Can Arkansas Truckers Claim Workers’ Compensation After an Accident?
As a truck driver, you may be entitled to a worker’s compensation claim after an accident, but it is important that you stay informed about your rights and know the steps that are necessary to make your claim. Workers’ compensation laws protect workers who have been injured on the job and their families. In Arkansas, the workers’ compensation program is administered by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC). Fortunately, most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Further, Arkansas law provides that employers in categories not specifically exempted must provide insurance coverage for employee costs incurred as a result of job-related accidents and disease. Specifically, Arkansas employers with three or more employees are required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Although most employers fall under this law, there are some exceptions for religious and charitable organizations as well as certain agricultural-related jobs.
As a truck driver there are many inherent risks that go along with the job each day, such as injuries from loading and unloading heavy deliveries, sleep deprivation, injuries associated with sitting for long periods of time. But the biggest danger on the road remains to be vehicular accidents. As an employee, you can be protected from the injuries and costs that arise from these accidents.
How Can I Benefit from Making a Worker’s Compensation Claim?
Filing and benefiting from a worker’s compensation claim can be accomplished at no cost to you. In Arkansas, the insurance is purchased by the employer. As the employee, workers’ compensation should never be paid for by you nor should it be deducted from your pay. Accidents often involve many expenses, often ones directly relating to injuries that a driver incurs. Arkansas Code mandates that an employer shall promptly provide an injured employee all medical treatment that is reasonably necessary to treat the injury received on the job.
Covered medical expenses include: hospital stays, prescription medications, medical devises, therapy, doctor visits, and surgical procedures. You may also be entitled to the travel expenses and mileage associated with your medical treatment. In addition to compensation for medical expenses, you may be compensated for lost wages and disability through worker’s compensation. Arkansas workers’ compensation law can provide for temporary total disability benefits while you are healing from a work related injury and the lost wages that you have incurred as a result of that injury. However, for short-term disability, benefits for lost wages may not be available. In extreme cases where you become permanently and totally disabled, you may be entitled to benefits for life.
What if I Caused the Accident?
A concern that you may have before making a workers’ compensation claim relating to a vehicular accident is fault. Namely, what happens if I’m at-fault for the accident? The beauty of Arkansas’ workers’ compensation law is its no-fault system. Even if you fear that you were partially or entirely at fault in an accident, you may still be eligible to receive full compensation for your injuries under workers’ compensation law.
What if an Accident Occurs in Another State?
As a truck driver, you are often crossing state lines when making your deliveries, maintaining the same risks of the road when you are in another state. Generally, the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission has jurisdiction over workers’ compensation claims that occur out of state and will provide you with the same protection that you would have received had the accident occurred in Arkansas. However this is not always the case, so it is best to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that you receive the benefits and protections that you deserve no matter where an accident takes place.
How Do I Make My Claim After an Accident?
In order to receive benefits, an employer must know about your injury. As workers’ compensation law attempts to provide you with the benefits that you are entitled to promptly, it is important that you report any injury that you incur on the job right away. First, you should be sure to comply with the accident reporting procedures that your employer has in place. Second, you should give your employer written notice of the time and place of the accident and nature of the injury that you sustained along with any other information that you believe necessary.
Following your report, your employer may send you to a doctor for care. It is important to understand that, under Arkansas workers’ compensation law, an employer or its insurance carrier is entitled to choose the doctor that you go to for your work related injury. However, there is a procedure for a one-time change in physician. Accordingly, it is important that you cooperate with your employer, keeping and appointments and filling out the required paperwork in a timely manner. If you fail to cooperate or miss appointments, your employer or the AWCC may attempt to use this behavior as a grounds to deny you medical or wage benefits.
Contact an Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Should you suffer injures as a result of a workplace accident, be sure to consult an experienced workers compensation attorney who will fight for you. Ken Kieklak is an experienced Arkansas workers’ comp attorney who has practiced for more than 20 years. He can fight to get the benefits that you deserve. For more information about your rights under Arkansas state law, call 479-439-1843 today.