Serving clients in Fayetteville and all of NW Arkansas
If you or someone you know is considering filing a workers’ compensation claim due to coronavirus in Arkansas, we can help. Our Fort Smith, AR COVID-19 workers’ compensation lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can provide assistance during this challenging time. There are many things you should consider before filing your claim, and our attorney can help walk you through those considerations.
We can help you understand what to expect from your case and discuss how to proceed with your claim. Call our law offices today and let us help you during this time. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our experienced attorney today by calling (479) 316-0438.
Qualifying for Workman’s Comp for COVID-19 and Coronavirus in Fort Smith, AR
COVID-19 has become a significant concern for everyone in the United States. As of today, millions are battling this terrible disease. Many hard-working Arkansans wonder what will happen with them while they are out of work due to the coronavirus. This is especially true for those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and still need to provide for their families.
If you contracted coronavirus in Arkansas, you may wonder if you can get the benefits provided by the workers’ compensation system. Generally, you can get assistance from this system if you get injured or develop a condition at the workplace. However, with the arrival of coronavirus, you may wonder if this illness can be covered under the workman’s comp rules.
Under Arkansas’ workers’ compensation rules, you need to meet specific requirements to get coverage. To be eligible for your workers’ compensation benefits, you need to be part of a workman’s comp insurance policy. Every employer is required by law to provide their employees with workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer refuses to provide you with insurance, you might be entitled to sue them instead for any on-the-job injury or occupational disease.
It is essential to understand there are also certain categories of employees that don’t qualify for workers’ compensation coverage under Arkansas’ plan. If you are a railroad worker, domestic employee, or an agricultural worker, you may be eligible to get compensation from a separate insurance program. If you belong to these or any other exempted category of employees, get assistance from our Fort Smith workman’s comp attorney to learn about whether you can sue instead of filing workers’ comp.
An essential part of your qualifying process is that your injury or illness must have occurred within the scope of your work. The workers’ compensation program will not cover any accident, injury, or illness you develop outside of your workplace. You are also required to provide your employer with timely notification of your injury or occupational disease. Under the workers’ compensation rules, you have up to thirty days from the moment of your injury, to notify your employer about your accident or illness.
Will COVID-19 be compensable under Arkansas workers’ compensation system? The answer to this question is not yet clear. We will discuss this subject more below.
Workers’ Compensation for COVID-19 Essential Workers in Fort Smith, AR
Arkansas workers’ compensation policies do not have any specific guidelines saying that COVID-19 is indeed covered. Generally, the system will only provide coverage for an illness developed within the scope of your work. In other words, any disease you develop outside the workplace may not be covered by the system. COVID-19 may be seen to be an “ordinary disease of life,” the same as the flu. This can be problematic, especially for those who are out of work due to this terrible disease. However, contracting a disease at work should still entitle you to coverage.
Some workers may have a shot at getting compensation from the workers’ compensation system. For instance, nurses, doctors, and EMTs are exposed continuously to COVID-19 as part of their everyday jobs. These workers may qualify under the requirements established by the workman’s comp system. In other words, if you are a healthcare professional and contracted the disease as part of your everyday duties while on duty, you may be eligible for compensation.
Under Arkansas Code Annotated 11-9-601(e)(2), you may not get compensation for any contagious or infectious disease unless it was contracted in the course of your employment. This could include healthcare workers, but it might also include workers in other “essential” roles during the pandemic, potentially expanding to those who were made sick from clients, customers, or coworkers while they continued to work at meatpacking plants, warehouses, or other essential jobs. Our Fort Smith, AR workers’ compensation attorneys can help you determine the best course of action in your case and determine whether you should be eligible for compensation.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Fort Smith, AR for Coronavirus
Filing your workers’ compensation claim begins with the notification. Proper, timely notification is critical. If you fail to notify your employer within the established limit of thirty days, you may lose your chances of getting your benefits. Once you deliver your written notification to your employer, they should provide you with the necessary forms to formally submit your claim.
Make sure to submit complete and accurate information. The last thing you’d want is to delay your claim because they need additional information. Our attorneys can help with this step.
Once you finish filling out your form, deliver it to your employer. Once your employer gets your completed forms, they will submit your claim to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. It is up to the Commission to either approve or deny your claim.
Keep in mind the Workers’ Compensation Commission can deny your claim for different reasons. For instance, your claim may be rejected if the Commission concludes your illness developed outside the workplace or if you provided false information in your claim. Our Fort Smith, AR workers’ compensation lawyers can help you make an informed decision on your claim and provide full, accurate information to the Commission. We can also help appeal any denials.
Fort Smith, AR COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Attorney Offering Free Consultations
If you or someone you know is looking to file their workers’ compensation claim in Fort Smith, AR due to coronavirus, we can help. Our Fort Smith, Arkansas COVID-19 workers’ compensation lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can help you understand your situation and whether you qualify for compensation. To learn more about our services and how we can further assist you, call our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.