If you were injured in a workplace accident in Arkansas, you could need time to recover before returning to work. In some cases, the injuries you face are so severe that you cannot return to work for a prolonged period – or you might be unable to ever return to work. If you were injured at work, you may be able to get Workers’ Compensation coverage to pay for the medical expenses you face and to help you cover your lost wages while you focus on recovery. Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation lawyer Ken Kieklak explains what you can do if you can’t work after a workplace injury in Fayetteville or somewhere else in Arkansas.
When Can I Claim Workers’ Comp. After a Workplace Injury?
Most workers in Arkansas can file for Workers’ Compensation if they are injured in a workplace accident or begin to suffer from a work-related condition. Workers’ comp. pays injured workers for their medical expenses and lost wages so that they do not need to file injury lawsuits to seek compensation. This system is designed to be quicker and simpler than filing a lawsuit.
If you were to take your case to court, you would need to prove that your employer was at fault for your injuries before you could receive compensation. With workers’ comp., you merely need to prove that your injury was work-related or that you suffer from a work-related condition. If you can prove this, your employer should begin paying you Workers’ Compensation benefits as soon as the 7th day you are out of work after an injury.
The medical benefits you receive should pay for all necessary medical expenses related to the injury as long as you follow certain requirements. First, you may be required to use a doctor your employer or their insurance company chooses. Your employer may give you a list of healthcare providers to choose from, and you must use a doctor on that list to get coverage – but any treatment they recommend or refer out to another physician should be covered.
The wage loss benefits cover 2/3 of your normal wages while you cannot work. If your injury keeps you from being able to work, these replacement wages can help cover expenses at home, such as rent and groceries, until you can return to work and start receiving your full wages again.
Wage loss benefits are not usually permanent and often only last for set time. Some injuries only allow you to receive lost wages for a certain number of weeks, depending on the injury you suffered. For instance, under this “schedule,” loss of your index finger may pay lost wages for 43 weeks, whereas loss of an arm at the elbow might pay damages for 244 weeks.
Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits for a Permanent Injury and Early Retirement?
Typically, workers’ comp. is designed to help cover your expenses while you recover from your injury – but there is always an expectation that you will return to the workforce. Sometimes, that expectation is a technicality, as the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) and your employer understand that some permanent injuries make it impossible to ever go back to work.
The AWCC’s rules bar employers from stopping your benefits if you are actively following through with your doctor’s suggested medical care and trying to recover to return to work. Your workers’ comp. benefits should continue as long as you are working toward that goal of getting back on your feet and going back to work.
Many workers are eventually able to recover within the recommended period and return to work, but some simply can’t do this. If you take a long time recovering from your injuries, you may need additional time to recover before returning to work. Alternatively, your injury may permanently keep you from work, especially if you suffered serious brain trauma or paralysis after a work injury.
If you need an extension, talk to a Bella Vista workplace injury attorney about receiving extended benefits. Typically, benefits that are “scheduled” cut off after the time period runs out. However, there may be ways to get your benefits extended, especially if the reason you cannot return to work is because you developed complications during your recovery which could constitute additional conditions or injuries.
If your injuries are too severe to return to work, you may qualify for permanent medical benefits through workers’ comp. These benefits may continue indefinitely, helping provide you and your family with ongoing lost wages. If your injury stops you from returning to your old job, but you can adapt to a lower-paying job, you may qualify for partial benefits to reflect the reduced earning capacity. Talk to an Arkansas personal injury attorney about these kinds of complex workers’ comp. scenarios.
Fayetteville Attorney for Injured Workers and Workman’s Comp.
If you or a loved one was injured at work, you may qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. When your injury keeps you from going back to work, you could receive lost wages through workers’ comp. to help support you and your family, potentially receiving permanent benefits. For help with your workers’ comp. case, contact Fayetteville workers’ comp. lawyer Ken Kieklak today. Our number is (479) 316-0438.