Facing an injury at the workplace can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. You may have no idea what to do after your accident. However, every decision you make can impact your chances of getting compensation. As you will learn through this article, injured workers have the opportunity to file a claim to get financial and medical assistance while they are unable to work because of their injuries. However, getting your benefits also depends upon meeting specific requirements – which we will discuss in this article. Our Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation attorney Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, invites you to keep reading as we discuss more about how you can get Workers’ Compensation payment benefits in Arkansas.
How Do I Get Workman’s Comp Payments in Arkansas?
To get Workers’ Compensation payments in Fayetteville, AR or anywhere else in Arkansas, you need to meet the qualification requirements established by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC). Additionally, you will need to comply with all of the rules in your claim process. Failing to adhere to the standards of the workman’s comp system may result in your claim being denied.
The Workers’ Compensation system can provide you with medical and financial assistance after suffering an occupational injury such as when you file for Workers’ Compensation for a back injury or Workers’ Compensation for an amputated finger or hand. However, payment of these benefits s not automatic. To be eligible, you will need to meet a specific set of qualifying requirements.
First, you need to be covered under the Workers’ Compensation law, which covers almost every worker in Arkansas. All employers in Arkansas are required to provide workers’ comp. insurance to their employees. If an employer fails to provide this coverage – or refuses to – they expose themselves to a lawsuit instead. You can confirm whether your employer has this insurance by contacting the AWCC.
Workman’s comp laws protect almost every employee in Arkansas. But there are exceptional cases where certain workers may get assistance from other sources. For instance, railroad workers can get support from the federal government, and certain agricultural workers are not covered by Arkansas’ system either. Independent contractors are also workers who may not qualify to get the benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation system, and they may be able to sue for injuries caused by unsafe conditions at a work site.
To qualify for the Workers’ Compensation benefits, your injury or illness must have happened within the scope of your work. If you suffer an injury or develop a disease outside of your workplace, it may not be covered by your workman’s comp insurance.
Once you have met the qualification requirements, you may be eligible to file your claim for your benefits.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Arkansas
Your Workers’ Compensation claim process starts with notification. Every injured worker is required to file written, timely notice with their employer. Your notification should include your contact information and a description of the incident that caused your workplace injury. Make sure to include the date and time of the accident, along with a description of your injuries. Generally, you have up to thirty days from the moment of your accident to submit your written notification.
Once you deliver your notification to your employer, you will need to fill out the corresponding forms. It is essential to provide complete, accurate information to avoid any complications. Once you complete your forms, you will deliver them to your employer. Your employer will send your application to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission, who will evaluate your claim. Generally, the AWCC will conduct an independent investigation to determine whether your claim will be approved or denied.
Reasons Why Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Can Be Denied in Arkansas
Not every Workers’ Compensation claim will be approved by the AWCC. After their independent assessment of your claim, they may determine you are not eligible for the benefits and deny your workers’ comp. claim. This can happen even in legitimate cases.
There are several reasons why the Workers’ Compensation system would deny Workers’ Compensation benefits or another place in Arkansas. One possible reason your claim may be rejected is if you fail to meet the notification requirements. As mentioned, you have up to thirty days to report your injury. This is why it is essential to act quickly after your workplace injury.
Your claim may also be denied if you suffered your injury at the workplace while under the effect of narcotics or alcohol. Additionally, your workman’s comp claim may be rejected if the AWCC determines your condition or injury was not related to your work. It is in your best interest to retain the services of an Arkansas Workers’ Compensation lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Appealing a Denied Workman’s Comp Claim in Arkansas
If you are not satisfied with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission’s determination in your case, you may have the right to appeal. You usually start the appealing process by filing Form AR-C. You may also request a formal hearing by writing a letter to the AWCC.
During your appeals process, you will likely have to go through a mediation process in which an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) – along all parties involved – will try to resolve the situation. If you and the AWCC cannot resolve the situation, your case will likely go to trial, where the ALJ will render a binding determination after conducting a series of hearings. If you do not agree with the ALJ’s decision on your case, you may continue the appeals process with the Arkansas Court of Appeals. It is critical to have legal representation by your side at all times.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Offering Free Consultations in Arkansas
Facing the Workers’ Compensation process on your own can be overwhelming and stressful. However, you don’t have to go through your claim process alone. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can guide you and help you understand the required steps you should take to file your claim. We will fight for your rights as an injured worker every step of the way. To learn more about your specific situation in a free, confidential consultation, call our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.