Soft Tissue Statute

85 O.S., ยง22(3)(d), Soft Tissue Injury states the following:

In case of a nonsurgical soft tissue injury, temporary total compensation shall not exceed eight (8) weeks. A claimant who has been recommended by a treating physician for surgery for a soft tissue injury may petition the Court for one extension of temporary total compensation and the court may order such an extension, not to exceed sixteen (16) additional weeks, if the treating physician indicates that such an extension is appropriate or as agreed to by all parties. In the event the surgery is not performed, the benefits for the extension period shall be terminated. For purposes of this section, "soft tissue injury" means damage to one or more of the tissues that surround bones and joints. "Soft tissue injury" includes, but is not limited to: sprains, strains, contusions, tendonitis, and muscle tears. Cumulative trauma is to be considered a soft tissue injury. "Soft tissue injury" does not include any of the following:

(1) Injury to or disease of the spine, spinal disks, spinal nerves or spinal cord, where corrective surgery is performed;

(2) Brain or closed-head injury as evidenced by:

  • a. sensory or motor disturbances,
  • b. communication disturbances,
  • c. complex integrated disturbances of cerebral function,
  • d. episodic neurological disorders, or
  • e. other brain and closed-head injury conditions at least as severe in nature as any condition provided in subdivisions a through d of this division; or

(3) Total knee replacement.

In all cases of soft tissue injury, the employee shall only be entitled to appropriate and necessary medical care and temporary total disability as set out in paragraph 2 of this section, unless there is objective medical evidence of a permanent anatomical abnormality. In determining the existence of such an abnormality, the Court may consider if there is credible medical evidence that the ability of the employee to earn wages at the same level as before the injury has been permanently impaired.

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