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Can I Claim Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas If I Need Serious Surgery?

If you have seriously injured your back at work and now require surgery, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In some instances, the type of injuries sustained and whether or not they are compensable depends on the circumstances of the injury. At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we go over all the details of your accident and medical treatments and discuss everything with you to allow you to make informed decisions.

We have handled cases where the insurance provider and/or the employer declined to do what they are required to do by law. Insurance providers are notorious for avoiding paying out too much, deciding that serious surgery is not merited, and arguing it is unnecessary. When you face surgery and a situation where the insurance company is difficult, contact our office for help.

Types of Back Injuries Requiring Surgery

A back injury may end up being exhausting, painful and restrictive. Back injuries affect every single part of your life. Several types of back injuries may require surgery. They include:

• Fractured spine – Spinal fractures are often caused by a fall from scaffolding or other construction accidents. This may involve spinal fusion when two or more bones are joined together to stabilize the spine.
• Spinal stenosis – Is caused by a spinal cord narrowing that injures and irritates the spinal cord nerves. This may involve surgery in the form of a laminectomy – removing the bone surrounding the spinal canal.
• Herniated discs – This usually requires surgery in the form of a discectomy. The ruptured part of the disc is removed to relieve inflammation and pain. This may involve removing part of a vertebra to reach the disc.

It is necessary to know that a pre-existing chronic back condition, such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, can be aggravated by a back injury that occurs at work, and the pain increases for your existing condition. You could still be covered for back surgery, especially if your pre-existing condition was asymptomatic before the injury.

Triggering the Workers’ Compensation Process

If you have sustained a back injury at work, you must report it as soon as possible. Report it in writing and verbally and keep detailed notes of the accident’s time, place and other details. Your claim could be turned down if you do not report the injury according to the employer’s stipulated process.

Once you have reported the injury, make sure to seek medical attention with the doctor authorized by the employer. In Arkansas, it is the law that if you do not cooperate with the authorized medical provider, your claim could be denied. 

To have your back surgery covered by workers’ compensation, you must get a recommendation from a company-approved doctor. Keep all receipts, reports and test results relating to your back injury. If you can, take pictures of the accident site and your injuries and provide the names of anyone who can verify your accident. Any extra information you can provide to include with your claim when it is filed is beneficial in the long run. 

Although workers’ compensation is intended to cover all reasonable, necessary medical costs, including back surgery, there are reasons why this may be denied. They include:

• The insurance company and/or employer say the injury was not related to work.
• A doctor that the company does not approve recommended surgery.
• The insurance company and/or employer say the injury was not related to work.
• The worker did not follow other recommended medical treatments to control the pain.
• The insurance company thinks the surgery is not required, given the nature of the injury and the chances of recovery.
• The insurance company attempted to end the worker’s benefits while surgery was being booked.
• The insurance company requires an independent medical exam before approving an operation.

If your claim is denied, you do still have options open to you. At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we welcome your call to discuss your case. Insurance adjusters do not have the experience to make decisions about whether or not you require back surgery. That is up to your medical practitioner.

Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield Today

If you were involved in a workplace accident, reach out to the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield by calling 479-361-3575. Our dedicated team of workplace injury lawyers is here to help. 

Call us today for a free initial consultation and learn what to expect should you file a workers’ compensation claim. We know you have many questions, and we can answer them for you.

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