Most Oklahoma employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Oklahoma’s workers’ comp system covers employee medical expenses and lost wages resulting from work-related injuries or illnesses.
The state of Oklahoma imposes stringent workers’ compensation insurance rules on its employers. Every covered worker who suffers a work-related injury or illness is eligible for benefits under Oklahoma’s Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act. However, this law only applies to injuries that happened on or after February 1, 2014.
Oklahoma strives to maintain near-universal workers’ comp coverage. This means that generally, everyone working in Oklahoma must have workers’ comp coverage, except the following:
It depends on the type of business you have established. Here’s how Oklahoma’s business owner coverage requirements work:
Sole proprietors are not considered employees. Therefore, they don’t have to buy workers’ comp insurance for themselves. But they may if they want to. If they hire employees and no other exemption applies, then they must provide workers’ comp to their workers.
Members of limited liability companies (LLCs) who own at least 10% of the LLC’s capital are non-employees and exempt under state workers’ comp law. As with sole proprietors, LLC members can purchase workers’ comp insurance if they believe it’s personally beneficial.
Stockholder-employees of corporations are treated the same way as LLC members.
Independent contractors are not considered employees and are exempt from workers’ comp coverage.
The state of Oklahoma uses a complex, multipart test to determine if a worker is a contractor vs. an employee. Factors the government evaluates include:
Oklahoma business owners can compare quotes and purchase a policy from private insurance companies. (Insureon offers this service with its online insurance marketplace.)
If you’re unable to purchase workers’ comp insurance through the voluntary private market referred to above because your firm’s a high risk, you can purchase coverage from the Oklahoma assigned risk market. CompSource Oklahoma administers this program for the state.
Oklahoma employers who qualify can self-insure their workers’ compensation claims. This means they’ll pay for their own workers’ comp claims rather than submit them to an insurance company.
The estimated workers’ comp expense for Oklahoma employers is $1.45 per $100 in covered payroll, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance [PDF].
Violating Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation statute is a serious concern. Here are the penalties you’ll face if you don’t comply with state law:
If one of your employees dies as a result of a job-related illness or injury, your workers’ comp insurer must pay death benefits to the worker’s survivors.
This involves paying benefits to a surviving spouse and / or surviving dependents of a worker who died because of a compensable work-related injury or occupational disease.
State law determines death benefit payments according to a predefined schedule. Benefits take the form of lump-sum payments, ongoing weekly benefits, and funeral expenses. Survivors of the deceased employees who were not dependent but experienced an economic loss may be eligible for a lump-sum payment.
A workers’ compensation settlement is an agreement between the injured employee, employer, and insurer that cancels a workers’ compensation claim. This benefits both the employee and the employer.
In Oklahoma, many workers’ comp claims end in settlements. This means the parties to the claim – the injured employee, the employer, and the workers’ comp insurer – must agree on a lump-sum payment in return for the employee (or the employee’s survivors) agreeing to forgo future payments.
Workers’ comp settlements in Oklahoma are subject to complex rules, and a workers’ comp judge must approve them.
In Oklahoma, employees must file a workers’ comp claim within two years from one of the following dates:
If you are ready to explore workers’ comp insurance options for your Oklahoma business, start a free online application today to compare quotes from multiple carriers.