A workplace injury can be a life-changing experience. Medical treatment for the injury may run up large medical bills. In addition, you may be forced to take time away from work which can result in lost wages. The good news is that workers’ compensation insurance is meant to help you in such a scenario. Workers’ compensation benefits essentially cover medical costs, lost wages and other losses you may incur due to a workplace injury in Springdale.
A workers’ compensation attorney may be able to assist with this, however, you must meet various requirements when seeking these benefits. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps involved in seeking workers’ compensation and filing a claim for the benefits.
Seek Medical Help for Your Workplace Injury in Springdale
It is important to seek medical help in the wake of a workplace injury. If you don’t undergo medical treatment, the employer or the insurance company may claim that your injury wasn’t serious in the first place. In some cases, you may have the freedom to choose your own doctor for treatment. However, your employer has the right to recommend the physician for initial treatment.
When visiting the treating physician, make sure you show up on time as per your appointment. Describe all the symptoms you have experienced following an injury. If the doctor has any questions, be sure to answer them fully. The more complete your account is, the better is the doctor able to make an accurate diagnosis which will help in getting the compensation you deserve.
Notify the Employer of Your Workplace Injury in Springdale
You are required to report a workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible. Typically, this should happen within days of the injury. If you need urgent medical care and attention, you may notify the employer after that. The notification must be in writing. In addition to the details of the injury, you may also be required to fill an accident report. In this report, you provide details of the accident as well as any witnesses who were present at the scene.
It is important to notify your employer without delay. This gives your employer a chance to provide you compensation benefits in the first place. However, if the employer or its insurance company turns down your claim for some reason, you can go ahead and file it with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
File a Claim
To take your claim to the Workers’ Compensation Commission, you must submit the Claim for Compensation form. This form must be submitted within the time period stipulated by the Statute of Limitations. In Arkansas, claims for workplace injuries must be filed within 1 to 2 years, depending on the nature of the injury. This time period is measured from the day of the injury, or from the date when you learned about the workplace injury or illness.
Attend Mediation Conference
Once you file a claim for workers’ compensation, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will schedule a mediation conference. This is an opportunity for you and the other parties to sit down and settle the claim informally. The mediation is a final chance where you may be able to reach an agreement with the other parties without litigation. You may also request the presence of a neutral third party at mediation. In many cases, mediation is fruitful as both parties wish to avoid the time and money involved in extensive litigation over the claim.
Request a Hearing
If the mediation conference does not yield any results and your claim is not accepted, you can then request a hearing. This hearing takes place before an Administrative Law Judge. It is here that both parties argue the case, and evidence, witnesses and expert testimony are presented.
If your claim reaches this stage, it is critically important to have an attorney by your side. Your employer or the other party litigating the case will likely be represented by highly qualified attorneys. If you decide to go at this alone, you may not able to keep up with the legal argumentation of the other side. With an attorney on your side, however, you are able to present a strong case and meet any other requirements of the hearing.
Appeal the Decision
If your claim is rejected at the administrative hearing, you can appeal against it. This appeal is made to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. A full board then reviews your claim and determines whether to accept or reject it. If the board review also rejects your claim, you can then appeal against it with the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Hiring an Attorney For Your Workplace Injury in Springdale
Filing a workers’ compensation claim involves meeting certain requirements. You may also need to present evidence, seek witness testimony and argue your case in a court. On your own, this can add up to a lot and force you to fall short of the requirements. This is where an attorney can help you.
Here at the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, we have been working with Springdale workers for years. We help you file a solid claim and get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve as soon as possible. Contact us today to discuss your case and book a FREE consultation with our attorneys.