If you are injured at work in Arkansas, you will usually be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits to cover your damages. However, Workers’ Compensation insurance is not designed to compensate you for your pain and suffering.
“Pain and suffering” is a term of art that includes non-economic damages resulting from your workplace accident. These damages include mental distress, depression, physical pain, and many others. Fortunately, Workers’ Compensation will cover your medical expenses and some of your lost wages. However, you deserve to be compensated for all the harm you suffered, are there could be a path to recover losses for your pain and suffering.
Reach out to our team at (479) 316-0438 to receive your free case assessment with our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation attorneys.
Will Workers’ Compensation Benefits Pay for Pain and Suffering in Arkansas?
Unfortunately, Workers’ Compensation benefits will not cover your pain and suffering damages if you are injured in a workplace accident in Arkansas. However, our Rogers Workers’ Compensation attorneys can help determine if there is a path to recover damages for pain and suffering and what other compensation you are entitled to. “Pain and suffering” is a term that encompasses a wide range of non-economic damages that injury victims often suffer as a result of their accidents. Mental distress, physical pain, depression, and anxiety are just a few examples of what constitutes pain and suffering. While Workers’ Compensation will not cover these types of losses, it will cover your economic damages, like your medical expenses and a certain amount of your lost wages.
Coverage for Medical Treatment
If an employee gets hurt, they are entitled to medical treatment under Arkansas Workers’ Compensation benefits. This includes coverage for not only the initial doctor visit but also other related medical costs such as hospitalization, medication, diagnostic tests, and other expenses. However, the employer’s responsibility typically ends six months after the injury if the employee did not miss work, or six months after the employee returns to work. Additionally, there is a limit of $10,000 on medical benefits.
Coverage for Lost Wages
Workers who are injured on the job are also entitled to compensation for lost wages. If an employee is eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, they will receive two-thirds of their regular salary. These benefits will usually be paid out following a seven-day waiting period. However, if a worker is out of work for more than fourteen days, they will be compensated for the initial seven days. In most cases, the maximum weekly lost wage benefits are set at $522 and are limited to 450 weeks by law. If an injured worker qualifies for permanent total disability (PTD) benefits, though, they will receive two-thirds of their weekly salary for the duration of their disability. Keep in mind that PTD benefits will be capped at $522 per week.
While Workers’ Compensation will not cover pain and suffering through a claim, that does not mean an injured worker is without options. In certain circumstances, a worker can pursue pain and suffering damages by filing a lawsuit against the liable party.
When Can I File a Lawsuit to Recover Pain and Suffering in an Arkansas Work Injury Case?
There are several exceptions, however, in which an injured worker should not only file a lawsuit, but it might also be their only option to recover damages, both economic and pain and suffering. For instance, if an employee is classified as an independent contractor, they will usually not be eligible to file a Workers’ Compensation claim but they could file a lawsuit since that option is unavailable.
In general, to be considered an independent contractor, the employee must have the freedom to decide when and how they perform their services. Independent contractors are not usually directly supervised by the company they work for and have the flexibility to choose their own hours and provide their own equipment. In contrast, traditional employees must follow their supervisors’ directions and use company-provided materials.
In order to file a personal injury lawsuit, you generally need to identify a third party who may be held responsible for your injuries. For instance, if you sustained an injury at work due to malfunctioning equipment, you may have a personal injury case against the manufacturer or designer of the equipment. Or, you might have been injured while working off the job site or by someone entering the workplace, like in the case of a vehicle accident. if a third party is responsible for your workplace injuries, you can usually file a lawsuit to recover the damages Workers’ Compensation does not provide.
In other cases, you can bring a personal injury claim against your employer if they lack Workers’ Compensation insurance or their actions intentionally harmed you, like knowingly failing to follow safety regulations. However, it is important to ensure that you are covered by your employer’s insurance provider. You can verify this through an online search to find out if your employer has Workers’ Compensation insurance in Arkansas.
How Can I Prove Pain and Suffering Damages in an Arkansas Work Injury Lawsuit?
Keeping detailed records of your injuries and their effects is crucial to increase your chances of recovering the pain and suffering damages that you are entitled to. Since pain and suffering damages are challenging to prove, the following documentation will strongly support your personal injury case in Arkansas:
Having medical records is crucial for a personal injury claim in Arkansas as they demonstrate the severity of your injuries and the treatment received. Often, the subjective effects of the injuries can be inferred from their intensity. If you were treated medically after being harmed, there should be ample documentation to bolster your case.
Even if you have insufficient evidence of your pain and suffering, you can still establish the damages you experienced through personal testimonies from yourself and your close associates. Your family members, friends, and others who know you well can provide testimonials on the changes they have noticed in you. If they can attest that your mental state has deteriorated after the accident, it can help demonstrate that your pain and suffering are a direct result of the accident.
Therapy and Mental Health Records
Utilizing therapy and other forms of mental health counseling can be a valuable way to document and substantiate the extent of your pain and suffering. Records from counseling sessions can effectively demonstrate how your injuries have affected your mental well-being and overall quality of life. By seeking out therapy or counseling, you can demonstrate that you have experienced emotional trauma as a result of the accident.
Keep a Personal Journal
For those who cannot afford or access mental healthcare to document their mental distress, there is another option. You can keep a personal journal to record your thoughts and experiences, detailing how your injuries are affecting you. This documentation can serve as evidence to support your claim later and show that you are not making statements about your injuries’ effects just for the sake of driving up your compensation.
Our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help
For a free case review with our Fayattevile Workers’ Compensation attorneys, contact us today at (479) 316-0438.