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How Long Can Lost Wage Benefits Last in Arkansas Workers’ Comp?

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For employees who get injured on the job, Arkansas workers’ comp insurance provides lost wage benefits and necessary medical treatment. Injured workers must prove their injury occurred while they were performing job-related duties and must prove their injury through objective medical evidence.  For instance, injuries that occur during a break may not be covered and complaints of pain without additional medical evidence are not enough to win your case.

Work injuries to the breadwinners of their families can be devastating, especially when you are not paid your full lost wages.  For instance, Arkansas law only requires insurance companies to pay two-thirds of your wages up to a maximum of $736.00 per week.  There are many instances where employers try to blame everything on the worker and avoid paying the claim. Often employers and their insurance carriers take advantage of employees’ ignorance to cut down their compensation or deny benefits. So, injured workers should have information regarding their rights.

Arkansas workers’ comp laws are designed to help ensure that there is a level playing field between injured workers and insurance carriers.  However, injured workers do not have the training and expertise in these situations to represent themselves against insurance adjusters that are trained and know the ins and outs of the work comp laws and procedures.  Here are some important things to remember regarding the compensation of wages.

Till What Time Can Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Be Received?

Injured workers are supposed to be paid while they are off work under the care of the authorized treating work comp doctor.  This is called the healing period.  However, injured workers are required to work with limitations outlined by the authorized doctor if their employer provides work within those work limitations.

Wage loss benefits are available during the healing period up to the point you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).  If you become dissatisfied with the doctor chosen for you, Arkansas law allows you to change your physician one time.  This is known as a change of physician, and it must be approved by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Categories of Injuries:

There are three main categories of wage benefits under Arkansas Law:

1. Temporary Total Disability:

TTD or temporary total disability is a category in which the injured employee is unable to carry out their job duties and is under the care of the authorized treating physician.  This is during the initial healing period and the injured worker is likely undergoing extensive medical treatment.  Many doctors do allow injured workers to return to work with light-duty restrictions, and injured workers must participate in the light-duty restrictions if their employers make light-duty work available.

For example, a truck driver with a low back injury may be restricted from returning to driving but might be released to a sedentary office job.  Another example is how a heavy equipment operator with a shoulder injury might be released to one-handed duty in the parts room.

Injured workers should do the best that they can within the restrictions outlined by their authorized physician.  Individuals who believe they are not being treated fairly should immediately seek legal help for compensation. That way, they can feel comfortable knowing that their rights are being preserved.

TTD benefits are paid at two-thirds of the injured worker’s average weekly wage up to a maximum of $736.00 per week.

2. Permanent Partial Disability:

At the end of your healing period, the doctor or therapist will issue an impairment rating if you have a permanent impairment resulting from your work injury.  PPD or permanent partial disability benefits are paid as a result of the impairment that is issued.  Permanent restrictions may or may not be assigned with impairment ratings, and this is a critical time in your work comp case.

Arkansas workers’ comp only acknowledges impairment ratings issued based upon the Arkansas Medical Associations Guide to Permanent Impairment 4th Edition. It is necessary to consult an attorney because impairment ratings can be calculated differently and some impairment ratings allow for additional compensation known as wage loss disability.

3. Permanent Total Disability:

PTD is the last form of injury payment. Permanent total disability is difficult to prove in Arkansas workers’ comp claims because you must prove that you are unable to earn any meaningful wage for the rest of your life.  It is not enough to prove that you cannot return to your previous occupation.

Instead, you must prove you cannot perform the duties of any occupation.  An injured workers’ age, education, and previous work history are taken into account when deciding permanent total disability, and these cases always involve very serious injuries.  Those injuries include traumatic brain injury, paralysis, amputations, and loss of vision in both eyes.

People need to ensure that they get fair treatment from their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.  Affected workers may need to hire legal assistance to get all benefits available to them.

Hiring the Best Legal Team:

Arkansas workers’ compensation rules require employers’ insurance companies to provide lost wages and necessary medical care to legitimately injured employees.  However, insurance companies still use various techniques to avoid paying benefits. So, victims are left with no choice but to use legal help. Hiring a lawyer helps even the playing field.

If you or a family member has suffered a mishap at the workplace, then immediately contact our experienced lawyers. Our team doesn’t only work on the case but also supports you emotionally in such turbulent times.

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