Workers’ Compensation for Injured Biotechnology Employees in Oklahoma City

Learn more about the laws protecting scientists and researchers who are injured on the job

Oklahoma is rapidly becoming a hub for biotechnology in the U.S. Here in Oklahoma City, about 51,000 people work in the biotech industry. They handle everything from research to creating and testing compounds, to using nanotechnology to build life-saving tools, to delivering their goods to scientists and medical facilities throughout the world. This part of our economy is only going to grow with time, which means even more workers moving to OKC to save the world.

But biotech is dangerous, and it is possible – despite all the special precautions taken – to sustain life-threatening injuries and illnesses. When you are hurt in the lab, in the warehouse, in a medical facility, or transporting goods from one place to another, you can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Cunningham & Mears is dedicated to helping injured biotech workers in Oklahoma City and around the state, so you can make informed decisions about your best options to move forward.

How big is biotech in Oklahoma City?

According to the Greater Oklahoma City Partnership, University Research Park has 38 science-based companies on its campus. Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) is home to 300+ researchers. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) maintains seven medical schools which employ more than 15,000 people. And these spaces are only growing; GE is breaking ground on the Global Research Oil and Gas Technology Center (the first of its kind).

In short? There’s a lot of science, medicine and technology being created, studied and tested here in OKC.

Common and unique injuries for biotech workers

When a worker is injured in the course of his or her job duties, he or she can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which cover a wide array of injuries such as:

  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Bending and lifting injuries
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Being hit by falling objects
  • Being crushed in between heavy objects and/or machinery
  • Amputations and crushing injuries resulting from heavy machinery
  • Car and truck accidents while on deliveries, or traveling to other work sites on company time

Biotechnology workers face the same risks of injuries that every other worker does, but they also face risks of injuries unique to them. Specifically, biotech workers are at risk of infection of communicable diseases, pathogens and viruses, through needle pricks, defects in packaging, or accidents in compounding facilities. (The New York Times did a deep-dive of the risks for a 2010 piece, which still overwhelmingly applies to day. You can read that piece here.) They are also at a greater risk of toxic exposure, based solely on their close contact to dangerous, even deadly, compounds and products. If those chemicals or compounds are airborne, and entire workforce can fall ill if filters or other safety precautions fail.

Foreign workers and international travel

Every state’s workers’ compensation programs are different, which means that workers throughout the country are entitled to different types of benefits. But what do you do if you were injured abroad, or if you are here in Oklahoma City on a work visa? If you are an H1-B worker, you have the right to collect workers’ compensation if you are hurt in the course of your job duties.

If you are injured while traveling or working abroad for your company, you may need to rely on a foreign voluntary workers’ compensation policy – a separate policy that handles claims arising from employees getting sick or hurt. These policies cover everything from car accidents to pathogen exposure to sickness caused by endemic diseases, which are typically not covered under states’ specific programs. As the Insurance Journal explains, “A foreign voluntary workers compensation policy can — in addition to medical benefits and wage continuation — cover the additional expense of repatriating a sick or injured employee. These repatriation expenses can be very costly. Typical costs of a medical helicopter evacuation, for instance, runs about $60,000. However, depending on the location, costs can become significantly higher.”

If your company has such a policy – and it is safe to assume that biotech firms in Oklahoma City would – then your medical costs should be covered, no matter what they are, so you can feel secure making a claim for medical, disability, and/or vocation benefits.

Helping injured biotech workers throughout Oklahoma

If you are a biotech worker who has been injured or has contracted an illness through the course of your work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. An Oklahoma City injury lawyer from Cunningham & Mears may be able to help you. If you we cannot take your workers’ compensation case, we can refer you to another attorney we trust to take care of you, your family and your future. 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.