Arkansas’ workers’ compensation law provides injured workers financial benefits if they were hurt during the course of their employment. Under this system, an injured worker only needs to prove that their injury occurred while they were working. Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, a hurt employee does not have to prove someone else was at fault. However, many claims present unforeseen challenges. Ken Kieklak is a Fayetteville, AR workers’ compensation attorney dedicated to assisting injured workers avoid many of the problems and hurdles associated with filing a claim. Below, we discuss the qualifications and potential issues with workers’ compensation claims in Arkansas.
What Does “During the Course of Employment” Mean in an Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Claim?
To qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, you must have been injured during the course of your employment. While this might appear to be a simple concept, it could be difficult to establish. Especially if you work off-site, after hours, or are otherwise doing something outside your regular scope of work.
Legally, the course of employment includes the period of time employees are engaged in their work. This period includes the time a worker takes to prepare for work on the employer’s premises, such as changing into work clothes. Therefore, if you are walking from your car to your place of employment, the injury might not qualify for benefits. However, when an employee has to travel to a different location, for example, an IT specialist working at a client’s place of business, an injury traveling from your car to the destination could entitle you to benefits.
Additionally, you must be engaged in duties required by your employment or on behalf of your employer. In many cases, injured workers have difficulty in proving this element. For example, if you are in a car accident while traveling to an off-site meeting, you could be covered. However, if you stop for lunch on your way to the meeting and are involved in an accident while in the parking lot, you were probably not engaged in duties related to your employment. Insurance companies will use this distinction to deny your claim.
There are other challenging situations where establishing that your injury occurred during the course of your employment requires an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyer. Recreational activities are often contested. For instance, if you break your ankle while at a company picnic or playing for an office softball team, you might qualify for benefits. However, if your activity was benefiting or at your employer’s request, your injury could be covered.
Similarly, if you were injured while going out for lunch it probably you are probably not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if your supervisor sent you out to pick up lunch for the office, then your injury should be covered.
Working with an experienced University of Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney will help you determine and prove that your injury occurred during the course of employment, especially if the insurance provider questions the validity of your claim.
Steps to Qualify a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Arkansas
If you fail to take the proper steps after an injury, you might not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Promptly reporting your injury to your supervisor or employer is a critical first step. Not only is this required, but any delay could also be used to deny your claim. If you were injured on a Friday afternoon but waited until Monday to report the incident, an insurance company could argue that your injury occurred over the weekend.
If necessary, you should seek immediate medical attention if you are injured. However, under Arkansas law, your employer or their insurance provider has the right to pick the doctor. If you decide to see another doctor, you might not qualify for benefits. When an injured worker wants to change doctors, they should talk with an Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney so that the appropriate paperwork is filed correctly.
Following through with any prescribed medical treatment is vital to qualify for and continue to receive benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits are usually provided until you are able to return to work. If you are ignoring your medical treatment, then you might no longer be eligible for financial compensation. Additionally, if an injured worker finds other employment, they will no longer qualify for benefits. You should speak with our Washington County, AR workers’ compensation attorney before making any decisions about discontinuing medical treatment or taking another position.
Common Qualifying Injuries for Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas
The difficulty in some workers’ compensation claims is determining when and how the injury occurred. Once you have established that an injury happened during the course of your employment, you should qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The type of injury usually does not matter. However, if you believe the approved doctor has misdiagnosed or failed to acknowledge the severity of your injury, contact our Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney.
In many cases, the type of injury is dependant on the work that a person does. Some jobs, such as construction, tend to have more significantly serious injuries. However, someone who is sitting behind a desk is also subject to injury. Some typical injuries that occur in the workplace include slip and fall accidents, cuts, repetitive motion injuries, muscle strains, fractures, and, in some cases, wrongful death. If you have any questions regarding whether your type of injury should be covered, contact an experienced Fayetteville, AR back injury workers’ compensation attorney.
Call Our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Determine if Your Injury Qualifies for Benefits
Workers’ compensation laws were enacted to provide injured employees financial benefits for their medical expenses and lost income if they were hurt on the job. Qualifying for these benefits only requires showing that an individual was injured during the course of their employment. However, some cases are more challenging than others. Ken Kieklak, an Arkansas workers compensation lawyer, is committed to helping injured employees receive the benefits they require and deserve. Call our office at (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free consultation.