Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation payments for your injury. However, the workers’ compensation system can be complex and confusing. One of the most confusing things to workers who are going through the process of filing a claim is that your employer has the right to choose your initial treating physician. This may seem counter-intuitive to those who have a family doctor or have a regular doctor. Many people have asked if they are entitled to use their family doctor, or if they are able to change their treating doctor.
An Arkansas Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help You Receive Benefits
Following an injury, a worker is required to report their injury to their employer as soon as possible. After your employer receives the report of your injury, they are required to complete and file a First Report of Injury or Illness. However, under Arkansas Law, the company or the company’s insurance carrier can direct an injured or ill employee to a particular doctor for initial medical care. This is often troubling to workers who do not feel comfortable going to a doctor they are not familiar with, and who they may feel are only protecting the interests of the company. This can potentially negatively affect your entire workers’ compensation claim, as it is likely if the company doctor wants to send you to a specialist, the insurance carrier will also direct you to a particular doctor who again you may feel is representing the interests of the company.
However, it is your right under the Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Act to request a one-time change of physician. This means that you may file a petition to see a doctor that you would like to see, who may not be the doctor that the company or their insurance company initially directed you to. However, it is important that you file all the proper documentation and abide by all of the procedures, because if you fail to do so your medical care and expenses may not be paid. Sometimes you may find that your employer is willing to agree to a change of physician. However, if they are not willing to agree to a change of physician, then you may apply to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
What Benefits Can I Receive for Workers’ Comp?
If you have been injured on the job you may also be wondering what type of benefits you may be entitled to under the workers’ compensation system. Arkansas Workers’ Compensation law provides for three different kinds of benefits.
Medical Care Benefits: If you have been injured during the course of employment you may be entitled to all reasonably necessary services and medical treatments associated with your injury. This can include doctor’s visits, medication, hospital bills, lab tests. With these type of benefits, your employer will pay the medical provider directly.
Rehabilitation services: Workers who are injured on the job can receive rehabilitation services as part of their workers’ compensation package. This can include physical therapy as well as vocational therapy.
Cash payments: One of the chief concerns injured workers have is that they will not be able to pay their bills while they are recovering from their injury. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Act provides that you may receive temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, and death benefits.
However, the workers’ compensation process can be complex and difficult to navigate, and going to your company’s doctor may not always be the best choice for your medically as well as personally. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Arkansas can increase your likelihood of a successful benefit claim or appeal. If you have additional questions regarding workers’ compensation in Fayetteville or would like to see if our services are a match for you, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law today by calling (479) 251-7767 or go online.
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