Understanding Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Benefits after a Workplace Injury

You have worked hard for years if not for decades. During your career you have always been dedicated to developing and building your employer’s business by working hard and producing work that clients request by name. But maybe those years of dedication began to take a toll on your body and tasks that once seemed routine have become difficult or impossible to accomplish. Or perhaps while fulfilling your employment duties you suffered a traumatic event or workplace accident that inflicted catastrophic and debilitating injuries. These injuries caused you to have to stop working due to the pain and functional limitations. Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer ken Kieklak explains what can happen to your benefits.

When faced with a work injury, many Arkansans don’t know where to turn. The fact is that the state has a mandatory Workers’ Compensation program that requires most employers to obtain coverage or to become self-insured. While most applications proceed smoothly, a mistake or incorrect perception can result in a denial. Understanding the program basics can help you prepare for life after a serious injury.

When will I start receiving my Workers’ Compensation benefits?

The type of disability claim you file will largely determines how quickly you will receive benefits once you receive approval. There are two main types of disability claims. A medical only claim involves those claims where the disability persisted for 7 or less days and where only medical benefits are necessary. A lost time claim occurs when a worker has missed eight or more days of work. Compensation becomes payable on the ninth day of disability, but if you are disabled for two weeks or more benefits will be retroactively extended to your first day of missed work. Lost time claims apply for applications where temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits are payable.

Applicants generally will receive biweekly benefit payments. The benefits are paid at a rate of 66 and two-thirds of tour average weekly wage. However, if your average weekly wage exceeds limits set forth by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission, the amount will be reduced so as not to exceed the state maximum. Compensable medical expenses are, typically, reimbursed within 30 days of receipt.

For how long will I be able to receive these benefits?

Unfortunately there is no hard and fast answer for how long you specifically will receive Workers’ Compensation benefits because how long you receive benefits it dependent upon your healing and medical opinions. However, as a general rule, you will continue to receive benefits so long as you are still hearing and you are either partially or totally disabled. Benefits typically end when the physician determines that maximum medical improvement has been achieved. However, you may still be entitled to benefits for medication to maintain your condition or for medical devices to improve your ability to function.

Can I see my family doctor?

Some people are hesitant to apply for benefits because they are concerned about the medical treatment they will receive. While it is true that under Ark. Code Ann. §§11-9-508 and 11-9-514, that the employer has the right to choose a physician in most non-emergency situations. But it is also true that under Ark. Code Ann.  §11-9-514, a benefits claimant may file a petition with the AWCC for a one-time change of physician. In emergency situations there often isn’t time to determine your particular preferences so the injured worker will typically be brought to the neatest emergency room or hospital.

Workers’ compensation claim denied? Contact the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak

If your disability claim has been denied, if you are seeking a change of doctors or if you have other problems with your Workers’ Compensation claim the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak may be able to help. For more than 20 years we have fought on behalf of injured hard-working Arkansans. To schedule a free and confidential Workers’ Compensation consultation call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.