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. If you were injured in a workplace accident in Fayetteville, you should speak with an experienced Fayetteville workplace injury attorney as soon as possible.
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, possesses over two decades of personal injury law experience, and he is here to help you through your workplace injury case. Our firm knows the many burdens that may arise after a workplace accident, and we are here to offer you the legal representation that you deserve. To schedule a free legal consultation with our Fayetteville, AR personal injury lawyer to discuss the details of your workplace injury, contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, at (479) 316-0438. You should also contact the firm online.
How to File a Workplace Injury Claim in Fayetteville, AR
In most situations, your options in a workplace injury claim will 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.
It is important to understand when an injury should be considered a work-related injury. Work-related injuries occur when an employee is performing a task related to their job. For example, if a worker is injured while operating heavy machinery, this would be considered a work-related accident.
Note, however, that not all accidents will be considered as work-related. For example, if an accident occurred while an employee is commuting to work, this will not be regarded as a work-related accident.
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. Our Fayetteville, AR Workers’ Compensation lawyer can guide you through this process.
What Kinds of Accidents Can Happen in the Workplace?
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 are discussed below.
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-threatening 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.
Occupational diseases are often common in workplaces where employees are exposed to dangerous chemicals like industrial plants. The frequent inhaling of toxic fumes can leave workers dealing with a wide range of injuries.
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 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 sorts 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 significant source of workplace injuries and typically require workers to miss three months of work depending on the location 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 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.
Whether chemical or heat can be common in some settings, especially ones that deal with welding, forging, or chemicals.
Because there is 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.
What You Should Do After a Workplace Accident in Fayetteville, AR
If you were injured in a workplace accident, there are several steps you should take to help you claim the Workers’ Compensation benefits you deserve.
One of the first steps you should take is to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. When receiving treatment, you should inform the medical staff about how your work injury happened. For example, if you were injured in a forklift accident and suffered a broken bone, informing the medical staff of the accident will help document the injury for your records.
After seeking medical treatment, you should inform your employer of how the accident occurred. Be sure to make a detailed report, including the date of the accident, the circumstances of the accident, and the injuries you suffered due to the accident.
Once you inform your supervisor how the accident occurred, they should notify the insurance company in order to make a Workers’ Compensation claim. The insurance company will typically require the injured employee to be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Usually, the insurance company for your employer will have a list of approved healthcare professionals that are qualified to evaluate your injuries. If you wish to be examined by a personal doctor, you should consult with your employer to determine whether the visit will be covered.
The healthcare professional selected by the insurance company should evaluate the severity of your injuries and how long it will take the employee to recover. This information will also be used to determine compensation benefits for the injured employee.
If your Workers’ Compensation claim is denied, you may still have other options. Our firm can help you seek an appeal for your workplace injury.
Who Is Responsible 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 about receiving workers’ comp benefits. In the event that you have sustained serious injuries while working, you should speak with a supervisor about 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 from being 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.
How Long Should I Wait to File My Workplace Injury Lawsuit in Fayetteville?
As mentioned, an injured worker must choose between filing a personal injury lawsuit against an employer or pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim. Our firm can help you examine the details of your case to decide whether you could earn more compensation from a successful personal injury lawsuit.
It is important to remember if you choose to file a workplace injury lawsuit instead of pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim, you should be aware that you only have a limited amount of time to file your case due to the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations places a deadline on the amount of time that a potential plaintiff has to file a lawsuit with a court of law. Additionally, the statute of limitations can change depending on the circumstances of the plaintiff’s case. As a result, it would be wise to avoid making any assumptions about the filing deadline for your case without consulting an experienced attorney first.
In the State of Arkansas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the date of the injury. When a lawsuit is not timely filed with the court, the court has the power to bar the claim forever. As a result, the plaintiff would be unable to seek compensation from their employer and would also be prevented from seeking damages in the form of Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Our Fayetteville, AR 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 Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today for your confidential and free legal consultation at (479) 316-0438 and find out how we can help you.