Arkansas Workers’ Compensation FAQs
The Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield, P.A. has been representing injured workers in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley for more than 20 years. He has fought for injured workers rights in the court room and at the state capital. He meets with his clients to answer questions about their case, and he is upfront about the strengths and weaknesses of their case. He personally prepares his clients for depositions and trials. He also works diligently toward resolution of clients’ claims when appropriate and attempts to obtain the best lump sum settlement under the law.
Below are some of the most common workers’ compensation questions received by our office.
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical bills and wages for injured workers. Each state has its own specific workers’ compensation law. It is basically a bargain between labor and big business wherein injured workers are guaranteed medical treatment and a percentage of their wages regardless of who was at fault for the injury. Big business in turn does not have to compensate workers for pain and suffering and only has to pay for permanent injuries based upon a mathematical formula.
What should I do after I have been injured at work?
An injured worker should immediately report an injury to their supervisor and the human resources department. Your employer should help you complete the Form N report and should schedule you to see an authorized doctor. If your employer refuses to report the injury or send you for medical treatment, you should contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
What types of injuries are covered by workers’ compensation?
We typically represent workers with head, back, neck, shoulder and knee injuries. We also represent workers involving all types of amputations. Injured workers have the burden of proving the injury with objective medical evidence. Objective medical evidence proof requires something more than a complaint of pain. It is usually proved by medical tests such as: X-ray, CT Scan, MRI, nerve conduction study, etc. In Arkansas a muscle spasm documented by a medical professional is also considered objective medical evidence.
Can I go to my own doctor to treat my workplace injury?
If your claim is accepted by the insurance company, you are required to go to their doctors. If you seek unauthorized medical treatment with your own doctor, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will not have to reimburse you for your out of pocket expenses. In Arkansas, you have the right to a one time change of physician of your own choosing.
What if I am not able to return to my old position after an injury?
In Arkansas, work injuries are classified as scheduled and unscheduled. Unscheduled injuries include back, neck, and shoulder injuries and are allowed whole body impairment ratings. If you receive an unscheduled whole body impairment with permanent restrictions that prevent you from returning to work making the same or similar wages, then you have an opportunity to negotiate for more money in a settlement. Unfortunately, arm and leg injuries are classified as scheduled injuries, and it is very difficult to to negotiate for extra impairment.
Will I still be paid while I am recovering from an injury?
Injured workers in Arkansas are paid two-thirds of their average weekly wage while they are off work recovering under the authorized doctor’s care. Injured workers are required to perform light duty when offered by their employer, if the light duty position complies with the doctor’s restrictions.
How long do I have to file a claim for my work comp injury?
In Arkansas, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim is two years from the date of injury or one year from the date the workers’ compensation insurance carrier last made a payment. I advise that you consult a work comp attorney before two years has passed from your injury even if you are continuing to receive benefits.
How long can I be on workers’ comp?
There really is no timeframe for being on workers’ compensation. For instance, an injured worker that is found to be permanently and totally disabled could be on workers’ compensation for the rest of his or her life.
Who pays for my medical bills during the case?
When a claim is accepted as a compensable workers’ compensation claim, then the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier is required to pay for all authorized reasonable and necessary medical treatment pursuant to the Arkansas Workers’ compensation fee schedule. Medical providers are prohibited from billing the injured worker.
Can I be terminated for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
Technically, you are not allowed to be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Some employers attempt to find a different reason to terminate the employment of injured workers. Injured workers should never quit after they are injured. There are some negotiating advantages for injured workers whose employment is terminated for illegitimate reasons.
Is it possible to get a lump sum settlement for my injury?
Workers compensation cases are settled for lump sums every day. Our office has 20 years of experience negotiating lump sum payments for injured workers. I usually do not recommend settlement unless you have received the best medical treatment available under the law and have been released by the doctor. This is usually the most appropriate time to resolve the claim for a lump sum settlement, which is called a Joint Petition. A Joint Petition settlement must be approved by a work comp judge, and I always attend the Joint Petition settlement hearing with my clients.
How can the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield help me with my workers’ compensation case?
The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation system is complicated and riddled with pitfalls for injured workers. Of course, insurance adjusters and employers are trained to know the system. An injured worker is immediately placed at a disadvantage attempting to navigate through the system. Our office can help throughout the healing period in making sure the injured worker receives prescriptions, mileage reimbursement, fair medical care, and the proper payment for lost wages. Additionally, an experienced attorney can help maximize the settlement of the claim. Finally, having an experience work comp attorney on your side, gives you the peace of mind knowing that you are being treated fairly under the law.
If you are seeking an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Northwest Arkansas, contact Jason Hatfield today at 479-361-3575 to discuss your case.