Aviation / Aerospace

Workers’ Compensation for Injured Aviation and Aerospace Employees in Oklahoma City

Benefits for victims of worksite injuries in Oklahoma

Lockheed Martin. Pratt & Whitney. Boeing. Tinker AF Base. Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center. The biggest names in aerospace and aviation technology call the greater Oklahoma City region home, and with good reason. After all, the first solo flight around the world was completed by an Okie. Whether you work for Will Rogers or the Tulsa Maintenance Base, GE or AAR – or any of the 230+ aerospace firms in the area, you’re a part of what makes Oklahoma such a great place to live and work.

Sometimes, though, accidents and negligence happen, and it can lead to debilitating injuries. When you’re hurt on the job, you can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, or file a third-party personal injury lawsuit. Cunningham & Mears is here to help guide you get the compensation you are owed. Our Oklahoma City injury lawyers offer practical and comprehensive guidance, so you can focus on your recovery.

Common injuries covered by workers’ compensation

According to the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the aviation and aerospace industry “directly or indirectly supports more than 67,600 workers and the production of $8.2 billion in goods and services.” That’s a lot of workers. When you have that many moving parts (and moving people), the risk of getting hurt while on the job can be pretty high. The most common injuries sustained by workers are:

  • Repetitive stress injuries. Doing the same thing every day puts extra wear and tear on certain parts of the body. Whether it’s typing and clicking a mouse, or using multi-ton machinery to move and attach parts, repetitive motions can lead to injured tendons, joints and nerves.
  • Bending and lifting injuries. Pick a box up, put a box down. Pick a box up, put a box down. If you aren’t given belts, or taught to lift properly, you can find that your back, shoulders and neck (not to mention your hips and legs) can seize up on you. You can also slip, herniate or rupture discs.
  • Crushing injuries. Working with heavy machinery and transport vehicles increases the risk of a worker being crushed – either by the machinery, by falling objects, or in between two surfaces or objects, like a fork truck and a wall.
  • Toxic exposure. Engineers, machinists, operational physiologists and mechanics work with combustible and dangerous materials all the time. Compounds like phenol formaldehyde and methylene dianiline can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, leading to fibers irritating the lungs, or even cancer.
  • Trips, slips and falls from heights. Big machines require tall ladders. Falls are the number one cause of injuries and death across almost every industry, and aviation and aerospace are no different.

While the people who work on the machinery may face more risks, flight attendants, pilots, office workers and airport workers are also entitled to workers’ compensation if they are hurt on the job. If you are hit on the head by a falling object, struck by a drink cart, slip on a wet floor, or are otherwise injured while in your cubicle or in the air, you can file a claim.

There are, however, some exceptions which may apply if you sustained serious injuries as a result of a plane crash, depending on the type of plane and what the plane was doing at the time. In these cases (which are admittedly rare) you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.

What kind of benefits can I get?

Depending on the type of injury you sustain, or the illness you develop, you could be entitled to three different types of workers’ compensation benefits under Oklahoma law:

  • Medical benefits. These cover the costs associated with your treatment, hospitals stay, medications, etc.
  • Vocational benefits. If you can’t continue to do your current job, or if you need to leave the industry, vocational benefits will help you train for a new position or career.
  • Disability benefits. Typically 2/3 of your salary, these benefits offer you compensation for the wages you lose while you cannot work. They could be temporary or permanent, partial or total; it all depends on your specific case.

A special note for government contractors, civilian employees and servicemen

If you are one of the thousands of people who work on Tinker or at the MMAC, and if you sustain a serious injury, you may have to seek coverage under a different program than Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation. Civilian employees and contractors may need to seek compensation under the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA), or the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Servicemembers may be barred from collecting workers’ compensation as well, and forced to file claims under the FTCA.

Injured at work? Call the law firm you know and trust

Cunningham & Mears offers comprehensive, practical counsel to injury victims throughout Oklahoma. If you we cannot take your workers’ compensation case, we can refer you to someone we know will treat you with care, compassion and dignity. To learn more about Oklahoma workers’ compensation laws and how we can help, contact us or call 405-232-1212 today for a free initial consultation.