Can I Get Workers’ Compensation if I was Assaulted at Work?

You do not expect when you are at work to be in danger of customers or even other employees attacking and injuring you.  If this has happened to you or someone you know you probably have many questions. You may want to know is the employer liable for the injuries, are you able to receive workers compensation?  

While certain questions, like the extent of your recovery, can only be answered through the passage of time, others can be addressed and answered by understanding the basics of Arkansas’ Workers’ Compensation system. Understanding Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas can answer questions like, “Who will pay for my medical bills?” or “How can I support my family when I cannot work?”

Working with an experienced Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer can help you answer questions like these. When you work with the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak you can rest assured that Ken Kieklak is dedicated to fighting for you. To schedule your confidential legal consultation with an experienced Arkansas disability lawyer, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438 today.

I was Assaulted at Work; Can I receive Workers’ Compensation?

Not every person you work with or customer you meet will be friendly. Sometimes working together can be stressful and cause people to lash out. However, if a co-worker or customer attacks you at work and you are now injured you may be wondering if you can receive workers compensation for your injuries.

A compensable injury does not include injury to any active participant in assaults or combats, which are the result of non-employment related hostility or animus of one, both or all to the combatants. Ark. Code Ann. §11-9-102 (4)(B)(i). There is a three-part test under the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Code  §11-9-102(4)(B)(ii) that determines if a claim for workers compensation based on assault will be barred. A claim is not compensable if it is shown:

  1. That the injured employee was an active participant in the assault
  2. That the assault is the result of non-employment- related hostility
  3. That the assault amounts to a deviation from customary duties.

However, the Workers’ Compensation Commission has excluded innocent victims and victims of horseplay. Arkansas statutes and cases do not define horseplay, but the courts have found that the term horseplay is synonymous with the terms “skylarking,” or “rough or boisterous play.

How Do I Prove that I Suffered a Compensable Injury?

Before you are entitled to receive any Workers’ Compensation benefits you need to prove that you have suffered a compensable injury. Furthermore, you will need to prove that a specific event caused the injury. You will also have the burden of proving that the injury occurred at a specific time and place. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Code requires that a person who is seeking compensation prove by a preponderance of the evidence that an injury arising out of and in the course of employment caused internal or external harm to the body. Additionally, this injury must require medical services or resulted in disability or death.  An accidental injury also includes injury or damage to prosthetic appliances, including eyeglasses, hearing aids, and contact lenses.

 Do I Have to Report My Injury?

If you have been injured as the result of an assault in the workplace, or for any other injury or illness that is related to work the first thing you should do, after hiring an experienced workplace injury attorney, is to file a report of your injury. As per, Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-529 Employers must file a report of injury (Form 1) with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission within 10 days of receiving notice or knowledge of the injury.  Before you file your complaint you should take a few moments to gather all of the necessary information. The report filed with the Commission must include:

  1. Name, address, business of the employer;
  2. Name, address, occupation of employee;
  3. Cause and nature of the injury; and
  4. Date, time and location of the injury.

It is important that you file this report, and you do so in as expeditious and as accurately as possible. If you fail to file a report relating to a work injury you could possibly face a fine of up to $500.

What Types of Benefits Can I Get from Workers’ Compensation?

Arkansas Workers’ Compensation programs are very similar to other programs across the nation. Generally, Workers’ Compensation programs, including the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation program, typically provide benefits for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages. Compensation for medical services may include:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Hospital bills
  • Surgery
  • Prescription medications
  • Many other approved medical expenses.

Additionally, many other rehabilitative expenses can fall under the benefits you can recover under the current program. These expenses may include reconstructive surgery, medical devices like a medical brace, physical therapy, and many other forms of rehabilitation. However for both medical expenses and rehabilitative expenses, you should always seek approval from your employer or its insurance company. Failure to do so may result in your expenses being not covered or delay your compensation.

In terms of lost wages, an injured worker does not become eligible for compensation until the 8th calendar day after the date of your injury. While payments for the first 7 days can be made, they are only made if the duration of the disability is for more than 14 days. While these requirements must be met, the 14 days do not have to fall continuously on the calendar.

Contact an Experienced Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

For nearly 20 years, the Kieklak Law firm has provided respected and trusted legal advice to people throughout the state of Arkansas. Whether you are seeking Social Security representation, a personal injury litigator, or help with a wrongful death claim, the lawyers of the Kieklak Law firm are eager to get to know you and understand your situation. For your free and confidential legal consultation call us at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.