Many people are kept awake at night wondering what will happen to their family and home should they become injured at work and be unable to continue working. However, a workplace injury does not necessarily mean you will experience the terrible impacts on your finances that many people expect. However, to avoid the worst case scenario an injured individual should avail themselves of the Workers’ Compensation program in Arkansas and other state and federal disability benefits.
It is essential to understand that workers do not have to purchase their own insurance nor should they pay for the plan – these things should be handled by the employer. In fact, an individual will probably not interact with the Workers’ Compensation program unless he or she develops an occupational disease like asbestosis or suffers a work injury.
Ken Kieklak of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has helped hard-working Arkansans navigate the Workers’ Compensation system following a serious injury. He can assist you in navigating the rules, processes and procedures that make up the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation system. Ken Kieklak fights for hard-working people who have experienced difficult circumstances.
Which workers are eligible to receive coverage in Arkansas?
According to information provided by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Committee, most workers in the state should be covered by a Workers’ Compensation policy. Arkansas state law requires employers to obtain insurance coverage or self-insurance approval if they employ three or more individuals. However those employed in domestic help positions, agricultural farm labor, or Arkansans employed by non-profit, religious, charitable or relief organizations are not covered. Furthermore workers like railroad employees and maritime workers are not covered by the Arkansas law, because they receive benefits through a federal program which preempts state law.
What types of benefits are available to injured workers?
Workers can receive benefits for medical expensise, rehabilitation, and lost wages for physical injuries and qualifying mental injuries under the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation program. Compensation for medical expenses can include doctor’s bills, diagnostic tests, prescription medications, hospital bills and other medical expenses. Covered rehabilitative care may include physical therapy, rehabilitative therapies, and medical devices like a neck brace or a wheelchair. However, an injured individual should always seek pre-approval of medical care as failure to do so may risk the service or device not being covered.
As for wages lost due to a disability or injury, an injured worker does not become eligible for compensation for lost wages unless:
- It is approved by the company or insurance physician
- 7 full-days following the day of your injury have elapsed
If temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are awarded, it is typically at a tax-free 66 and two-thirds percent of the worker’s average weekly wage. Wages from the first 7 full-days following the day of the injury are not eligible for compensation unless the disability exists for at least 14 days following the day of injury.
Can I receive Workers’ Compensation benefits in Arkansas?
As a starting point, Arkansans should understand that the AWCC is not an insurance company. So, absent a dispute, your dealings with the AWCC should be minimal. Rather, the AWCC is state regulatory body that is charged with investigating and enforcing Arkansas Workers’ Compensation laws.
The commencement of a Workers’ Compensation claim almost always begins with the injured worker reporting the injury to his or her employer. You should always strive to report injuries as quickly as it is possible. Once you have reported your injury, your employer will make the insurance company aware of the incident by filing a First Report of Injury or Illness with its Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier
After the First Report of Injury or Illness is received by the insurance carrier, it is not uncommon to be asked to submit to a physical exam by the company doctor. While there are procedures in place to request a different doctor, an injured individual should always comply with all instructions and should not miss any scheduled appointments. Failure to comply with requests may result in your benefits being delayed or denied.
While the circumstances for each and every claim are unique, barring unusual circumstances or non-compliance, you should receive your first benefit payment in around 14 days. While many benefits claims are processed routinely, some applications may be objected to by your employer or its insurance carrier. A preliminary mediation conference, which can be arranged by the AWCC, can often resolve matters informally while avoiding litigation expenses. However, in some cases a formal claim may need to be opened. To open a formal Workers’ Compensation claim, you or your attorney must complete and file a Claim for Compensation – Form C (AR- C) with the AWCC. All claims must be filed within 2 years of your injury date or they will be considered to be not compensable.
Put a Rogers, Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Work for You
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak of the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak has fought for hard-working Arkansans who are injured at work. To schedule your free and confidential initial consultation, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.