Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
People get hurt at work often. Hopefully, most cases require no more serious treatment than a bandage or a few stitches. Safety is always important, and when you spend a large part of your day and life at work, you know just how devastating an injury can be. An on-the-job injury cannot only require medical treatment but can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages.
In most situations, your options depend on who was at fault for your injuries, some specific details about the injury, and what you want to receive. In most injuries, either caused by accident, the carelessness of fellow employees, or the negligence of your employer, your best option to seek immediate recovery is using your state’s workers’ compensation program.
Arkansas, like most states, has a workers’ compensation program. This is used to get employees who were injured at work money to cover their medical expenses and lost wages while they are unable to work. The only required proof to get this coverage is proof that the injury occurred and was work-related. There is no need to prove that anyone is at fault for the injuries, and so the system is designed to help a speedy recovery. It awards only medical coverage through doctors chosen by your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company, and only 2/3 of your typical wages, so it does have its drawbacks.
In a case where a third party was responsible for your injuries, or you work as an independent contractor, you will likely not be able to use the workers’ compensation system. This means going through normal court proceedings. A personal injury lawsuit based on negligence usually requires proving that the party responsible for your injury had a duty to prevent injury, breached that duty, the breach caused harm, and the harm caused can be redressed by a court. If this lawsuit or settlement is successful, you can receive not only medical expenses and lost wages (without a 2/3 limit), but also damages to account for your pain and suffering. In some cases, you may also be able to get extra damages that punish the bad actor. Arkansas has no legal limit, called a “cap,” on how much these damages can be.
If your injury was caused at work, but by the intentional bad actions of your employer or another actor, then you may also want to use a traditional lawsuit. Workers’ compensation covers any work-related injuries, but cannot award damages for pain and suffering nor punitive damages. Sometimes, in cases of especially reckless or intentional injury by your employer, you may want to seek these increased damages.
If you have been injured while at work, then you need an attorney by your side. The Arkansas Workers Compensation Laws are complex and when you are facing bills and payments, missing your opportunity to recover for your injuries is simply not an option.
Arkansas Workplace Injuries
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that there are nearly 11,500 work-related injuries or illnesses each day. This number rounds out to a startling average of 15 workers who die each day from traumatic injuries sustained while working. While not every workplace injury can be considered major or significant, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported that more than three million people who suffered workplace injuries had an injury that required them to seek medical treatment and or emergency medical care.
Some of the most common workplace injuries may include:
Occupational disease – Diseases that are a result of exposure to dangerous substances such as lung cancer from asbestos exposure have been a growing concern and problem in the workforce. Many of these diseases which can be life-threating or fatal are preventable with proper safety precautions. However, as more and more American workers are developing occupational diseases it is becoming apparent that many employers simply avoid using the proper safety measures to save money.
Slips and falls – slips and falls are some of the most prevalent workplace injuries. In some cases, a slip and fall can be from a height, such as from a roof, and in other cases, a slip and fall can happen on the same level. Workplace falls, whether from a ladder or other high place, have the potential for extreme injury. Even if you manage to land on the ground instead of a dangerous obstacle, you can still sustain serious injury. Landing on your back or head could cause permanent injury or death.
Overexertion – Overexertion injuries are often attributed to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, or other throwing activities that a worker engages in at work. These injuries tend to be more common in heavy use industries such as construction, fishing, and trucking. Inguinal hernias, herniated discs, and slipped discs are all the sort of injuries that occur from lifting too much or otherwise overexerting yourself. They can put you out of work for a long time, need surgery, or even cause permanent pain and discomfort.
Sprains and strains – Many people discount the impact that a sprain or strain can have on a worker. However, according to the National Safety Council sprains and strains are a major source of workplace injuries and typically require workers to miss three months of work depending on the location of and the severity of their sprain or strain. A worker who sustains a sprain or strain may find themselves unable to perform their tasks and can also require continuing medical care and treatment.
Amputations – Amputations are far too common when working with blades and heavy machinery. Getting a sleeve caught in a machine can be one of the biggest fears for machinists, but for those who have experienced it, it is a nightmare.
Burns – Whether chemical or heat, can be common in some settings, especially ones that deal with welding, forging, or chemicals.
Because there are a wide array of injuries and accidents that workers may be subjected to, working with an experienced attorney is always advisable. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has spent the last twenty years examining personal injury cases and workplace injury claims and can help you during your recovery.
Who do you File a Claim Against When You Are Injured at Work?
If you have been injured on the job it is not always clear who you are supposed to talk to or in the event that you have sustained serious injuries who may be responsible for paying your bills.
To begin, Arkansas has compulsory workers compensation laws, which means that an employer is generally obligated to provide workers compensation coverage. This also bars most employees from filing a personal injury suit against their employer. The reasoning behind prohibiting personal injury suits to be filed against employers is that these cases took months and years to reach their conclusion. Lawmakers in Arkansas generally found it to be more efficient for all parties if such accident and injury claims fell under the Workers Compensation Commission. Under this system, a claim is presented before an Administrative Law Judge, who will oversee the case and can provide certain forms of compensation. However, this can leave many injured workers with unpaid bills and damages. Because the type of damages available under the worker’s compensation laws is limited, turning to other sources for financial relief is often a viable route.
Since many industries rely on machinery and equipment, which are commonly provided by third parties, a worker who has been injured and cannot fully recover from their injuries under the workers’ compensation framework may be entitled to recovery from a third party.
Our Fayetteville Workplace Injury Attorney Can Help
If you find yourself injured from a workplace accident, do not face the worker’s compensation or court system on your own. Consider hiring an attorney who has been serving the Fayetteville area for over twenty years. We can provide aggressive representation for you, and help you recover for your high medical and hospital bills. Call us today for your confidential and free legal consultation at (479) 251-7767, and find out how we can help you.