Arkansas’ workers’ compensation program supplies injured workers with two primary benefits: medical benefits and wage-loss benefits. These two benefits are available for most industries and most injury types, as long as the injury is severe enough to keep you from work.
If you or a loved one suffered an on-the-job injury or suffers from a work-related condition, talk to an attorney today about what benefits you may be entitled to in your workers’ compensation claim. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is a Fayetteville workers’ comp. benefits attorney with decades of experience handling cases for clients and their families. For a free consultation on your case, and for help calculating your benefits, contact Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.
Medical Benefits for Arkansas Workers’ Comp.
When you receive workers’ compensation, any medically necessary expenses should be covered. Your employer and their workers’ comp. insurance company are responsible for paying the medical bills for any workers who are injured on the job or who suffer from a work-related condition. However, there are some complications with this process.
First, you may be required to use a doctor that your employer chooses. This is part of the vetting process, where your employer uses a doctor they trust to confirm that you truly have a medical condition that prevents you from going back to work. Using this doctor should not affect your standard of care, and you may be entitled to use a doctor of your choice instead if you have a good justification for it.
Second, you are required to keep up with your medical care. Missing an appointment or failing to follow through with your treating physician’s treatment plan might mean having your benefits suspended or canceled.
If your employer or their doctor denies your medical condition, you may not be able to get medical benefits right away. Instead, you may need to fight this denial by taking your workers’ comp. case before the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) or an administrative law judge. Your attorney can help prove that you do have a condition that keeps you from returning to work and help you fight to get the medical care you need.
These benefits should cover all necessary treatment, including:
- Doctor’s visits,
- Imaging (X-Rays, MRIs, etc.),
- Medical devices (crutches, wheelchairs, etc.)
- Physical therapy,
- Vocational rehabilitation.
This list is not exhaustive, and you may be able to get other reasonably necessary treatments covered, too.
Wage-Loss Benefits for Workers’ Comp.
These are sometimes called “cash benefits,” and are paid every other week as replacement wages while you are injured. Workers’ compensation goes beyond getting you payments for medical care and also works to restore part of the wages you will miss while you recover from your injuries.
Arkansas primarily pays 66 2/3% of your normal weekly wages as wage-loss benefits. These are reduced from your standard wage, but at the same time, your medical expenses are covered and there is usually little to no wait time before these wages kick in. In general, you must wait 7 days before the benefits will begin, but if your injury keeps you from work for more than 14 days, you should be entitled to wage-loss benefits dating back to the first day after your injury.
The benefits you receive for lost wages have a minimum and maximum range. Though they are 66 2/3% of your average weekly wage, workers’ comp. guarantees they will pay at least $20 per week. However, there is also a maximum limit of $673 for 2018 (around 85% of the average weekly wages across Arkansas).
These benefits last for different lengths of time depending on your condition or injury. Many benefits are “scheduled,” meaning that a certain injury will match up with a certain length of benefits. These benefits are usually measured in a number of weeks for which workers’ comp. will pay you wage-loss benefits.
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).
Discuss Your Potential Arkansas Workers’ Comp. Benefits with a Fayetteville Workers’ Comp. Lawyer Today
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, offers free consultations on workers’ compensation cases. If your claims were denied, you need help applying for workers’ comp., or you think you are not receiving your full benefits, talk to an attorney today. To schedule a free consultation with Fayetteville workers’ comp. benefits lawyer Ken Kieklak, call (479) 316-0438 today.