Workers’ Compensation for Injured Healthcare Workers in Oklahoma City and Beyond
Learn more about benefits for Oklahoma hospital workers, EMTs, nurses, doctors and more
According to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 60,000 Oklahomans working in the healthcare sector. We are home to 35 different hospitals, including a Level 1 Trauma Center with MediFlight service. We also have countless private offices, urgent car facilities, and home health aide providers in the greater OKC area. With such close access to the biotech industry, plus some of the hardest working people in the country, our healthcare systems are only getting better.
If you have spent your life caring for the sick and injured, you deserve to be cared for when you are hurt or made ill on the job. Cunningham & Mears has fought on behalf of injured workers throughout Oklahoma, and we are proud to offer counsel to those who have ensured our own safety and wellness for so long. Whether you were picked by a needle, sustained an injury trying to lift a patient, or were hurt on a ride in am ambulance, you may be able to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to help you protect yourself and your family.
Which healthcare workers are entitled to workers’ compensation?
The short answer is, anyone who is an employee should be able to make a claim for benefits if they are injured while in the course of their duties. That can include:
- Physicians’ Assistants
- Hospital staff
- Office staff
- Visiting personnel
- Gift shop and cafeteria staff
As long as you are an employee, you should be able to make a claim – even if you only work part-time, or if you are here on a work visa. If your injury was caused by a defective product, or the negligence of a third-party, you may be able to file a personal injury claim as well as file for benefits. If you are a contractor or volunteer, your only likely option is a personal injury claim, because contractors and volunteers aren’t covered under workers’ compensation laws in Oklahoma.
Common injuries and their causes
Medical personnel are surrounded by the best possible care at all times, and yet they are often the most at-risk of injury. A 2013 booklet produced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that hospitals are among the most dangerous worksites there are. Healthcare workers – and most especially nurses – often sustain injuries because of:
- Repetitive motions. The constant bending over, inserting and removing IVs, adjusting patient beds, even typing – all of this repetitive motion can put serious strain on the back, neck, hips, wrists, knees and shoulders.
- Lifting injuries. Nurses and EMTs are at-risk of injuries related to moving patients, like slipped discs. No patient should ever be moved from bed to bed without at least two people to help, yet every day, nurses and EMTs do this work alone, because chronic understaffing (and a chaotic ER) can leave them without help.
- Slips, trips and falls. Melting ice chips, IV fluids, blood – there is a lot of liquid on hospital floors. And there are a lot of people moving delicate instruments and machinery around at any given time. It is very easy to slip, trip or fall while working in a medical facility.
- Violent patients. S. News & World Report has found that “45 percent of all workplace violence incidents occur in the health care setting,” and that nurses face the greatest risks of all. Stress, chemical imbalances, reactions to drugs – any of this can lead to a violent outburst.
- Needle sticks. Per S. News, there are up to 385,000 needle sticks each year, putting medical personnel at risk of developing contagious, even life-threatening diseases.
- Exposure to toxins. Needles are not the only way to come in contact with a toxin. Medical delivery drivers and paramedics are also at risk, especially if contaminated blood enters their bloodstreams via physical contact.
- Vehicle accidents. People should move over for ambulance drivers, but they don’t always do it. Nor do they stop if am ambulance is trying to get through an intersection, slow down to let an ambulance through, or think twice about trying to get behind an ambulance so they can travel at a faster speed. All of this – plus every day driver errors – put paramedics at risk of serious injuries if there is a crash.
Making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Oklahoma
If you are hurt on the job, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. These fall into three categories:
- Disability, which compensates you with part of your weekly wage
- Medical, which covers the cost of your care
- Vocational, which allows you to train for a new position or career
How much you are awarded may depend on the severity of your injury, and how long you will be out of work as a result of it. If you are rendered permanently disabled, you may be able to file for Social Security Disability after your workers’ compensation benefits run out.
Helping Oklahoma healthcare workers recover from their injuries
Healthcare workers keep us safe and secure every day; they deserve to have someone looking out for their best interest, too. At Cunningham & Mears, we offer honest, practical advice to healthcare workers seeking workers’ compensation benefits. If you we cannot take your workers’ compensation case, we promise to refer you to an experienced lawyer whom we trust to help you. 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.