Workers’ compensation in Arkansas can usually pay for your medical expenses if you are too injured to return to work, but workers’ comp. also usually pays injured workers a continuing wage while they recover. The amounts paid and the duration of these payments are often confusing, but a Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you understand what benefits you should be entitled to through your workers’ comp. claim.
If you or a loved one was injured in a workplace accident in Arkansas, talk to Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law today. Ken represents injured workers and their families in Workers’ Compensation claims, fighting to help these families get wage loss benefits to so they can support themselves and their families. For a free consultation on your case, call Fayetteville wage loss claims lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.
Replacement Wage Claims Through Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas
If you were injured in a workplace accident or are suffering from a work-related medical condition, you may be entitled to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. In fact, in most cases, you must file a Workers’ Compensation claim rather than seek compensation through an insurance claim or a lawsuit. It may not be immediately obvious how powerful workers’ comp. benefits are in Arkansas, so it is important to understand what you might be entitled to through a workers’ comp. claim.
First, Workers’ Compensation is designed to pay for your medical expenses and help treat your injuries or medical conditions. This treatment may come from a doctor chosen by your employer or their workers’ comp. insurance carrier, but that should not affect the quality of the medical care you receive. Instead, this process ensures that you continue to receive your necessary care and that you are okayed to return to work as soon as you are well enough.
While you are too injured to work, you may not have the income to support yourself and your family. Especially if you are the sole provider for your household, you could be without income for a prolonged period. While you may be able to file with insurance or file a lawsuit in court in some situations, these cases may take some time to resolve.
Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, is often a quick process that can start getting you benefits within weeks. There is usually a 7-day waiting period where you cannot receive missed wages, but if you are out of work for more than 14 days because of your injury, you should promptly receive wages dating back to your first day after your injury or illness started.
These benefits usually pay a limited amount less than your normal wage, but can continue for a prolonged period intended to give you time to recover from your injuries or illness.
How Much Does Workers’ Comp. Pay for Lost Wages?
The wages that you receive from workers’ comp. are heavily dependent on your normal wages. Typically, you can get 66 2/3% of your average weekly wages paid through Workers’ Compensation when you are unable to work. This pays a minimum of $20 and a maximum value tied to the average weekly wages across Arkansas. In 2018, the maximum weekly wage is $673, which is approximately 85% of the weekly average wage in Arkansas ($791.34).
Wage-loss benefits, as these are called, are paid every other week. These expenses go straight to you as the recipient and are not required to be used for medical expenses or any other care. Instead, these benefits can be used just like your normal paycheck would – to pay the bills, to buy groceries, or for whatever else the benefits can provide. While 66 2/3% of your normal paycheck might mean having to tighten your budget, it is important to remember that your medical expenses are covered separately through workers’ comp. This means that you should not typically have to use your wage-loss benefits to pay for any necessary medical care, freeing up funds.
The length of time you receive benefits for depends on your injuries and conditions. There are many “scheduled” awards, which result in specific payments for defined lengths of time based on the injury you face. Many of these are scaled such that a more serious injury with a longer expected recovery time means wages for a longer time period. The length of benefits are usually measured in weeks.
There are also special rules for permanent disabilities and “partial” disabilities, which affect only certain areas (e.g. permanent hearing loss in one ear or the loss of a leg). With permanent partial disabilities (PPD), you may be able to return to work, but with limitations. Workers’ comp. rates are often paid in smaller amounts to reflect that your disability is partial.
Permanent injuries have a slightly different system. In many cases, even permanent, total disability has its limitations. The rate may be reduced or the overall length of the benefits may be capped. If your condition is permanent but does not totally disable you, you may also be entitled to reduced long-term benefits. Without full disability, the benefits may be scaled back to compensate you only for the lost use of your body or a body part. This kind of “permanent partial disability” (PPD) usually comes into play when you lose one limb or your injury places limitations on your range of movement or work abilities (e.g. you lost function in one hand or can no longer lift more than 50 pounds because of your injury).
Arkansas Workers’ Comp. Lawyer for Wage Loss Benefits and Workers’ Comp. Claims in Fayetteville
If you or a loved one suffered a workplace injury or cannot return to work because of a job-related illness or condition, talk to an attorney today. You might be able to seek medical care through Workers’ Compensation. This should cover your medical bills and pay you ongoing wages. For a free consultation on your case, contact Fayetteville wage loss benefit lawyer Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.