If you are an employee who was injured while performing your job duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation, which provides financial coverage for medical expenses and the general costs of daily living, such as groceries and transportation, while you are unable to work due to your injury. But how long can you expect your benefits to continue? And what happens if you are permanently disabled, and will never be able to return to work? Fayetteville AR workers’ compensation lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law discusses the timeline for workman’s compensation benefits in Arkansas.
What is the Process for Getting Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas?
With a few narrow exceptions, worker’s compensation is available for most workers who are accidentally injured in the course of their employment. In order to obtain benefits, you must report the injury to your employer, who is then required to report the injury to whichever carrier is supplying the business with workers’ compensation insurance. You will also be required to complete some documentation, which should be available through your employer. (If not, you can simply download the appropriate forms, which are available online here through the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission.)
Next, you will be required to see a doctor for an assessment of your injuries. While your employer is entitled to select the initial doctor for evaluation, you may follow up with other doctors afterward by formally requesting a Change of Physician from the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Your employer should act promptly, as a fine of up to $500 may be imposed if your employer fails to begin the process within 10 days of you filing your claim at your workplace. However, assistance from an experienced Fort Smith workers’ compensation attorney can make the process more efficient, particularly if a dispute arises – for instance, a dispute over the severity of your injuries and resulting disability. Your Springdale workers’ compensation lawyer will be there to protect your rights as an injured worker while helping you with paperwork and advocating on your behalf should your employer contest (challenge) your claim.
How Long Can a Disabled Employee Stay on Workers’ Comp in Arkansas?
One of the first questions injured workers often ask about workers’ compensation is, “How long will I continue to receive benefits?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is different for every beneficiary, because the duration of your benefits will depend on (1) the severity of your injury, and (2) how long the resulting impairment is expected to last.
Stated simply, you should continue to receive benefits – typically on a biweekly basis – until you are no longer considered disabled. Here is the how the timeline unfolds, depending on the nature of the injury:
- If you sustained a mental injury caused by physical injury, you may receive benefits for up to 26 weeks (nearly six months), unless you were assaulted or otherwise victimized by violence.
- You may receive Temporary Partial Benefits or Temporary Total Benefits for up to 450 weeks (approximately eight and a half years).
- You may receive Permanent Partial Benefits for 450 weeks, though the exact duration of your benefits may differ depending on the nature and severity of your injury.
- If your workplace accident caused a catastrophic injury resulting in total and permanent disability, you may continue to receive benefits for the rest of your life.
Representation by an experienced attorney can significantly increase the length of time you receive benefits. If you are dissatisfied with your benefits or feel you have been the victim of an error, you are urged to contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law as soon as possible for a free legal consultation.
Injured at Your Job? A Fayetteville Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
All employees deserve safe workplaces that comply with state and federal standards, yet sometimes, unintentional injuries can still occur, even when employers take care to follow safety regulations.
If you, your spouse, or one of your family members sustained a disabling workplace injury, such as a brain injury or spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis, an experienced Rogers workers’ compensation attorney like Ken Kieklak can fight to see that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled. Further, while workers’ compensation generally prohibits personal injury lawsuits against employers, it may be appropriate to explore a product liability lawsuit against a third party, such as a manufacturer, if your injury was caused by a defective product, such as defective tools, industrial equipment, or transportation equipment.
If you need help filing a workers’ compensation claim in Arkansas, or have questions about what to do after being injured at work, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law at (479) 316-0438 for a free and confidential legal consultation. Our law firm serves Crawford County, Sebastian County, Washington County, and beyond.
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