Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
Maybe you were lifting something at work one day and you began to feel a pain in your stomach or groin. You worked through it because you didn’t think it was that serious. Now you are in intense pain and now you feel pain every time you bend over, cough or lift anything at work. If you find yourself at the doctors office and they tell you that you have a hernia and will need surgery or will not be able to go to work what are your options other than to have the surgery or stay under the doctors care?
When faced with a work injury, many Arkansans don’t know where to turn. The fact is that the state has a mandatory workers’ compensation program that requires most employers to obtain coverage or to become self-insured. While most applications proceed smoothly, a mistake or incorrect perception can result in a denial. Understanding the program basics can help you prepare for life after a serious injury.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Hernias?
The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation code contains may provisions relating to specific conditions and hernias are no exception. Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-523 contains a section that pertains to hernias. Under the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Code a worker can receive Workers’ Compensation for hernias.
However, before you can recover for a hernia you will need to show that the hernia occurred immediately following and as a result of sudden effort, severe strain, or the application of force directly to the abdominal wall. You will also need to demonstrate that you had or have severe pain in the hernia region that has caused you to immediately cease working. You will also need to show that you have the employer notice of your injury within 48 hours of your injury and that you sought medical treatment within 72 hours.
Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Arkansas workers’ compensation laws detail the kinds of benefits that workers who are injured or become ill due to occupational hazards may receive, and the procedures that must be followed to obtain these benefits in Arkansas. Employers must promptly provide medical services, which are reasonably necessary for treatment of compensable injuries. However, injured employees have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that medical treatment is reasonably necessary for treatment of the compensable injury. In assessing whether a given medical procedure is reasonably necessary for treatment of the compensable injury, we analyze both the proposed procedure and the condition it is sought to remedy. Also, the employers generally are only responsible for medical services, which are causally related to the compensable injury. If you qualify for workers compensation benefits you may be entitled to one or more of the following:
- Treatment for Your Injury: You will be able to be reimbursed or have your employer’s insurance pay for the treatment you need for your injury. This may include hospital bills, doctor appointments, and any other medical treatment required.
- Mileage and Wage Reimbursement: Not everyone is lucky enough to live close to a doctor; this can be especially true when you need surgery or some specialized care. If you incur additional expenses for traveling you may be able to recover for the mileage costs of traveling to and from a physician’s office.
Replacement Income: Replacement income benefits can fall into one of four categories:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): Weekly, the employee will be paid 2/3 of his average weekly wage prior to his injury while he recovers from his injury or illness and cannot work in any capacity.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): If the worker can still do some work, but cannot perform all of his employment duties, he will receive 2/3 of the difference between his current wage and the average weekly wage he earned prior to his injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): PPD applies when the employee’s injury will permanently affect him and will result in the loss of some body part or function. Compensation may continue for 450 weeks but depends on the injury.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): PTD may be paid when it’s unclear whether you will ever be able to seek employment again because of the seriousness of your injury. Payment will be made weekly at 2/3 of your weekly wage prior to your injury or the onset of your illness.
What is the Procedure for Filing a Claim?
If you have a hernia and hope to recover workers’ compensation benefits it is important that you follow the procedures that are set forth under Arkansas law. Generally, you should follow start with filing a report of your injury.
Under Ark. Code. Ann § 11-9-529 an employee who has been injured on the job need to fill out a report detailing the injury with the Arkansas Compensation Commission within 10 days of receiving notice or knowledge of the injury. However, under Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-523 you must report your hernia to your employer within 48 hours after you notice the symptoms and must seek medical attention within 72 hours.
How Long Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits For?
Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer for how long you specifically will receive workers’ compensation benefits because how long you receive benefits it dependent upon your healing and medical opinions. However, as a general rule, you will continue to receive benefits so long as you are still hearing and you are either partially or totally disabled. Benefits typically end when the physician determines that maximum medical improvement has been achieved. However, you may still be entitled to benefits for medication to maintain your condition or for medical devices to improve your ability to function.
Contact an Experienced Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation Attorney If Your Claim Was Denied
If your disability claim has been denied, if you are seeking a change of doctors or if you have other problems with your claim a Fayetteville workers comp lawyer may be able to help. For more than 20 years we have fought on behalf of injured hard-working Arkansans. To schedule a free and confidential workers’ compensation consultation call (479) 251-7767 today or contact us online.
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