Workers’ compensation in Arkansas is a payment made to injured employees that have been hurt regardless of negligence at their place of work. Your employer is required to carry insurance to cover medical expenses, partial wages for the duration of recovery, and in some extreme cases, the cost of funerals. Workers’ compensation benefits can be claimed for by any injured employee. If the employer refuses to pay compensation, they may face financial consequences, attorney fees and legal actions by the employee.
The compensation benefits and duration vary for each case of injury. It is a common concern of how long workers’ compensation benefits last and whether or not they will cover the entire recovery period. It is to be noted that these benefits vary from state to state and on the extremity of the injury and workplace conditions.
Type of Disability
The amount of medical, or other benefits, an injured employee may receive depends on the degree of disability they have because of the unforeseen workplace mishap. Duration is most often determined by your authorized treating physician. Disabilities can be divided into three types:
- Temporary total disability – These are benefits that are paid while you are off work under a doctor’s medical care and include injuries such as rotator cuff tears, herniated spinal discs, and meniscus tears often resulting from lax safety standards or a possibly dangerous work environment.
- Partial permanent disability – These benefits are paid after your doctor has released you from medical care and are determined using a book called the American Guide to Permanent Impairment. These benefits are only paid if you have a permanent injury identified by objective medical evidence, such as an X-ray, CT Scan, or MRI. Additionally, permanent restrictions result from these types of injuries if there is a loss of motor function or loss of function that results in hindered efficiency that can be the result of an on-site or off-site injury
- Permanent total disability – These benefits only arise if you are determined to be unable to earn any wage as a result of your work injury. These are the most serious injuries such as permanent loss of mobility, paralysis, and amputations that resulted from a work-related accident. Examples would be falls from multiple stories on construction projects, explosions from faulty valves on defective equipment, improper guards on machinery.
In some cases, the length of receiving compensation benefits is specified by the state but most often it is determined by the authorized treating physician or an administrative law judge.
What the Doctor Says
The reasonable, necessary and authorized medical bills are directly paid by the employer’s insurance company. The main thing the injured employee has to worry about is going to all doctor appointments and following their treatment protocols. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation in Arkansas lasts until the treatment is complete and the doctor believes that you have recovered fully.
If there is no way for you to improve your health with any further treatment, the wage benefits are likely to stop. As a rule of thumb, when the doctor signals that you have reached your maximum recovery through treatment, the workers’ compensation benefits may stop.
How Long Does a Temporary Disability Last?
Temporary disability consists of two types:
Total Temporary Disability (TTD)
These include injured employees that are expected to recover, but not able to work for a specific duration of time. This is compensated for by giving partial wages, typically 2/3rd of weekly income, until you are released by your doctor. These benefits can last for a long or short duration depending on the nature of your injury and your employer’s ability to accommodate work restrictions.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
Injured employees that can return to work for lighter work/duty but less than full-time hours, while still recovering and attending necessary medical treatment receive these benefits. Paying partial weekly wages is applicable for those hours that you are not able to work. However, the duration of these benefits is not specified and varies greatly depending on the type of injury, availability of light-duty work, and your doctor’s recommendations.
How Long Does Permanent Disability Last?
A permanent partial disability, such as a shoulder tear or a herniated spinal disc can result in a permanent impairment and can prevent the employee from working without restriction for the rest of their life and can impact earning potential. Permanent total disability is so severe that the person may never be able to return to work.
A medical impairment rating can be assessed by Impairment Rating Evaluation by a certified professional that gives an estimated percentage rate (0-100) to specify the severity of the injury. The evaluation report is given to the doctor, employee, and employer’s insurance company. Additionally, permanent restrictions are typically assessed during a functional capacity exam (FCE) paid for by the workers’ compensation insurance company.
How Long Can Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas Last?
The duration of a workers’ compensation cases is determined by a whole host of factors, which include the nature, extent, and permanency of your injury. With minor injuries, work comp cases last a few weeks, and some major injuries can last years. In cases of permanent and total disability benefits, your work comp case can last the rest of your life. There are some strict statute of limitations laws in Arkansas, and you should consult an attorney if your claim is going to last longer than two years.
If you are seriously injured from your job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation in Arkansas. Make sure you file for these benefits immediately to get the compensation benefits that you deserve. In case you are not sure about how long your compensation benefits will last, or have any other queries about the procedure, contacting an Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney will be a wise decision.