Worker’s compensation benefits provide injured workers with the compensation they need to take care of themselves while they are unable to work. Several common types of injuries will allow an injured employee to claim Workers’ Compensation benefits successfully. However, in Arkansas, successfully claiming workers’ comp benefits for a mental injury or illness can be more difficult than other types of injuries. If you or a family member is suffering from mental illness due to a workplace injury, you should consult with an experienced Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer. Ken Kieklak explains whether you can receive Workers’ Compensation for stress and anxiety in Arkansas.
How to Claim Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Mental Injury
In Arkansas, to successfully claim a mental injury or illness for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you must prove that the injury was the result of a work-related physical injury. Employees cannot claim a mental illness for observing another person being seriously or fatally injured while working – they must face a physical injury themselves.
Arkansas also mandates that an employee cannot receive compensation for their mental illness unless they are examined and diagnosed by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. Additionally, if you want to prove that your stress or anxiety qualifies you for Workers’ Compensation benefits, those conditions must meet requirements set in the latest issue of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is used by mental health professionals to diagnose and research mental disorders by applying standardized definitions.
If an employee is able to show that a physical injury triggered their mental illness, they will be able to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. In Arkansas, individuals who receive Workers’ Compensation for a mental injury can only receive 26 weeks of disability benefits.
If an employee passes away because of mental illness within one year of contracting the illness, the dependents of the employee may receive compensation on the employee’s behalf. If you need to know more about filing for Workers’ Compensation when you have a mental injury, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville medical benefits lawyer. Mental injury claims have a high burden of proof, and an experienced lawyer can help you build your case.
What to Do if Your Workers’ Comp Claim Was Denied
If your Workers’ Compensation claim was denied, you may still have options available. You can be denied Workers’ Compensation benefits for a variety of reasons. For example, the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) may not consider your injury viable for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Additionally, your injury may not be deemed to be one that was work-related. Employers also have an interest in detecting workers’ comp claims that they believe are fraudulent. Individuals who are injured in non-work incidents may attempt to pass their injury off as a work-related injury, which leads the vetting process to be quite strict.
If your workers’ comp claim was denied for any reason, you might be able to file an appeal for your case. Workers’ compensation appeals often have complicated procedures that you must adhere to or risk hurting your case. This means that you may have certain deadlines to file your appeal or your claims might be barred.
Therefore, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who is highly familiar with Workers’ Compensation cases in Arkansas. In the event your case is brought before an administrative law judge, a workers’ comp attorney can help you plead your case.
Alternatively, you can also seek to file an injury lawsuit against your employer if you are worried your Workers’ Compensation claim will not be approved. Workers’ compensation is also known as an exclusive remedy. This means that you cannot receive workers’ comp benefits and then sue your employer for your injuries. However, if another employee was the cause of your injuries, it is possible to receive workers’ comp benefits from your employer while filing an injury lawsuit against the coworker.
Whatever you decide to do, it is important to understand that you should not give up hope on receiving compensation for your injuries.
Work with Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys to Claim Your Benefits
If you or a family member is suffering from a mental illness and you wish to file for Workers’ Compensation, you should contact an experienced Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation attorney. With nearly two decades of experience, Ken Kieklak is here to help you file your mental injury claim. Ken will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the legal outcome that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (479) 316-0438, or reach us online.