Neck injuries are common in the workplace. Unfortunately, many people will experience such an injury at some point in their careers. Neck injuries can be severe enough to prevent you from returning to work and doing the things you used to do. Injured workers may ask themselves if there’s a way they can obtain financial assistance while they recover from their injuries. As you will see through this article, it is possible to receive compensation after a workplace injury. Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, invites you to keep reading as we discuss whether you can get compensation for a neck injury in Arkansas.
Will My Neck Injury Qualify for Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas?
Every year, thousands of Americans suffer a neck injury. For some, this painful injury happens as a consequence of a collision, such as in a car, truck, or bike accident. For many others, neck injuries occur in the workplace. Neck injuries commonly occur due to slips and fall, lifting heavy objects, and falls from a height in Fayetteville or Arkansas, among other reasons. If you would rather file a personal injury claim for your fall, our Fayetteville, AR slip and fall lawyers can help.
This type of injury commonly happens in the construction industry. Construction workers are regularly exposed to many dangers, including the risk of slipping, tripping, or falling. If your neck injury happened within the scope of your duties at work, you may be covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. This system was created to assist injured workers financially while they recover from their injury and are unable to work. Your neck injury may qualify for the benefits provided by workman’s comp if you meet all qualifying conditions discussed below.
Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Insurance Benefits with Neck Injuries in Arkansas
Before you are able to take advantage of the benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation system, you need to go through a qualifying process. Qualifying for workman’s comp requires you to meet specific criteria.
First, you must be an employee; in other words, you have to work for your employer directly and be on that employer’s payroll. Independent contractors such as Uber and Lyft drivers are exempt from this insurance. Other categories of employees exempt from Workers’ Compensation benefits include agriculture, railroad, and domestic workers.
Second, your employer must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Almost all Arkansas employers with three or more employees must provide Workers’ Compensation. There may be circumstances where an employer does not carry workman’s comp insurance; in the event of a workplace accident, an injured worker can then attempt to win compensation from their employer by filing a personal injury claim against them.
Your neck injury must also have occurred within the scope of your duties. In other words, your injury must be work-related. Workers’ Compensation insurance will not cover any injury that occurred outside your job. Injuries that happened outside of your work include those that occur outside the physical confines of your workplace. For instance, going to an official meeting outside the office can still be covered under your employer-issued insurance.
Worker’s Comp Reporting and Treatment Requirements in Arkansas
The Workers’ Compensation system sets forth a series of rules that all petitioners must follow. Not meeting these specific requirements can mean the dismissal of your claim. First, you must make sure you send proper notice of your incident to your employer. Notification is critical in your workman’s comp process, and failure to properly notify your employer may result in the dismissal of your claim. Additionally, all the information provided to Workers’ Compensation examiners must be accurate and complete. False or incorrect information may delay your process or can lead to your claim’s dismissal.
Medical assistance is also essential after a workplace accident. Your employer will give you a list of physicians who can take care of your injury. The doctor will then typically submit a report to your employer, which will let him or her know whether you are able to return to work. If you refuse to receive medical assistance or otherwise fail to follow your doctor’s instructions, your case may be dismissed.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect from Workers’ Comp for a Neck Injury in Arkansas?
The first question some injured workers ask is how much compensation they can get for their injury. The amount of compensation you can expect to receive after a workplace accident will depend on the extent of your injuries. Generally, the Workers’ Compensation system will pay up to 2/3 of your average weekly wage. It is always recommended to have an Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the entire Arkansas workers’ comp process.
Can My Neck Injury Workers’ Compensation Claim Be Denied in Arkansas?
Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation cases are approved. There are many situations where getting assistance from the workers’ compensation system is not guaranteed. There are several reasons why the workman’s comp can deny workers’ compensation benefits. We discuss some of these reasons below:
Your Injury Happened Outside of Your Work
This is one of the most important aspects of any workers’ compensation claim. The system will not consider your case if you sustained any injuries outside the scope of your employment. For example, if you suffer an accident on your way to work, you may not be able to get compensation. However, if you were using the company car on official business, you may be protected under workman’s comp. It is essential that your injury happens within the scope of your work. It is essential to have an experienced Huntsville workers’ compensation attorney by your side to help you understand what to expect from your claim.
Lack of Notification
Notification is also essential when fighting for workers’ compensation. The lack of adequate notification to your employer can be enough to deny your claim from the get-go. It is impossible to continue with the claims process without sufficient, timely notification. For this reason, you must notify your employer within thirty days of your accident and injury. Otherwise, you risk having your compensation denied.
Lack of Medical Treatment
Medical treatment is also critical when you are looking to get workers’ compensation benefits. There is no way to assess your injury or help guide the workers’ comp system into understanding the severity of your injuries without proper medical treatment. Without this essential information, there is no way to determine the extent of your injuries and whether such injuries justify the concession of your workman’s comp benefits.
Your Employer Disputes Your Claim
Every time an employee is injured and requests their workers’ compensation benefits, there is a chance their employer’s premium may go up. For this reason alone, your employer may – and will – dispute your claim. Most of the time, your employer will look for any details they can use to justify denying your claim. It is essential to be thorough and conscious about your claim and make sure you are meeting all the requirements set forth by law. Our University of Arkansas workers’ compensation attorneys can help you with all of these matters.
What Can I Do if My Neck InjuryWorkman’s Comp Claim Was Denied?
As you can see, there are many factors that can lead to your workman’s comp denial in Arkansas. However, you should not feel discouraged about something like this happening. It is not uncommon for an employer to deny a claim based on a simple technicality. However, there are ways you can fight and appeal the workers’ compensation decision on your case.
If you disagree with the decision made in your case, you can file your appeal with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. It is worth mentioning that there is a limited time to file your appeal depending on your case. For instance, if you are appealing an accidental injury claim, you have up to two years from the date of your injury. If you are filing an appeal for an occupational disease, your filing time is one year from your last exposure to the substance that caused your condition.
Before a hearing takes place, you may be given a chance to go through a mediation hearing. Through mediation, you can discuss your case and agree to certain terms that may settle your dispute. If you don’t want to go through mediation, you can go through a formal hearing where an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will see your case and reach a final determination – which is binding.
It is essential to be as thorough as possible when preparing for your formal hearing. This is an excellent moment to present the judge with as much supporting evidence as you can. It is also critical to have the assistance of an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney. Your Harris, AR workers’ compensation lawyer can prepare your case by gathering relevant data such as your medical records and reports, accident reports, proof of filing, and any other relevant data.
If you disagree with the ALJ’s determination on your hearing, you can request an appeal with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. A panel of judges will see your case and make a determination on it. If you still disagree with the commission’s decision, you can file an appeal with the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Outside the Workers’ Comp System in Arkansas for a Neck Injury?
As an injured worker, you may wonder whether you have the opportunity to file a personal injury claim to maximize your compensation. As a general rule, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit because you already receive assistance from your employer-provided insurance. When you accept the terms of your workers’ compensation insurance, you basically waive your right to sue in civil court for an accidental injury. However, there are exceptions to this general rule that may apply to your case.
f your injury involved a defective product, a personal injury claim may be possible and could allow you to file a product liability claim. Through this claim – which is based on personal injury law – you may hold the manufacturer liable for all your injuries and losses.
Another potential way to file a personal injury claim is if your employer engaged in gross negligence and such conduct led to your work accident. You may hold your employer directly liable for your accident and fight for compensation. You may also hold your employer directly liable if they did not carry proper workers’ compensation insurance at the time of your accident.
There have been situations where an employee suffers an accident and catastrophic injuries due to another party’s actions. If a third party caused your injury, you may have a cause of action against that person. This is especially true in cases involving a third party that doesn’t work for your employer or your company. These exceptions don’t always apply to every case. It is always in your best interest to hire an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney who can help you understand what you can expect from your particular case.
Neck Injury Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Offering Free Consultations in Arkansas
If you or a loved one suffered a neck injury at the workplace, we may be able to help. Over our many years in practice, we have handled countless workman’s compensation cases, and we are ready to assist you. At the offices of Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, we understand the difficulties associated with neck injuries. That is why we dedicate our practice to defending and upholding your rights as an injured worker. To schedule a free, confidential appointment, call our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation attorneys today at (479) 316-0438.