Workers’ compensation is designed to help workers get back on their feet after a workplace injury or work-related health condition. Nearly every employer in Arkansas is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employers’ healthcare needs and lost wages while they recover from injuries. If you or a loved one was injured at work and needs coverage for your medical bills and lost wages, talk to our Harris, AR workers’ compensation lawyer today for help filing your case.
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, can help you file your workers’ comp. claim and get the benefits you need to help support your family and pay for the cost of your medical care. For help filing your claim or for help fighting denials and problems with your case, contact our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Arkansas
Arkansas’ workers’ compensation is required to cover medical bills for injured workers as well as ongoing lost wages. The coverage for medical bills should pay for any and all medical care related to the accident. When you seek workers’ comp. benefits, your employer or their insurance company may give you a list of doctors to choose from, and any care they recommend should be paid for in full. Although your healthcare may come from a doctor you did not choose, you are still entitled to appropriate levels of care. In addition, you may be entitled to ongoing wages covering 2/3 of your normal wages for a set period of time.
The initial care you receive at the emergency room should be covered regardless of whether your workers’ comp. claim is later accepted, so you should not worry about seeking care for your initial issue. After your case is accepted, any care related to the injury or illness should also be covered, including ongoing or future care after you return to work.
Lost wages are typically paid at 2/3 of the normal wages you receive. In most cases, you will not receive payments for your first few days of missed work, but any missed work lasting longer than 14 days should entitle you to wage-loss damages. The specific injury you faced will typically dictate how long you receive benefits for, with each injury having a “scheduled” number of weeks you will receive benefits for. Permanent injuries that affect only a part of your body, such as loss of a limb, result in replacement wages for a prolonged period, but these will eventually stop. Permanent, total injury will typically result in ongoing wages for the rest of your life.
Talk to a lawyer about what benefits you are entitled to to make sure that you are not shorted or cut off too early.
Suing for Workplace Injuries Instead of Using Workers’ Compensation
In most cases, workers’ compensation in Arkansas is an “exclusive remedy.” This means that filing for workers’ compensation benefits may be the only way under the law to recover compensation for your injuries and medical care. This prohibits personal injury lawsuits for work-related injuries in most cases, but there are exceptions where you may be able to handle your case in court instead of through workers’ comp.
Workers’ compensation requires most employers to carry workers’ comp. insurance to cover these kinds of injuries. If your employer does not carry insurance as required, you can typically sue them instead. You may also be able to sue your employer or file through a different, federal system if you work in certain railway jobs or longshoreman jobs or if you work for a federal agency or department.
You can also typically sue for injuries if your injuries were caused by a third party. This is common in instances where you are injured on the job by a piece of defective equipment, including machinery, power tools, safety gear, or other defective or dangerous products. Defective product injuries generally allow you to sue the product manufacturer, even if the injury was work-related and would otherwise fall under workers’ comp.
You will not be covered by workers’ comp. in many instances where you work as an independent contractor, short term employee, or seasonal employee. In these cases, you may be able to sue for injuries instead.
Whenever you file a lawsuit instead of filing with workers’ compensation, you must prove the injuries you suffered and prove how your employer or another party was at fault for these injuries. With workers’ comp., you do not need to prove fault and can seek compensation without this kind of evidence. However, as a trade-off, some damages may be blocked in workers’ compensation claims, such as pain and suffering damages. Talk to a lawyer about what route to recovery is best and what options are available in your case.
Qualifying for Workers’ Comp. in Arkansas
Workers’ compensation coverage typically applies to any work-related injuries or conditions. This means that you can typically apply for and receive benefits for acute injuries, long-term conditions, cancer, and other illnesses and conditions as long as they are related to your work. Workers’ compensation coverage kicks in from your first day on the job, so there is no need to work for a certain length of time first before you can qualify for benefits. Moreover, your employer pays for workers’ compensation, so there is no need to pay dues to cover these benefits.
Call Our Harris Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was injured at work or suffers from a work-related health condition, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today. Ken Kieklak is a Harris workers’ comp. lawyer who may be able to help you file your case, fight denials, and work to get the benefits you and your family need after a workplace injury. For a free legal consultation, call Ken Kieklak today at (479) 316-0438.