Fort Smith Workers’ Compensation Denial Benefits
Most workers are aware of workers’ compensation and how it kicks in if they are injured in the workplace, and how to file a claim for benefits. However, an injured worker’s claim can be denied. At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we have your back, and if you are in a jam and your claim has been denied, talk to us. We can help you sort it out.
Workers’ Compensation in Fort Smith, AR
The short explanation for what is workers’ compensation is that it is a statewide mandated program, required by law, to pay an injured and/or disabled worker if they have been harmed doing their job.
Workers’ compensation insurance premiums are not paid by workers. They are paid by employers. No matter what state a worker lives in, there is usually a workers’ compensation insurance plan. For further information on Arkansas workers’ compensation, you may check HERE: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/owcp/wc
One important thing to note is that work-related injuries can happen anywhere, such as at a conference, working at a different location, on business travel, or at a tradeshow. This means the accident itself, and the location play a location in filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Are Not the Same as Personal Injury Claims
While it is true that in some instances that a worker injured on the job may be able to file a personal injury claim against a third-party, most workers’ compensation claims are not similar to personal injury claims.
There are notable differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims, such as:
- For a personal injury claim, the plaintiff needs to prove the defendant was at fault before they may receive compensation. For a workers’ compensation claim, a worker injured in the workplace receives benefits no matter who was at fault. A third-party situation is an exception.
- A plaintiff filing a personal injury claim may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering. An injured worker cannot collect compensation for pain and suffering.
- Employees injured at work are paid two-thirds of their salary with the amount capped. Personal injury claims may receive their total wage losses.
- Injured workers tend to receive workers’ compensation benefits fairly quickly, and the payments continue for the duration of their injury. Personal injury claims can take many months or years to settle.
- Arkansas workers’ compensation benefits are capped. Additionally, there are maximums to wage replacement benefits.
Common Reasons Benefits May Be Denied by Workers’ Compensation
Some on-the-job injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation, and therefore may be denied. Those include:
- Injuries sustained by a worker who starts a fight.
- Injuries sustained from repetitious mental trauma. e.g., traumatic stress reactions are normal reactions to abnormal circumstances
- Contracting an ordinary disease of life. e.g. No compensation shall be payable for any ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed. Covid-like diseases may be an exception and were during the first outbreak of Covid-19 in the state.
- Horseplay by workers resulted in an injury.
- A worker who suffers a heart attack. There is a possible exception. If a worker is asked to do tasks that are not their usual work, and a heart attack occurs due to the exertion of doing that work, those injuries are covered by workers’ compensation.
- Injuries sustained participating in an off-duty recreational event.
- Injuries were sustained while an employee was committing a serious crime.
- Any injuries that can be treated with basic first aid.
- Any injuries sustained while a worker was not on the job.
- Any injuries that were the result of a worker being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work are presumed not compensable but can be challenged.
- Any injury deliberately inflicted.
Workers’ compensation law is complicated and complex. If you have any questions about your workplace injury, or if you have had your claim denied, do not hesitate to contact the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield. We’re here to discuss your case in great detail so you understand what is and is not possible, and how we can help you.
Other Reasons A Workers’ Compensation Claim May Be Denied
Sometimes the “why” of a workers’ compensation claim is confusing. Perhaps the reasons are confusing. At the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we can help you sort out the reasons your claim was denied, and then help you to appeal.
There are a variety of reasons why a claim may be turned down, they may also include:
- Dispute with the employer – they may claim your accident did not occur at work.
- Your claim was not filed on time – an Arkansas workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years. In some cases, it can be one year.
- Your claim was not reported within the stated timeline. In Arkansas, workers must report an injury on the job immediately. The exception is if you sought emergency assistance after the employer’s business hours. If so, you must notify the employer the next day.
- The nature and severity of a worker’s injury and evidence to support it. Some claims are difficult to prove, some may not provide enough evidence that the accident happened during work hours, and some may not have gone to see a doctor after being injured.
What Expenses Does AWCC Typically Cover?
The AWCC usually covers the following expenses:
- Reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
- Two-thirds of your average weekly wages while healing from your injuries.
- Compensation for permanent injuries.
- Expenses related to rehabilitation.
- Funeral expenses.
Contact the Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, talk to us as soon as possible. We have decades of solid experience helping injured workers get the benefits they deserve. We discuss your case with you, take a look at all documentation, explain your rights, check filing dates, and more. We make sure you have all the information you need to understand why your claim was denied, and how we intend to help you.
Reach out to the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield by calling 479-361-3575. Our dedicated team of Fort Smith workers’ compensation lawyers is here to help.
Call us today for a free initial consultation and to find out how we can help you appeal your denied claim. We know you have questions, and we can answer them for you. The Fort Smith Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield is just one quick call away: 479-361-3575.