The goal of workers’ compensation is to get injured employees the money they need to continue supporting their families after an accident at work. Because of this, the amount that you receive can widely vary depending on what your injury is, how much the medical treatments cost, and how much money you make. Fayetteville workers’ compensation lawyer Ken Kieklak explains what kind of settlement you can expect in your case, and how to calculate what kinds of benefits you might receive for a back injury in Arkansas.
What is a Back Injury Worth from Workers’ Comp.?
Back injuries are some of the most common work-related injuries. Many jobs require heavy lifting, sitting for long hours, bending over all day, and other tasks that put a severe strain on your upper back and low back. Back problems are the number two reason people miss work across the world, and over 80% of Americans will experience a back problem at some point. For those whose pain is caused by the daily strain of work or a specific workplace injury, workers’ comp. may be able to help.
Usually, workers’ comp. pays for two main things when you have to miss work because of an injury:
- 66 2/3% of your typical wages, and
- Your medical expenses related to the injury.
Workers’ compensation pays you something to fall back on for continued support while you cannot go to work, but will not compensate your full wages. Instead, you usually receive 2/3 of your typical paycheck to continue to support you and your family.
Workers’ comp. also works to see you returned to work-ready health (when possible). This means covering your medical costs, such as doctor visits, X-rays, surgeries, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. For some back injuries, you may need extensive surgeries to repair problems like herniated discs. Others may require intense physical therapy. Still others may be permanent injuries, and require ongoing medical care and treatment. Some medical procedures and treatments may require pre-approval from your employer’s workers’ comp, but they should still cover your needs.
This all means that the price the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) pays you is very dependent on your situation. First, they need to look at your typical paycheck to decide what to pay you in wages. Next, they cover all of your medical expenses, which are difficult to determine the cost of from the outset. This makes it very difficult to determine an average or expected value, but you can certainly use these rules to calculate the potential payments in your own situation.
What is the Average Workers’ Comp. Settlement for Back Injuries?
Workers’ comp. typically pays for your needs on an ongoing basis. You submit a request for treatment, then the AWCC approves your treatment and pays for it. You may also be able to do this backwards and get the treatment first, then submit it to the AWCC to have them pay you back. Your payments for lost wages also typically come in at regular intervals.
Alternatively, you may be able to get a “settlement” for your workers’ comp. Sometimes, an employer or their workers’ comp. insurance will offer you a lump sum instead of ongoing payments. The AWCC still needs to approve any settlements, meaning your ability to get payments this way may be limited. Alternatively, you may get a settlement after you’ve gone through problems receiving workers’ comp.
If your workers’ comp was denied, or workers’ comp. refused to cover certain treatments or expenses, you may be able to appeal your workers’ comp. claim. If you win the appeal, you will typically receive one lump sump to cover the past expenses you were denied.
These settlements vary so much that an “average” value will not help you. Since these settlements can either cover the entirety of the injured workers’ claims or just the parts that were denied, looking at their values is not necessarily helpful. In addition, the injuries themselves, and the costs of medical treatment, vary greatly. While one settlement for a paralyzed worker who fell off a ladder may be quite high, a truck driver who suffers constant low back pain from heavy lifting may have a very different outcome.
Rather than relying upon averages posted on the internet, talk to an attorney about your case and what you may be able to expect.
Arkansas Workers’ Comp Lawyer for Back Pain
If you need help applying to workers’ compensation or you’re having trouble getting your injuries approved in Arkansas, talk to our Arkansas workers’ comp. lawyer today. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, has over 20 years of experience helping Arkansans get the compensation they need for work-related back injuries. For a free consultation, call our law offices today at (479) 439-1843.