Are Workplace Injuries on the Decline in Arkansas?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 there were 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses that were reported by private industry employers. While this amounted to a rate of 3.0 injured workers for every 100 full-time workers, this number has still reflected a decline in the amount of injuries overall with 48,000 fewer cases being reported in 2015 as compared to 2014.

While some industries are considered to be inherently dangerous, many of these industries also saw a decline in their injury rate. In fact, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued in late October of this year, six of the 19 private industry sectors reported a decline in the rate of injuries and illnesses in 2015:

  • Mining,
  • Quarrying,
  • Oil and gas extraction,
  • Manufacturing,
  • Transportation,
  • Warehousing,
  • finance and insurance,
  • Health care and social assistance,
  • Accommodation,
  • Food services,

However, while there has been an overall decline in the number of workers who sustain nonfatal injuries in the workplace, over one-half of all injuries that were reported in 2015 required the worker to miss days from work, transfer to another job or position, or if they were able to return to work were required to do so with restrictions.

Common Workplace Injuries in Arkansas

According to the data set forth by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers all across the country were less at risk for nonfatal workplace injuries. However, with an estimated 2.9 million injuries already reported for the year, injuries are still common.  According to the Arkansas Department of Labor previous reports, there were an estimated 5,260 nonfatal occupational injuries in 2014, which is the last year that a report was made available to the public.  Among the most common injury types according to this report were sprains, strains, and fractures.

  • Sprains and strains – Sprains and strains were by far the largest injury type amongst workers in Arkansas. These accident types which caused many workers to miss time from work, and have restrictions upon their return accounted for nearly 38 percent of all nonfatal occupational injuries in 2014.
  • Fractures – Fractures were the second most common injury type in Arkansas and accounted for nearly fifteen percent of all other injuries in the state.

In addition to these common injury types, injuries to the shoulder, arm, wrists, and hands were the most commonly injured body parts.

Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Laws

While reports indicate that the number of accidents and injuries are on the decline, those workers who have sustained an injury are not likely to find comfort in the fact that Arkansas has an injury rate that is slightly lower than the national average. If a worker is injured in Arkansas, then they are likely able to recover Workers’ Compensation payments while they are unable to work. Employers who employ more than three workers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation coverage. Contacting a Fayetteville AR workers’ comp lawyer can help you get justice in these cases.

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However, Workers’ Compensation is not available to everyone and requires that an injured worker first qualify. To qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits, you must prove the following facts:

First, a worker who has sustained an injury must demonstrate that they were injured in the course of your employment and were working at the time of the injury. Many times people will suffer an injury at home or in another setting and subsequently apply for Workers’ Compensation only to have their claim denied because they were not injured at work.

Second, an injured worker must produce evidence that their injury happened because of work. More specifically, a worker must demonstrate that the injury was directly caused by working or working aggravated a pre-existing condition. The mere fact that a worker was injured while at work is insufficient to support Workers’ Compensation payments. Rather, your work must have caused or contributed to the injury.

Third, you must show that you sustained a loss. This means you must have sustained a wage loss, a permanent loss of function, or require medical treatment for the injury you suffered on the job.

The benefits received from Workers’ Compensation vary depending on the specific case. However, a Workers’ Compensation claimant has the possibility of obtaining the following benefits:

Medical Expenses—If you otherwise qualify for Workers’ Compensation, then one hundred percent of your medical expenses that are related to your injury will be covered.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)—If your injury requires you to take time off to heal, you are entitled to weekly wage loss benefits. Workers’ compensation payments will be issued in the of two-thirds of your average gross weekly pay.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)—Permanent Partial Disability consists of payments for an anatomical impairment rating given you by your treating doctor. The amount of these payments depends on upon the body part impaired and how this impairment will impact your life.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)—If your injury leaves you unable to work permanently, you are entitled to Workers’ Compensation for life. Similar to TTD, the compensation amount is two-thirds of your average gross weekly pay.

Wage Loss Differential—If your injury leaves you unable to perform your current job and you are forced to take a lower-paying job, you are entitled to compensation for your decrease in pay. The amount of compensation is no more than two-thirds of the difference between your current and former average, gross, weekly wage.

Survivor Benefits—If a worker is killed on the job, his dependent heirs may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Injuries may be on the decline nationwide, but this doesn’t mean that those who are injured in Arkansas don’t have the right to recover compensation for their workplace injuries.

Have You Been Injured at Work? Speak With an Arkansas Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured while at work, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. For more than 20 years, Arkansas Workers’ Compensation attorney Ken Kieklak has fought for hard-working Arkansans who are injured on the job. To schedule your free and confidential initial consultation, call (479) 316-0438 or contact us online today.