Victims of on-the-job injuries in Arkansas are often required to file their claim through workers’ compensation instead of a lawsuit. When they do so, they may be able to get their medical care and lost wages covered, which can make focusing on your recovery much easier. If you were injured, it is important to talk to a lawyer about protecting your claim, having your claim accepted, and fighting any denials.
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is a Johnson, AR workers’ compensation lawyer who may be able to help you with your claim. To set up a free legal consultation and learn more about how to file your claim and get the benefits you need, contact our law offices today at (479) 316-0438.
Filing for Workers’ Comp. in Arkansas
To get workers’ compensation benefits after being injured, you actually file your claim with your employer. While the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) creates rules and standards for workers’ compensation, you actually file your claim with your employer to get coverage.
When discussing your claim with your employer, you may be hesitant to reveal information about how the injury occurred. If your employer finds a hole in your story or thinks that your information is inaccurate, they may deny your claim. Your attorney can help present your case to your employer and their insurance provider in a manner that protects your claim and helps you get the benefits you need.
If your employer does deny your claim, you may need to appeal the case. In many cases, appealing your workers’ comp. claim means taking it to the AWCC for an outside opinion on whether you qualify. In some cases, you may take your case to an administrative law judge instead. In either case, there will likely be a hearing – similar to a trial – to hear evidence about how the accident occurred and how it was work-related. Your attorney can help present your case and fight to get you the workers’ comp. benefits you are owed.
Workers’ Comp. Benefits Available in Arkansas
Typically, workers’ compensation pays two main areas of benefits: wage-loss benefits and medical benefits. Wage-loss benefits cover the lost paychecks you face if your injury keeps you from going to work. These benefits cover 2/3 of your normal wage, but that reduction is mostly offset by the medical benefits. Medical benefits cover the full cost of any medical care related to your injury. This means that you will not need to pay for these costs out of pocket and should have your medical needs covered on an ongoing basis.
In many cases, injured workers and their families seek lump-sum settlements instead of ongoing benefits. These settlements typically allow the injured worker to receive the sum total of their benefits immediately rather than having them trickle in over the years. Your attorney can help you calculate what the total cost of your benefits will be, help raise it to the present value for those future payments, and help you understand whether that settlement is reasonable. Do not accept a settlement for workers’ comp. benefits before speaking with a lawyer about what your claim should be worth.
Qualifying Injuries for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Typically, any injuries that occur at work are covered by workers’ compensation in Arkansas. If your work site moves or you travel as part of your job, injuries away from your typical work site may also be covered even if the injuries were not technically received “at work” as long as the injuries were still related to your work. Moreover, injuries and conditions that develop over time should also be covered. This may include conditions like asbestosis, mesothelioma, cancer, repetitive stress injuries, tendonitis, back injuries, and other ongoing conditions.
Typically, there is no limitation on what injuries qualify for coverage. This means that you may be able to receive compensation for cuts, scrapes, and bruises as well as more serious back and head injuries, work-related illness, and other health conditions. As long as the injury or condition is related to your work and came about because of your work conditions, the injury should be covered by workers’ compensation.
Suing Instead of Using Workers’ Compensation
Typically, Arkansas law sets workers’ compensation as an “exclusive remedy” for workplace injuries. This means that you must use the workers’ compensation system if you were injured at work instead of filing a lawsuit or seeking compensation through another settlement or claim with your employer. There are exceptions to this rule, however, giving you an opportunity to sue instead of using workers’ comp.
Workers’ comp. coverage is required at nearly every employer, but if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may sue them instead. Additionally, workers’ comp. does not cover certain workers, such as independent contractors, so you may be able to sue if you are not covered. Some industries and employers are also exempt from workers’ compensation requirements, such as certain dock and rail workers and federal employees (e.g., postal workers, federal courthouse employees, and federal agency employees).
You may also sue for injuries if you were injured by a third party, such as a product manufacturer or a coworker who injured you through negligence or intentional injuries. You can also sue your employer if they intentionally injured you, such as in instances of workplace violence. Talk to a lawyer about the best method for filing your workplace injury case.
Call Our Johnson Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, may be able to handle your workers’ compensation claim. Our Johnson workers’ comp. lawyer represents injured workers and their families and works to file their claim and get them the workers’ comp. benefits they deserve. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (479) 316-0438.