Springdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Suffering an on-the-job accident is something that you never expected to happen to you. You are careful at work, and you assume that your employer takes your safety seriously. However, even if they do, accidents can still happen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arkansas has one of the highest worker injury and death rates. Most recently, in 2019, more than 24,000 employees experienced a workplace accident. These accidents resulted in more than 10,500 employees missing at least one day of work or requiring transfer to another position.
At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we proudly represent injured workers in workers’ compensation claims. Our Springdale workers’ compensation lawyers have decades of experience successfully investigating, preparing, negotiating, and litigating compensation cases when necessary. We understand what is at stake in these cases and take them as seriously as you do.
The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation System
Given the frequency with which workplace accidents occur, Arkansas lawmakers developed the workers’ compensation system to address the growing need for a quick and fair way to connect injured employees with the benefits they need. Prior to the workers’ compensation system, an injured workers’ only option was to file a personal injury claim against their employer; however, under general principles of personal injury law, an employer is only responsible for a worker’s injuries if the worker can prove their employer was negligent.
The workers’ compensation system, on the other hand, is a no-fault program. This means that employees who experience a workplace injury can pursue a workers’ compensation claim without proving that someone else was responsible for the accident leading to their injuries. In most cases, even employees injured partly due to their own negligence can recover workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ Compensation in Arkansas Infographic: What You Need to Know
Common Types of Springdale Workplace Injuries
Workplace accidents can happen in any industry, at any moment, and without notice. They are not limited to those professionals traditionally regarded as dangerous. For example, some of the most common workplace accidents include:
• Motor vehicle collisions
• Slip and falls
• Multi-story falls
• Exposure to harmful substances or chemicals
• Repetitive use injuries
• Construction accidents
Regardless of the nature of the accident leading to your injuries, the dedicated Springdale workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield can help you submit an accurate and compelling application for benefits.
Requirements of a Springdale Workers’ Compensation Claim
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you must suffer some injury, disability or illness related to your employment. Almost all accidents that occur on the job will meet this requirement. However, proving eligibility for illnesses, conditions and diseases can be more challenging due to the various potential causes. For example, if your hand was crushed in a machine while working in a factory, the injury is almost certainly going to be considered work-related. However, if you develop a repetitive use injury after spending years working the same occupation, you may face a harder time establishing eligibility. That is not to say that it is impossible—only that your employer or their insurance company may challenge the work-relatedness of your injuries. An experienced Springdale workers’ compensation lawyer at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield can help you understand your rights and effectively prepare an application on your behalf.
What Are the Types of Springdale Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
After suffering a workplace injury or work-related illness, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, figuring out which benefits you qualify for is not always straightforward. Add to this the fact that employers and their insurance companies may challenge your claim, and the process can get even more difficult.
Under Arkansas law, there are two types of workers’ compensation benefits, medical coverage benefits and income-replacement benefits.
Medical Coverage Benefits
Medical coverage benefits provide compensation to you for the medical treatment you needed as a result of the accident. The amount of medical coverage benefits will vary based on the treatment you received. However, these benefits cover the following:
• Emergency room treatment
• Follow-up doctors’ appointments
• Any physical or occupational therapy that is deemed necessary
• Prescription drug coverage
• Reimbursement for travel to healthcare appointments
• Prosthetic devices
Essentially, if any medical cost relates to the accident, it should fall on the employer, not the injured worker.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits – What Type of Disability Can I Claim Infographic
Income Replacement Benefits
In addition to medical coverage, workers’ compensation benefits also provide ongoing income-replacement benefits to injured workers. This ensures that workers who are hurt on the job do not miss out on the income they could not earn while recovering from their injuries and are disabled or otherwise unable to work. There are four types of income-replacement benefits:
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) benefits are paid to injured workers who have been released by the workers’ compensation doctor to return to work part-time, with certain restrictions. These benefits are the least common workers’ compensation benefits.
TPD benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage over the last 52 weeks and the amount of money you are making at your current position. However, TPD benefits cannot exceed the maximum weekly benefit amount for Temporary Total Disability Benefits, currently set at $835 per week.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits provide injured workers with ongoing payments while they are unable to work due to a work injury, disability or illness. You can also obtain TTD benefits if your doctor restricts you to light-duty work and your employer refuses to make such work available. In most cases, TTD benefits are paid to workers who suffer serious injuries but are expected to recover to the point where they will eventually return to work.
TTD benefits begin after you have missed seven days of work. You will continue to receive them as long as you are recovering from your work injury. However, the employer has the option of providing you with light-duty work instead of paying TTD benefits.
TTD benefits are paid at a rate of two-thirds of your average weekly wage over the most recent 52-week period. While a worker’s average weekly wage may be easy to determine in some circumstances, once you take into account overtime, shift differentials, commissions and mileage payments for those paid per mile, such as truck drivers, it can get much more complex. The maximum TTD benefit per week is $835 for claims brought in 2023.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits are available if you have suffered a permanent disability but can still work, albeit in a different position. Notably, you do not have to be totally disabled to receive PPD benefits. However, you must have a permanent partial impairment that is identifiable by objective medical evidence. PPD benefits begin at the end of your healing period, meaning these benefits are often paid after you no longer qualify for TTD benefits.
The amount of PPD benefits you receive depends on a variety of factors, including:
• Your average wage over the preceding 52-week period
• Your determined level of impairment
Once you reach the point where additional medical care will not improve your condition, a doctor will assess your condition and assign you an impairment rating. If your impairment rating is zero, you cannot receive PPD benefits. However, if you are permanently impaired, you will receive benefits depending on the level of impairment.
The maximum amount of PPD benefits you can receive per week in 2023 is $626.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are available to injured workers who cannot earn any meaningful wage as a result of their work-related injuries, illness or disability. While it is challenging to qualify for PTD benefits, if you can qualify, you will receive workers’ compensation benefits until the age of retirement and possibly longer.
PTD benefits are available after you reach the point where you will no longer benefit from additional medical treatment. For example, if you received TTD benefits for some time and then are declared totally disabled. PTD benefits are paid at the same rate as TTD benefits, which is $835 per week in 2023.
At the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we have extensive experience helping injured workers through the workers’ compensation process. Over the decades we have been handling Springdale workers’ compensation cases, we have recovered benefits on behalf of countless workers.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are all employers covered under the Arkansas Workers’ compensation system?
Not necessarily; however, most are. Under Arkansas law, an employer with three or more employees must purchase a workers’ compensation insurance policy. However, even some employers with fewer than three employees, such as building construction companies, must also purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
How long do I have to file a claim for workers’ compensation after a Springdale workplace accident?
Under Arkansas law, you must file a workers’ compensation claim within two years from the date of injury or within a year of the last payment of wages. However, many employees assume that after they report the accident to their employer, their employer will file a workers’ compensation claim on their behalf. This is not necessarily the case. Injured workers should ensure their interests are protected by consulting with an experienced Springdale workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Can I choose my own workers’ compensation doctor?
Initially, your employer has the right to select the doctor that will evaluate you for workers’ compensation purposes. However, if your employer refuses to provide you with a doctor’s name, or in cases of an emergency, you can visit a doctor of your choice. You can also petition to have your workers’ compensation doctor changed; however, this is a relatively complex process best left to an experienced Springdale workers’ compensation lawyer.
Contact a Knowledgeable Springdale Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you suffered injuries in an on-the-job accident and are wondering whether you may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, reach out to the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield for immediate assistance. We represent injured workers across Northwest Arkansas, including Springdale, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Rogers, Berryville, Bentonville and Harrison. To learn more about the services we provide and schedule a free consultation, call us today at 479-361-3575. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.