Do the Arkansas Worker’s Compensation Laws Apply to Me?

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Being a truck driver often means driving across state lines, either into Arkansas or out of Arkansas. No matter when you are driving an 18-wheeler injuries can happen. If you are injured while you are driving your truck you may have questions. Can I file a workers’ compensation claim when I am in Arkansas? What if I work for an Arkansas company but am injured in another state? Work-related injuries can happen suddenly when you least expect it. You are then left unable to work and with increasing medical bills. What can you do?

When you are injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of the fault of the injury. The workers’ compensation system was designed to financially protect individuals who are injured at the workplace and their families. The workers’ compensation process can be overwhelming to injured parties, so hiring a workers’ compensation attorney increases your chances of receiving benefits. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law is highly experienced in working with employers and their insurance companies to negotiate and litigate workers’ compensation claims. We work for you, and don’t get paid unless you do.

Can I File My Claim in Arkansas?

If you are an Arkansas resident working for an Arkansas trucking company but find that you are injured in another state you may wonder where you can file your workers’ compensation claim.

The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission was established to provide a fair, efficient, and professional public agency to serve the people of Arkansas by administering actions required or authorized by Arkansas workers’ compensation law.  If you file a workers’ compensation claim before the Commission Arkansas law presumes that the Commission has jurisdiction over any claims filed before the Commission.  Jurisdiction is an essential part of a workers’ compensation claim, and if the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission does not have jurisdiction over the case then you will not be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Arkansas.

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Relevant federal constitutional principles have been established to determine jurisdiction and the Arkansas Supreme Court has agreed that jurisdiction generally can be found in six different ways, these are also questions you should consider when determining where to file a workers’ compensation claim:

  1. The place where the injury occurred;
  2. The place that made the contract;
  3. The place where the employment relation exists or is carried out;
  4. The place where the industry is localized;
  5. The place where the employee resides
  6. The place whose statute parties expressly adopted by contract.

Before the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission can assume jurisdiction over a claim there must be a statutory basis for entertaining the claim and the Arkansas’ Workers’ Compensation Act must not violate the federal constitution principles.  These are questions that you should consider carefully and with the guidance of an experienced trucking workers’ compensation attorney who is able to guide you through the process.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

After you have considered the above factors, you and the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission still would have to determine if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. In order to qualify, you must prove the following facts:

  • First, you must show that you were injured in the course of your employment and were working at the time of the injury.
  • Second, you must show that your injury happened because of work. More specifically, your injury was directly caused by working or working aggravated a pre-existing condition. The mere fact that you were at work is insufficient to receive workers’ compensation. Rather, your work must have caused or contributed to the injury.
  • Third, you must show that you sustained a loss. This means you must have sustained a wage loss, a permanent loss of function, or require medical treatment for the injury you suffered on the job.

Proving these elements can be a difficult and time-consuming process. You have to keep track of every paper that you receive. Therefore, contacting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands how to obtain the necessary documentation increases your chance of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer has denied your workers’ compensation claim, he is basically saying you failed to prove one or more of these three elements. Contact Ken Kieklek for counseling on what employers look for in analyzing workers’ compensation claims. For more information, browse our Arkansas workers’ compensation guide.

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

Even before you file a workers’ compensation claim you may be wondering what types of benefits you would be able to receive in Arkansas. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation system can provide monetary compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages. However, before seeking non-emergency care you should always seek pre-approval because otherwise your employer is not obligated to cover it. Compensable medical expenses include:

  • Doctor visits
  • Medications that are prescribed
  • Hospital bills
  • Pre-operative care
  • Surgical care

Following the acute treatment of your injury, you may require longer-term rehabilitative care. Rehabilitative care can improve outcomes and can include items and services such as:

  • Crutches
  • Wheelchair
  • Physical therapy
  • Medical braces
  • Many other approved medical devices

Compensation for lost wages may be available, however, you only become eligible for wage compensation after a waiting period and with a doctor’s approval. After the 7th full day following your injury you will, with your doctor’s approval, become eligible for wage compensation at 66 and two-thirds percent of your average weekly wage. If you are disabled for more than 14 days, then you become eligible for compensation for the first seven days of your disability as well. The fourteen total days of disability is not required to be continuous nor must the days be contiguous.

Let Arkansas Personal Injury Lawyer Ken Kieklak’s Experience Work for You

For more than 20 years, Fayetteville disability attorney Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has fought for hard-working Arkansans who are injured at work. To schedule your free and confidential initial consultation, call (479) 251-7767 or contact us online today.

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