Only receiving TTD payments up to 16 weeks for soft tissue injuries?

by Jennifer
(Bristow, OK)

I slipped and fell at work September 10, 2014, resulting in multiple injuries, including torn ligaments in my knee and ankle, which workers' comp pays for up to 8 weeks. The accident also resulted in 2 disc herniations, lumbar radiculopathy, and sciatica.

I have not received any TTD (Temporary Total Disability) payments since November 9, 2014 even though the doctors say I can't work. Dr. has recommended a lumbar injection which will be done January 20, 2015. My adjuster says after I receive the injection, my payments will pick back up and retro back to the last date paid, not to exceed 16 weeks.

Doctors have reported to my adjuster that I am still unable to return to work. I have been off now for 17 weeks and by the date of my injection it will be about 19 weeks.

Worker's comp is only going to pay me for the 16 weeks, even though doctors have kept me from working. I understood that as long as doctors keep me off work, I should receive my TTD payments. All the time I have to wait on worker's comp to approve MRI's, physical therapy, injections, etc. And the time it takes the doctors to get me in for these appointments adds up.

Please help me understand how they can not pay me for the total time I am off. Can they just stop paying me after 16 weeks? If so, what do I do after that? Thanks so much.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Only receiving TTD payments up to 16 weeks for soft tissue injuries?":

Jennifer (Bristow, OK):

Temporary total disability benefits should be paid until one or more of the following events occurs:

- An injured worker returns to work
- The injured worker’s doctor says the worker is well enough to return to work
- The injured worker has a permanent disability and his or her condition is not expected to improve

When your primary treating doctor says you have reached a level of maximum medical improvement (MMI), your temporary disability payments will cease. If though, you have sustained a permanent impairment, or you are told you have limitations on how you can perform your job duties, you will begin to receive immediate disability payments.

Your temporary disability payments should be approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wage. The maximum duration of TTD benefits in Oklahoma is 156 weeks.

Technically, they should not stop paying you after 16 weeks. If that happens, address it with your workers' comp rep, your HR department, and if you still can't get any answers, the Oklahoma state workers' comp board.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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