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Arkansas Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Lawyers

Fort Smith Attorneys with Over 20 Years of Experience

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Arkansas workers’ compensation is not like filing a personal injury claim. When filing a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove negligence to seek compensation. However, if you are injured at work, you do not need to prove negligence, and receiving workers’ compensation benefits is quick.  Arkansas employers use insurance to protect themselves from personal injury lawsuits and liability. It is essential to know that if workers’ compensation covers you at your place of employment, you are not allowed to sue your employer. 

There are exceptions to this rule if a third party is involved. If this is the situation, your workers’ compensation attorney at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield can explain the differences.

Table of Contents

Workers' compensation basics

Who Has Workers' Compensation Insurance in Arkansas?

By law, any Arkansas business with three or more workers must have workers’ compensation insurance. An employee must work with a company that has at least three or more workers to be eligible for workers’ compensation. Also, the injury must have occurred while the worker was performing their duties.

Eligible Arkansas workers include:

  • Construction Workers
  • Logging and Mining Workers
  • Manufacturing and Warehouse Workers
  • Retail and Hospitality Employees
  • Healthcare Staff
  • Police and Security Personnel
  • Transportation Service Workers
  • Other Professional Services

Which Workers are Excluded?

Ineligible Arkansas workers include:

  • Federal Workers
  • Farm Laborers/Agricultural Workers
  • Railroad Employees/ Maritime Workers
  • Independent Contractors
  • Volunteers /Charitable Organization Workers
  • Religious Organization Workers
  • Domestic Workers
  • Inmates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics for May 2021, the top three occupations in Fort Smith were meat and poultry trimmers and cutters, coil tapers, winders and finishers, and gambling surveillance investors and officers. 

Arkansas Workers' Compensation Insurance Lawyers

If you were hurt on the job, contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield today to discuss your rights. If your industry is not listed, that does not necessarily mean it is not covered. We can help determine the next best steps for your unique situation.

What Forms Are Needed for Filing a Fort Smith Workers Compensation Claim

Employers who have more than three employees are required to have insurance coverage in the event of their workers sustaining serious injuries.

An Arkansas business may publicly post Form P, which tells employers what they must do in case injuries are sustained. It also shares the claims office telephone number and Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission if either the employer or employee needs help.

Under Form P, employees are instructed to give the employer notice of their injury through Form N and to notify a manager. If Form N is not completed, an injured employee can jeopardize their right to benefits. However, if there is no Form P, an employer can jeopardize using Form N in their defense.

If something is missed, it can complicate the next steps in obtaining medical benefits. It is best to discuss with an experienced Fort Smith workers’ compensation attorney to determine what to do next.

Qualifying for social security disability insurance (SSDI) is confusing for several reasons, including what the definition of disability encompasses

Arkansas Workers' Compensation Does Not Cover Everything

Many workers are unfamiliar with the fact that their workers’ compensation claim is often nowhere close to covering the actual cost of recovery from an accident. Medical costs have been rising for years, and that trend has not slowed down in a rapidly changing world.
What may workers' compensation not cover?

There is an expense cap on workers’ compensation benefits. 

Workers are not always aware of a medical benefits expense cap of $10,000. Although medical benefits can help cover current and future bills, some expenses may have to come out of pocket. Expenses an Arkansas worker could face include:

  • Lab Testing;
  • Healthcare Provider Billing Statements;
  • Medications and Prescriptions;
  • Medical Equipment Usage;
  • Hospital Overnight Stays; and
  • Some Vocational and Physical Rehabilitation.

What You May Receive in Workers’ Compensation Benefits If You Are Eligible

Depending on the type and severity of your injury, you may receive:
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – You wait seven days before benefits start. The wage paid while injured is 66 2/3 percent, with a weekly minimum payment of $20. The maximum weekly payment is $876, or 85 percent of the state’s average weekly wage. The maximum time a worker receives payments is 450 weeks. A worker is paid the state average weekly wage, which varies yearly. This does not entirely make up for the loss of a paycheck. Injured workers may need additional funds to make ends meet.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) – The wage paid is 66 2/3 percent, and the weekly minimum is $20. The weekly maximum paid out is $876, which is 85 percent of the state average weekly wage. The maximum period to receive benefits for this category is for the length of the disability. Even if your injury results in permanent impairment, you may be eligible to receive benefits after going back to work. The amount of money and length of time you receive benefits is pre-determined and established by law.
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – The injured worker’s wage is 66 2/3 percent, with a weekly minimum of $20 and a weekly maximum of $657. Non-scheduled injuries have a maximum period of payment of 450 weeks, to a maximum amount of $176,400. When the TTD rate is more than $205.35, the maximum PPD rate is 75 percent of the total disability rate up to the max of $657. If the TTD rate is lower than $205.35, the PPD is determined at 66 2/3 percent of a worker’s average weekly wage to $154.00. After the age of 65, benefits incur a 50 percent offset.
Every case is different regarding injuries, which dictates which category of workers’ compensation a claimant would receive. It is not noticeably clear, and we understand that. We are here to help answer your questions. What Are the Most Common Work Injuries in Arkansas? Most workplace injuries happen in the construction and healthcare industries. If you want more specific general compensation information, visit here. If you wish for details about your case and what you may expect when you apply, give us a call today for a free consultation.
Workers comp benefits

Qualifications for receiving workers' compensation benefits

Qualifications for receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Arkansas can include the following:

  • You were working at the time of the accident;
  • Your line of work caused the injury you sustained;
  • You can show that your work accident aggravated a pre-existing condition;
  • Your injury is verifiable; and
  • You are unable to physically work.

There may be other requirements to meet for being eligible for workers’ compensation, which depends on the case’s circumstances and the nature of the injuries.

Types of Accidents in Arkansas That Bar Claiming Workers' Compensation

Physical Altercations & Intentional Injuries
  • Physical Altercations – If you sustained an injury in a physical fight with another worker, you could not collect workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Intentional Injuries – If someone can prove that you intentionally injured yourself while on the job, you cannot collect workers’ compensation.
Alcohol, Drugs & Recreation
  • Alcohol and Drugs – If a worker were in an accident and reports revealed that they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol, they would not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Recreational Injuries – If you were injured while participating in recreational activities or horsing around at work, you could not file a workers’ compensation claim.
Emotional Injuries
  • Emotional Injuries – These injuries on their own would not be covered, as emotional injuries that arise without a physical injury are not typically compensable. However, there are some instances where a worker may suffer a disfiguring accident and develop PTSD, and treatment would be covered.
Heart-Related Injuries
  • Heart-Related Injuries – Very few heart-related injuries are covered. There are some exceptions. If you can prove the injury was the direct result of an accident at work, you may be eligible for benefits.

If you want more general compensation information, visit here. If you wish for details about your case and what you may expect when you apply, give us a call today for a free consultation.

Workers’ Compensation Claims Can Be Denied

If your claim is denied, reach out to one of our Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield. We will review your claim and determine the next step. Typical reasons for claim denials include:

  • The injury did not happen at the workplace;
  • The employer was not notified immediately after the accident;
  • The accident occurred because you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • You did not go to an approved physician;
  • You did not follow the doctor’s orders and complete the recommended treatments;
  • Your injury was a pre-existing condition. The exception here is if your job made the injury worse, you might be eligible for benefits; and
  • Your employer disputes your claim for benefits.

Contact the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield P.A.

The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. represents workers’ compensation claims from Northwest Arkansas, including Fort SmithRogersSpringdaleFayettevilleBentonville, Berryville, and Harrison. Call us today for your free consultation at (479) 361-3575.

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