Work-related injuries don’t always happen suddenly, but can result from the stress of years of driving as a commercial truck driver. After driving long hours and millions of miles on the road you may find you are suffering from a repetitive stress injury. What can you do if you find you are now unable to work and now are straddled with increasing medical bills? Arkansas’ Workers’ Compensation system was designed to provide a remedy for workers who find they are suffering from a repetitive stress injury. However, the workers’ compensation process can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate especially when there wasn’t a traumatic injury. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney ensures that a trained professional helps you navigate through the process and increases your chances of receiving benefits. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law is highly experienced in working with employers and their insurance companies to negotiate and litigate workers’ compensation claims. We work for you, and don’t get paid unless you do.
Do I Qualify for Worker’s Compensation for a Repetitive Stress Injury?
The Workers’ Compensation system in Arkansas covers injuries resulting from workplace accidents, death, and occupational illnesses including repetitive motion injuries. When a worker’s injury is a result of their normal work duties either because they are exposed to unsafe conditions or because the work they do causes the injury they are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. It is important to remember, that it is the worker’s responsibility to report a work-related accident as soon as it happens.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must prove the following facts:
- First, you must show that you were injured during the course of your employment and that you were working at the time of the injury.
- Second, you must show that your injury happened because of work. You must show that working directly caused your injury or that working aggravated a pre-existing condition. Repetitive stress motion injuries may constitute as the type of injury that you may recover workers’ compensation benefits for.
- Third, you must show that you sustained a loss because of your injury. This means that you must have sustained a permanent loss of functions require medical treatment, or suffered a wage loss because of the injury you suffered on the job.
Proving these elements can be a difficult process, particularly if you cannot point to a specific date of your injury, but rather your injury resulted from years of driving long hours as a commercial truck driver. Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who understands the process and who knows how to obtain all the necessary documents increases your chance of receiving workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible. Your employer can deny a workers’ compensation claim for failing to prove any of the above-mentioned elements. Contact Ken Kieklak for counseling on what employers look for in analyzing workers’ compensation claims.
What is the Process for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Once a worker has reported their injury to their employer the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation code provides how a workers’ compensation claim must proceed. The process includes the following steps:
- Notice: Within ten days after a claim for compensation has been filed by an injured worker, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will notify the employer of the filing of the claim.
- Investigation and Hearing: After notice has been provided The Workers’ Compensation Commission will order an investigation and a hearing.
- At the hearing: Both the injured worker and the employer may present evidence supporting their claim and an attorney may represent each side.
- Order: After the hearing, an order denying the claim or making an award will be filed in the office of the commission, and a copy shall be sent by registered mail to both the worker and the employer or to their attorneys.
Not only can this process be overwhelming and complicated, but also failing to prove your injury during the hearing can be detrimental to you receiving workers’ compensation. Contacting an experienced workers’ compensation attorney increases your chances of succeeding in front of the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
An Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You Receive Benefits
Depending on the type of case and the type of injury there are different types of workers’ compensation benefits you may be entitled to receive. Some of the types of workers’ compensation benefits in Arkansas are:
- Treatment for Your Injury: Your employer’s insurance will pay for the health care necessary to treat your work-related injury. Treatment costs may include doctor appointments, hospital bills, and any other medical treatment you may require.
- Replacement Income: Perhaps the most important benefit to any commercial truck driver suffering from a repetitive stress injury is replacement income.
Replacement income benefits can fall into one of four categories:
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD): If the worker can still do some work, but cannot perform all of their employment duties, they may be entitled to receive 2/3 of the difference between their current wage and the average weekly wage they earned prior to their injury.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD): Weekly, an injured employee will be paid 2/3 of their average weekly wage prior to their injury while they recover from their injury or illness and cannot work in any capacity.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD): PPD applies when the employee’s injury will permanently affect them because of the loss of some body part or its function. Depending on the type of injury, compensation may continue for 450 weeks.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD): PTD may be paid when it is unclear whether the employee will ever be able to seek employment or work again because of the seriousness of their injury. Payment will be made weekly at 2/3 of their weekly wage prior to their injury or the onset of their illness.