Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Laws: When Can You Sue?

If you suffer an injury at work, the consequences can be devastating. Besides the costs of medical treatment, you may be temporarily out of work; in the worst case scenario, you may be permanently unable to work in your chosen profession. Fortunately, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation program allows you to obtain benefits through a type of insurance coverage that employers are required to carry. Still, when you file a qualifying claim under the program, you are generally barred from filing a personal injury lawsuit – and you cannot recover from your pain and suffering.

There are exceptions to this general rule, which would allow you to sue the responsible party to recover from your injuries. Talk to an Oklahoma workers’ comp lawyer if any of these situations sound familiar.

  • Your Employer Doesn’t Carry Workers’ Comp Insurance: Injured workers can file a civil lawsuit against employers who have not purchased insurance coverage as required by workers’ comp laws. Note that the concept of negligence applies, so you prove that your employer was at fault.
  • There was Intentional Conduct Involved with Your Injuries: In Oklahoma, an employee can recover damages if the employer intentionally engaged in misconduct that directly caused harm. An example may be where your employer or a manager is physically violent and the act injures you. In addition, certain violations of federal safety standards, such as OSHA regulations, may allow you to sue directly.
  • A Third Party Caused Your Injuries: Where your injury at work is not caused by your employer, but by a third-party, you can sue that individual for the losses you suffer due to your injuries.
  • Your Injuries are Related to a Defective Product: In some environments, there are machines, devices, equipment, or substances that are manufactured by another company – for use in your workplace. If your injuries are caused by a defect in these products, you may be able to sue under products liability principles.

Consult with an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

While workers’ compensation laws are intended to protect employees injured on the job, there are limits to the benefits you can recover. In some cases, you may file a personal injury lawsuit, but you’ll need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process. To hear more about your options, please contact the Law Offices of Robert R. Robles at (405) 232-7980. You can also visit our website to schedule a case assessment at our Oklahoma City location.