Suffering an injury while working can be a stressful experience. Workers’ compensation is supposed to be the safety net for workers who are injured on the job. However, a denial of workers’ comp benefits can make life hard for an injured employee. A denial of workers’ comp benefits would mean a worker has to handle medical bills and many other bills without a source of income from their employer. An injured employee should not have to shoulder the weight of mounting expenses because they were unfairly denied workers’ comp benefits.
If you or a family member was injured while working and was denied Workers’ Compensation benefits, you should speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer. Springdale Workers’ Compensation appeals lawyer Ken Kieklak can help you appeal your denied benefits. To schedule a free consultation on your case, call us at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.
Why Was My Workers’ Comp Claim Denied?
The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) is the state agency that handles workers’ comp claims. The AWCC ensures that employers have insurance coverage for their workers and deals with appeals if your workers’ comp claim has been denied by your employer’s insurer. Most employers in Arkansas with three or more employees are required by law to have Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for their employees.
There are several reasons why a workers’ comp claim may be denied. One common reason for a denial of benefits is because an employee did not timely notify the employer of their injury or illness. If you are injured while working, your first action should be to notify your employer. Your employer should then notify the insurance carrier for the company. The insurance carrier may arrange for you to consult with a particular doctor or healthcare provider who will assess your injuries. If you refuse to visit a doctor that your employer chooses to evaluate your injuries, your workers’ comp benefits may be denied.
Workers’ comp claims may also be denied if an employer or their insurance carrier alleges that your injury or illness was not work-related or was preexisting. Insurance carriers fear that workers may try to fake or claim injuries that happened off duty as work-related injuries. Additionally, insurance carriers can allege that you did not observe the employer’s safety equipment or safety protocols. Being intoxicated when you suffer a work injury may also invalidate your workers’ comp claim.
Another reason for a denial of benefits can be a simple administrative error. For example, an employer may believe that you were not working on the day you were injured or that you reported an incorrect date of your injury. This is why it is important to document any work injuries. If an employer is confused about the details of your injury, they may deny a workers’ comp claim. Simple administrative mistakes are typically easy to fix.
Workman’s Compensation Appeals Process in AR
If your workman’s compensation claim has been denied or you believe the amount of your benefits is inadequate, you may be able to appeal the decision. The appeals process in Arkansas can be complicated, with many rigid policies and deadlines for an injured person to memorize.
The AWCC accepts appeal submissions for denied workman’s comp benefits. If you wish to file an appeal for denied benefits, the AWCC should be informed within two years for a work injury and within one year of a workplace illness.
Once you file an appeal with the AWCC, they will assign you an administrative law judge who will oversee your claim and judge whether the insurer’s reason for denying compensation was valid. The hearing will give you an opportunity to present your case. It is a good idea to hire an experienced workman’s comp attorney for the hearing as the employer’s insurer will almost certainly have one. It is also a good idea to bring essential pieces of documentation, such as:
- Documents proving you were at work when the injury or illness occurred,
- Medical reports from the doctor who treated your injury or illness, and
- Medical bills showing how much money the work injury has cost you.
If you disagree with the administrative law judge’s decision during the hearing, you can appeal his or her decision as well. The appeal hearing will be adjudicated by a panel of judges appointed by the AWCC.
Springdale, AR Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help Appeal Your Benefits Denial
If you or a family member was injured at work and is having trouble securing workers’ comp benefits, you should consult with an experienced Springdale workers’ comp attorney. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law understands how important it is for injured workers to receive benefits and will work tirelessly to fight for your benefits. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at (479) 316-0438, or reach us online.