Basis for Compensation
An injured worker is entitled to reimbursement for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment resulting from an on-the-job injury. In order for an injured worker to be entitled to temporary benefits, he or she must be unable to work for more than three calendar days. Compensation for permanent disability is based upon the impairment resulting from an injury and the benefit amounts provided by law. The method for determining permanent disability under Oklahoma's system is two part - initially a physician provides an evaluation of an individual's percent of impairment and then a determination of the individual's disability is made. Technically, "impairment" is a medical assessment of an individual's health and "disability" is a non-medical assessment of an individual's ability to meet personal, social or occupational needs.
Once the percent of disability has been established, benefits are calculated based upon both the state's average weekly wage (SAWW) and the employee's average weekly wage (AWW). Benefits are referred to in terms of "weeks" or "weeks of compensation" for a particular injury. The law provides benefits equal to 70% of the employee's AWW up to 100% of the SAWW for temporary total, permanent total and death benefits. The current SAWW is $683. It is due to change November 1, 2009 and will change every year at that time. Please refer to Title 85 of the Oklahoma Statutes, Section 22 (Schedule of Compensation) for further information or contact the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court at (405) 522-8600.