Does Sending an Email Count as Reporting a Workplace Injury in Arkansas?

When you are injured at work and might want to seek Workers’ Compensation benefits after the accident, you must report the accident and the injury to your employer.  What it means to “report” the accident can be confusing for workers, especially workers who are dealing with the immediate aftermath of an injury.  Fayetteville, AR workplace injury lawyer Ken Kieklak explains what the law says about reporting an injury, whether an email qualifies, and how notice is usually given after on-the-job injuries in Arkansas.

How Do You Report an Injury at Work in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, workplace injuries are usually paid for through Workers’ Compensation.  This allows workers to be treated for their emergency care immediately after the accident, and it allows them to seek lost wage benefits and coverage for ongoing medical care after the accident.  If the accident keeps them out of work for more than a few days, these benefits can usually help cover the injuries.  However, your employer needs to know you were injured to be able to cover your injuries.

The law in Arkansas, particularly Arkansas Code § 11-9-701, lays out how an injured employee has to report accidents to their employer.  The first subsection of this law says that the way to report a workplace injury is by using a form that the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission will provide.  That form is called Form AR-N – the “N” standing for “notice” – and it is the most official way to report your injury to your employer.  However, this law also gives some exceptions: you do not need to report the injury if your injury makes you unable to report to your employer or if your employer was told about the accident when it happened.

In most cases of serious injury at the workplace, there is some kind of commotion, supervisors are informed, ambulances come, and everyone at the job site knows that an accident happened.  In cases like these, it might not be necessary to fill out Form AR-N and formally give notice to your employer about the accident.  However, if the accident happened off-site – such as in the case of an auto accident for a delivery driver or commercial driver – your employer might have no idea that the accident happened.  Similarly, in big companies where “your employer” involves a lot more people than the boots-on-the-ground supervisors and workers, you will likely need to give notice to corporate or HR. This is where the help of an experienced Arkansas personal injury lawyer can be of use.

Can I Give Notice of an On-the-Job Injury to an Employer Via Email in Arkansas?

If you do not report your accident to your employer in some way, Workers’ Compensation claims for the injuries could be blocked.  However, Arkansas Code § 11-9-701(b)(1)(A) specifically says that “[i]f the employer had knowledge” that the injury occurred, then the claim cannot be blocked simply for notice issues.  This means that if you don’t want to fill out the form and give official notice of what happened to you, then sending an email will at least create some paper trail of evidence that you reported the accident.  However, sending an email is not the best way to give notice, and you should talk to a Fayetteville, AR Workers’ Compensation lawyer to make sure that your notice is sufficient.

Form AR-N is designed to be the best way to give notice to an employer of what happened to you.  With an email, you certainly have a paper trail, but you have no evidence of who opened the email – or whether they opened it at all.  Even if they reply to your email confirming that they received your notice, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the proper parties were notified, and your employer could try to use this against you to block your claim for lack of notice.

Form AR-N, on the other hand, requires your employer to immediately fill out part of the form and return it to you.  This is essentially a receipt that helps you prove you gave notice as required.  If there are problems with your initial form, your employer might not accept it, which gives you a chance to fill in the rest of the form and submit it.

If you do try to report a workplace accident by email, your employer or supervisor might simply refuse to accept that notice and ask you to fill out Form AR-N.

Working with a Lawyer to Report a Workplace Injury in Arkansas

When you report the injury to your supervisor or HR department, they could ask you to fill out additional forms and paperwork.  Typically, Form AR-N (or immediate notice after the accident) is the only notice that the law requires, but your employer could require additional forms and accident reports.  Many of these forms are for your employer’s benefit – not yours – and you should consider working with a Fayetteville, AR personal injury lawyer before filling out any notice or reporting forms.

When you fill out an official form for Workers’ Compensation, most of the statements you make are used in two ways: first, they are used to get you the benefits you need, and second, they could potentially be used against you if they contradict later claims.  If you do not fully report the injuries that you suffered, you will not be able to get compensation for them, so it is important to be thorough.  Moreover, it is important to be consistent and truthful, or else your employer might reject your claim on the grounds that they think you committed fraud or on the grounds that the accident seemed intentional or didn’t happen at work.

Any of these problems could potentially shut down your case, so it is important to have an Arkansas work injury and Workers’ Compensation lawyer help you with your application and review any information you give, especially if you are seriously injured and cannot fill out the forms and report the accident without assistance. For more information about the Arkansas workers’ compensation rules, contact our lawyers.

Call Our Fayetteville Workers’ Comp. and Work Injury Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation

After suffering an injury at work in Arkansas, it is important to report the accident to your employer to start getting the workers’ comp. benefits you need.  To make sure that your case is reported properly, do not rely on a simple email.  Instead, call our Arkansas workplace injury lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, for help filing your claim and reporting the accident.  Our Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you report your accident and work with you throughout the process to help you get the Workers’ Compensation benefits you need.  Call us at (479) 316-0438.