Agricultural work is some of the most physically demanding work there is. Whether you are a farmer yourself, or another farmworker, you could face serious injuries on the job. Agriculture is the largest industry in Arkansas, responsible for bringing in approximately $16 billion to Arkansas’ economy, yearly. With over 14.5 million acres of farmland to work in the state, farm workers are spread thin and are responsible for many different tasks at work.
If you were injured on the job, you may be too injured to get back to work. Without your paycheck, you may not be able to support yourself or your family. Luckily, the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) provides injured workers throughout the state with help. For help with your workers’ comp. application, talk to a workers’ compensation attorney. Fayetteville workers’ comp lawyer Ken Kieklak helps injured workers get compensation for their work-related injuries. This can help cover the medical care and lost wages you need to keep going after a work injury.
Arkansas Farmworkers’ Injury Compensation
If you were injured at work, you may have options to get compensation for your injuries. Historically, the only way to recover damages for your injuries would be to take your employer to court. When this happens, you need to prove that they were somehow “negligent” – that your injuries were caused by your employer’s careless behavior. Today, the AWCC makes things much easier. If you were injured at work, you may be able to recover compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation plan without being required to prove fault.
When you apply for workers’ comp., you apply through the state’s Worker’s Comp. Commission, not a court. They manage your application, certify that your injury is work-related, then pass the torch to your employer and their workers’ comp. insurance company to handle payments.
These payments may cover medical care and lost wages, but there are limitations. First, your employer or their insurance company needs to approve medical care. The best way to ensure that your medical care will be covered is to get pre-approval for any procedures. This includes imaging like MRIs and X-Rays, surgery, and other procedures. This may require using a doctor your employer chose. Additionally, Arkansas’ workers’ comp laws only require employers to pay 2/3 (around 66%) of your typical wage while you are unable to work. These lost wages will only be covered if you will miss more than 14 days of work, and may not begin to be paid until the 8th day after your injury (after the first week).
Qualifying for Workers’ Comp as an Agricultural Worker
Arkansas’ workers’ compensation system covers employees when they are injured at work. This means that many farmers and farm owners may not be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you are an employer or a private contractor, you may still be able to seek compensation for workplace injuries caused by faulty equipment or serious errors that other workers make on the job.
In order to qualify for workers’ comp, you must be employed by a company or employer in Arkansas. If you work out of state, you may need to use that state’s workers’ compensation system instead. Additionally, if you work for the federal government, you may not qualify for state benefits. Some railroad and other shipping workers clearly work within the agricultural community, but are excluded from Arkansas’ workers’ comp. They must use the federal workers’ comp. system instead.
Lastly, your injury must be “work-related.” This clearly includes workplace injuries received while on-duty, but also includes long-term conditions or diseases that are caused by work conditions. Repetitive bending and lifting can cause serious injuries, as can the heavy machinery used in farming.
Why Hire a Workers’ Comp. Lawyer in Arkansas?
Since you have to apply for workers’ compensation, there is always a chance your claim may be denied. When this happens, you may need an attorney to fight for you to get the compensation you need. The AWCC may appoint your case to a judge to handle appeals and denials. When this happens, you may need an attorney to get the proper evidence of your injury to court. One reason for denial may be that the injury does not seem work-related, and it may require evidence to show you received the injury because of your work tasks.
Arkansas workers’ comp. attorney Ken Kieklak can help with your initial application, as well. This can help avoid denials, and ensure that your application contains all of the information it needs to get your workers’ comp. benefits approved on the first try.
Arkansas Agricultural and Farm Worker Workplace Injury Attorney
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, may be able to help you if you were injured at work. Ken is a workers’ compensation and workplace injury lawyer in Fayetteville who helps injured workers get compensation for their work-related injuries. If you are out of work because of an injury, call Ken Kieklak today for a free consultation on your workers’ compensation application. Our number is (479) 316-0438.