When Must Arkansas Truck Drivers Report Workers’ Compensation Injuries to Employers?
Truck drivers are at high risk for workplace injuries. Their harsh working conditions and the environments they drive can cause injuries. Aside from the chance of accidents with other drivers or from bad weather, truck drivers experience other injuries on the job. Truck drivers may suffer joint pain and discomfort from loading their truck; whiplash; or strain on the back, neck, and hips from sitting for long periods. Trucking injuries may occur in an instant or develop and worsen over time.
If you get hurt on the job, it is up to you to report your injuries to your employer as soon as possible. To get the Workers’ Compensation benefits, and prompt medical treatment, you need to report your injuries. However, before reporting your injuries, it is important that you understand Arkansas’s Workers’ Compensation law and how it applies to you, and speak with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law handles workers’ comp. claims in Fayetteville and throughout Arkansas.
Workers’ Comp. for Truckers
According to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Committee:
“[W]orkers’ compensation covers accidental injuries which arise out of, and in the course of employment, cause internal or external harm to the body, are caused by a specific incident and are identifiable by time and place of occurrence.”
Regardless of the severity of your injury, you must report any work-related injuries to your employer. Whether it is a broken arm caused by a crash, a back injury from heavy lifting, or recurring wrist pain from holding the steering wheel, you must report it.
Even if you are at fault for your work-related injury, you may still be eligible for protection under Workers’ Compensation law. However, intentional self-injury or violation of a company policy will disqualify you. When injured on the job, note the time, place, and cause of your injury. Also track how your pain and injury change over time to effectively file all the details you need for your Arkansas workers’ comp. claim.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to help get you back on your feet, and back behind the wheel quickly. Benefits include partial wages for the time you are unable to work and the coverage of medical bills. That includes doctor’s visits, X-rays, prescriptions, surgery, and even hospital stays.
Filing a workers’ comp. claim for your trucking injuries can be difficult. If this is your first time filing, or your injuries are severe, you may want someone to do your application for you. Our lawyers can help you file your workers’ comp. claims. This can help ensure that you get coverage the first time you file. If an application is incorrect, lacks detail, or does not reference a condition that workers’ comp. covers, you may be denied coverage.
A Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help you fight denials, too. There are processes to appeal workers’ comp. denials, but most people may have trouble with this process. A lawyer can help you appeal your trucking injury claims and fight the Workers’ Compensation Committee or your employer’s insurance company’s denial.
What Does Workers’ Comp. Cover?
While nearly every Arkansan worker is protected under Workers’ Compensation law, there are exceptions. If you are unsure of your workers’ comp. coverage, check with your employer immediately. It is best to know what workers’ comp. covers in case you suffer a future injury. If you are unhappy with your employer’s coverage or find there is no coverage, you can contact the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Committee.
Many federal workers are excluded from Arkansas’ workers’ comp. system, and use the federal Workers’ Compensation system instead. Most truck drivers work for privately-owned companies, but mail truck drivers and drivers who work for any federal agency may be federal employees. Also, if you live in Arkansas, but the company you work for is in another state, your coverage might be through that state’s system instead of Arkansas’. State workers’ comp. coverage usually does not cover railroad workers or dock workers, but truck drivers are not typically excluded from this system.
Arkansas’ Workers’ Compensation system covers any injuries that are “work-related.” An “injury” does not need to be something like a wound, a broken bone, or a pulled muscle – though those are certainly “injuries.” For workers’ comp., “injury” also includes conditions that develop over time. Spending hours every day sitting in a truck cab can cause many conditions that develop over time. Tendonitis and carpal tunnel from gripping the steering wheel, sciatic nerve pain from operating pedals, and lower back and shoulder issues from sitting are all common among truck drivers. Injuries like these, that have no specific date and time of injury, should still be covered.
In any case, if you have doubt about your coverage, talk to a lawyer. Our firm offers free consultations for trucking injuries, or any other on-the-job injuries.
How Long do I Have to File for Workers’ Comp. in Arkansas?
You have up to two years after the incident to report your workplace injury. To better your chances of getting compensation, report your injury to your employer as soon as you can. When you are injured, filing a report may not feel like a top priority, but it can make your recovery process much easier and quicker. If you wait too long, your claim may be denied, you may receive less benefits, or it could take longer to get the medical help. Your employer also has the legal right to challenge your claim, which may prolong the process and threaten your access to your Workers’ Compensation benefits.
If you are injured at work, report your injury immediately. The process of receiving your workers’ comp. benefits can be long. Reporting your injury to your employer, filling out various claim forms, seeing a doctor, and waiting for approval of your Workers’ Compensation claim takes time. The sooner you get the process started, the better. With the help of an experienced Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer, you can expedite the claims process, get the support you need, and be sure that your claim is handled correctly every step of the way.
How Can You Increase the Likelihood of a Successful Workers’ Comp. Claim in Arkansas?
First, it is important to know your rights when it comes to Workers’ Compensation. Talk with your employer if you have any questions about your coverage. Second, do not wait to report your injury. If and when you get hurt on the job, it is imperative to move quickly to get the benefits you need and deserve. Workers’ compensation injury claims should be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Use enough details and evidence to support your claim. Finally, it is always a good idea to consult a worker’s compensation lawyer.
Failing to file your claim correctly, or leaving out important facts, could get your claim denied. To make sure that your claim is accepted, it is best to have an attorney help you file. Even if you were already denied, hiring an Arkansas Workers’ Compensation lawyer might help you appeal your claim.
For more than 20 years Ken Kieklak has fought for injured workers in and around Fayetteville, Arkansas who have been denied Workers’ Compensation benefits. To make sure your application gets you coverage or to fight a workers’ comp. denial call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online. Our lawyers offer free consultations on every case.
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