If you get hurt at work, you’re going to have to file a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer is required to carry insurance to take care of workers who get injured on the job. This insurance provides you with medical care and replacement wages. As long as you meet the specific criteria for workers’ comp in Arkansas, you shouldn’t have any problem qualifying for benefits.
Once your claim is approved, you’ll start receiving your benefits in about a week or two. You have to miss about a week from work before your benefits kick in. You also have to use any vacation, sick or personal time you have left before you’ll start to receive replacement wages.
Your medical treatment will be covered from the date of your accident or injury. As long as your claim is approved, you won’t have to worry about that. In fact, immediately following your accident, you’ll have to report to a company approved doctor for medical treatment. If you refuse, or go to a doctor that isn’t approved by your employer, there’s a good chance that your claim will be denied. If this happens, you’ll need to call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Springdale, Arkansas.
At some point, your doctor is going to say that you’ve reached something called maximum medical improvement (MMI). When this happens, you’ll have to return to work. There are times, however, when your doctor thinks you’re ready to go back to work, but you don’t think you’re ready. If this is the case, your Springdale workers’ comp lawyer will send you to get a second opinion.
What are the Requirements for Workers’ Comp in Arkansas?
If you don’t qualify for workers’ comp, it won’t matter when you think you’re ready to return to work. If you don’t meet the basic requirements, your claim will be denied and you won’t receive any benefits.
In order to qualify for workers’ comp in Arkansas, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your injury must take place on company time. If you’re not on the clock, your claim will be denied.
- You must be acting within the scope of your employment. For example, cashiers have a specific job description. If you choose to unload a delivery truck because it’s a slow day, that is not within your scope of employment. Your employer didn’t expect you to be lifting heavy boxes and carrying them into the warehouse. Your employer may deny your claim.
- You must report your injury immediately. Every company has their own policy and procedure when it comes to workplace accidents. You’ll have to report your accident to either your manager or the Human Resources manager. If you don’t report your injury in a reasonable time frame, your claim will be denied.
- You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When you go for medical treatment, you’ll have to take a drug test. If you refuse the test, or it comes back positive, your claim will probably be denied.
- You refuse to comply with medical treatment. If your treating physician says you need to go to physical therapy and you refuse, your claim can be denied and your benefits will terminate.
- You must return to work when you reach MMI. Or, your employer may require you to report for light or modified duty.
What Happens if You Refuse Light Duty or Modified Duty?
Your employer has the right to call you back for light or modified duty while you’re on workers’ comp. Perhaps you do physical labor but can’t do it because of your injury. The company may ask you to come in and do modified duty, perhaps doing desk work. If you can physically do this work, there’s no reason why you should refuse.
If, on the other hand, your doctor says you’ve reached MMI and you don’t think you have, that’s a different story. Just because the company approved doctor thinks you’re better doesn’t mean you are. Your Springdale workers’ comp lawyer can arrange for you to get a second opinion. If this second doctor believes you require further treatment, you can appeal the decision for you to return to work. However, let your workers’ compensation attorney in Arkansas handle this for you. Don’t just refuse to return to work. That can jeopardize your benefits and long-term workers’ comp settlement.
Call an Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Springdale Today
If you get hurt at work, call and speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Springdale right away. They’ll make sure your claim is handled properly from the start. The initial consultation is absolutely free and you pay nothing until your case settles.