Workers’ compensation claims exist to help injured workers get medical treatment and continue getting paid while they recover from workplace injuries. If you’re injured, you need medical care now. However, the workers’ compensation system in Arkansas is based on your employer, insurance carriers, and the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. This might mean that bureaucracy can slow down your claims – but how long does it take?
Fayetteville workers’ compensation attorney Ken Kieklak explains the timing of filing for workers’ compensation in Arkansas:
When does Workers’ Comp. Start Paying in Arkansas?
An important question that people have with workers’ compensation applications is asking when their payments will start. If you apply and submit all forms immediately after the injury, the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) says that payments for medical expenses should start within 14 days after the injury. This does not include the day you were injured. Payments typically continue once every two weeks after that until you no longer need them. In very serious injuries, they can even continue for life.
This means that the earliest you can receive compensation is some time in the first 14 days after your injury. If your injuries were serious, it may take you time to get the paperwork together and get your application filed. This is something that an experienced worker’ comp. attorney can help you with. If you need money for your medical expenses and your family needs to continue receiving your paychecks, take action right away.
The AWCC warns that you should get approval for any medical treatment before you get treated. In many situations, this is unrealistic. If you suffered a serious injury, it likely needs immediate medical treatment. Because of this, the Workers’ Compensation Commission gives you two full years from the injury or death to file for benefits. This means that an injured worker could wait until they are fully recovered to seek past payments from the AWCC – but they risk being denied. The survivors of a deceased worker could also wait to receive their benefits. While it may be possible to get coverage retroactively, getting pre-approval is often the best way to get coverage for treatment.
Replacement paychecks from workers’ comp. usually take at least 7 days to get. There is a 7-day waiting period for payments for lost wages in Arkansas. This means that you cannot start collecting list wages until the 8th day after your injury. Additionally, you can only receive payments for lost wages if you will be out of work for more than 14 days. In other words, if you only miss one week of work for an injury, the AWCC will not reimburse lost wages.
How Long does it Take to Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement after a Denial?
If you were denied workers’ comp. benefits, the process can become a lot longer. It may take something like 90 days for an appeal to be processed by the AWCC and courts that address appeals. During this period, you may still be unable to receive benefits, or may be denied benefits for some portions of your treatment. At this point, your case might be assigned to an Administrative Law Judge, and you might need a lawyer to help fight your case.
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can help guide you through appealing a denial. It may be frustrating how long it takes to finally get approval, but many cases are initially denied compensation because of errors in paperwork or missing details. Generally, if a condition or injury is truly “work-related,” it will eventually be approved for workers’ comp benefits.
This process may also slow down if you want to change physicians. Since workers’ comp. requires you to use an approved physician, it may take some time for your employer’s insurance carrier to approve a physician. Check with your employer and their insurance company, or have your attorney check, to see if you can seek treatment from your own doctor or whether you must use a doctor they’ve selected for you.
Sometimes, rather than accepting periodic payments, workers’ comp. applicants take a lump-sum settlement for their medical treatment and lost wages. A lump-sum is often paid later in the process, after denials or treatment already occurred. In this situation, rather than receiving biweekly payments, the worker gets one large payment to cover medical payments and lost wages. A settlement like this may even come after challenging a denial, meaning it can take a long time compared to the one or two weeks with a prompt application. Talk to an attorney to discuss whether a workers’ comp. settlement is right for your case.
Workers’ Comp. Attorney in Fayetteville
If you or a loved one was injured in a work-related accident in Arkansas, talk to Fayetteville injury attorney Ken Kieklak today. Quick action in filing for workers’ compensation can help you get the money you need in as little as 8 days. Waiting longer can mean holding-up your case with government approval and court filings. Call (479) 439-1843 today for a free consultation on your workers’ comp. case.