury resulting in the severe burn(s) &/or disfigurement is compensable under Oklahoma law. In this regard–Oklahoma City & Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court rules provide that a “compensable injury” in Oklahoma, including any injury resulting in either severe burns or disfigurement to an injured worker’s body, means any injury or accident, causing internal or external harm to his or her body, which arises out of and in the course of the worker’s employment & only if such employment was the “major cause” of the specific injury &/or any resulting disfigurement or serious burns [which would include any heat/thermal burns as well as any chemical burns caused by sulfuric acid &/or any other caustic substance used about the workplace].

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Law further provides that any injury resulting in severe burns &/or disfigurement is compensable only if it is caused by a specific incident and is identifiable by time, place and occurrence–unless it is in the nature of an occupational disease [such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) or other staph infection]. In this regard one should note that in Oklahoma an occupational disease producing disfigurement is covered by workers comp only when such disease or illness is due to causes and conditions characteristic of or peculiar to the particular trade, occupation, process or employment in which the employee is exposed to such disfigurement producing disease*.

*NOTE: As with any industrial injury, an occupational disease producing burns &/or permanent disfigurement will be covered by the Oklahoma City or Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court only if the worker’s employment was the major cause of the resulting occupational disease and such finding is supported by objective medical evidence.

THE ASH LAW FIRM regularly represents clients with severe burns &/or other disfiguring injury(ies) before both the OKC and Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court. Please contact us to discuss your case.

NOTICE & FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR OKLA BURN & DISFIGUREMENT CASES FILING REQUIREMENTS FOR OKLAHOMA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SEVERE BURN & DISFIGUREMENT CASES:

Oklahoma City and Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court rules mandate that any claim for compensation, cash settlement or other benefits for a severe burn or disfigurement injury case under the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Code can only be commenced with the filing of a notice of injury with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court. This statutory notice form is properly referred to as the EMPLOYEE’S FIRST NOTICE OF ACCIDENTAL INJURY AND CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION, or FORM 3. For an occupational disease resulting in a severe burn or disfigurement (i.e. MRSA), the injured employee &/or his or her attorney or lawyer must timely file with the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court aFORM 3B, properly known as the EMPLOYEE’S FIRST NOTICE OF OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE AND CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION.

NOTICE & REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR PROPERLY COMMENCING AN OKLAHOMA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CASE FOR SEVERE BURNS &/or DISFIGUREMENT.

Oklahoma City & Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court rules provide the following requirements for reporting & filing an Oklahoma severe burn or disfigurement case:

  • Single-event accidents: unless an injured employee or former employee &/or his or her Tulsa workers’ compensation lawyer or Tulsa injury attorney gives oral or written notice to his or her employer or former employer within thirty (30) days of the date a single-eventsevere burn or disfiguring injury occurs (or the hurt employee receives medical attention from a doctor or hospital during the thirty-day period from the date an injury occurred), the rebuttable presumption will be that the injury was not work related.
  • Occupational disease & cumulative trauma cases: for an occupational disease or cumulative trauma burn or disfigurement case, notice must be given to the employer within 2 years of the date the worker was last exposed to the condition causing the burn or disfigurement; provided, there will be a rebuttable presumption that any burn or disfigurement injury from occupational disease or injury caused by cumulative trauma does not arise out of and in the course of employment unless oral or written notice is given by the injured employee &/or his or her attorney or lawyer to the employer within ninety (90) days of the employee’s separation from employment.

TEMPORARY TOTAL DISABILITY FOR BURN & DISFIGUREMENT SETTLEMENTS

In any case wherein an injured worker, suffering a severe burn or other disfigurement, is rendered wholly unable to perform his or her usual and customary work, all as determined by his or her treating doctor–the employee thereby becomes eligible for weekly cash payments for the resulting income or wage loss to be paid during the duration of this total disability. Such benefits, described at workers’ compensation law as temporary total disability (or “TTD”) benefits or settlement, are paid at the amount of seventy percent (70%) of the hurt employee’s average weekly wages up to a statutory maximum amount, currently set at $801. However–total cash payments of compensation for temporary total disability cannot exceed a maximum of one hundred fifty-six (156) weeks in the aggregate (unless extended for good cause shown, all as shown by the hurt employee’s lawyer or attorney, and as determined by a Judge of either the Tulsa or OKC Workers’ Compensation Court.

HOSPITAL & MEDICAL CARE FOR SEVERE BURNS & DISFIGUREMENT CASES

Oklahoma City and Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court rules mandate that an injured employee must be promptly provided such medical, surgical or other attendance or treatment, nurse and hospital service, medicine, crutches, and apparatus as may be necessary after receiving a severe burn or other disfiguring injury related to his or her work. The employer always has the first right and responsibility to choose or select the specific doctor to treat his or her injured employee, known as the “treating doctor” for all practible purposes under the Oklahoma Workers’ Comensation Law. Thereafter–The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court, upon proper and timely application by the injured worker &/or his or her attorney or lawyer, must order one change of the injured worker’s treating doctor.

OKLAHOMA WORKERS’ COMP DISFIGUREMENT AWARDS & SETTLEMENTS

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court rules provide that in any case of an injury &/or severe burn resulting in serious and permanent disfigurement, a workers’ compensation settlement or award will be payable in an amount to be determined by a judge of the Oklahoma City or Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court, as the case may be, but not in an amount in excess of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000) for any injury occurring before November 1, 2005, and not in excess of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) for an injury occurring on or after November 1, 2005; provided, that an award, compensation or a cash settlement for permanent disfigurement cannot be in addition to a permanent partial disability award or settlement but will be taken into consideration in fixing the compensation &/or cash settlement otherwise awarded by the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court.

To be entirely clear–an award or settlement for permanent disfigurement cannot be made for a part of the worker’s body for which an award or cash settlement for permanent partial disability is given. Considering this–any injured worker &/or his or her Tulsa injury attorney or Tulsa workers’ compensation lawyer seeking a settlement or award from the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court for a severe burn or disfiguring injury must unfortunately carefully choose between or whether to seek permanent partial disability or disfigurement on a specific body part where both types of benefits are potentially payable. This decision could potentially be best made depending on the particular judge assigned to the injured worker’s case as the ultimate and final determination of a permanent partial disability settlement or a disfigurement award is the responsibility of a judge of the Tulsa or Oklahoma City Workers Compensation Court.

SEVERE BURNS & DISFIGUREMENTS RESULTING IN LOSS OF BODY PARTS

Where a compensable severe burn or disfiguring injury results in the injured employee losing one or more eyes, teeth, or limbs of the body, the workers’ compensation insurance company must furnish such prosthetic device(s) as may be necessary and as determined reasonable by either the Oklahoma City or Tulsa Workers’ Compensation Court in the treatment and rehabilitation of the injured worker. Additionally–where a worker sustains a compensable injury arising out of and in the course of his or her employment, which results in damage to a prosthetic device with which such worker is equipped, the Workers’ Comp insurance company must repair or replace the prosthetic device.
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