If you have suffered a work-related injury at your job in Arkansas, you are entitled to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Often employers and their insurance providers wrongfully deny benefits to injured workers. If you are unhappy with your employer’s actions in your workers’ compensation claim, you have the right to file a claim with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC). As a part of the process, a pre-hearing conference will be scheduled before the actual date of your hearing. Scroll down to learn more about the claims process, the pre-hearing conference, and how you can prepare for success.
Filing a Claim with the Arkansas WCC
Are you frustrated with the decision made by your employer or insurance company in your workers’ compensation claim? Don’t silently fume or give up hope. File an appeal with the AWCC with the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. For work-related injuries, your claim must be filed no later than two years after the date that you were injured or one year from the date that you last received workers’ compensation benefits. For an occupational disease, you must file your claim within one year of the date of your last exposure.
Once the AWCC receives your claim, you will receive a notice confirming the receipt of your claim. The insurance company or your employer will then have 20 days to file its response. If you feel you are wrongfully denied benefits, you may then request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. After requesting a hearing, the AWCC will assign you an administrative law judge in your area of the state.
Before your hearing, you and your employer and/or the insurance company will go through the discovery process. During this time, all of the parties involved will have to exchange their evidence. There is also the chance you might be deposed. At a deposition, you will testify about your injury or illness under oath and will be cross-examined by the defense attorney. Your lawyer can help you to prepare for a deposition and can object to improper questioning.
Did Your Lawyer Secure an Unreasonably Low Offer for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Recently the AWCC has seen a downturn in the number of claims, which we feel is partially due to injured workers lacking the proper representation on their claim. As a firm, we have also noticed law firms withdrawing from clients’ cases when a client refuses to accept the insurance company and/or employers’ first settlement offer on the case (which is often a fraction of a case’s value). When this happens, often the clients either give up on their claims or file a claim on their own (and may fail to appear at the required pre-hearing conferences and hearings out of fear or lack of representation).
Don’t let this happen to you.
An experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can file your appeal for you and work to gather evidence to support your claim. The process can be initiated by submitting a claim for compensation with the WCC using Form AR-C or by sending a letter to request a hearing within the mandatory deadlines. Our attorneys will stand by you and help you get the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect at a Pre-Hearing Conference
The AWCC schedules a pre-hearing conference for all requests for hearings, and attendance is mandatory if you want to proceed with your hearing. Beforehand, the AWCC may ask you to complete a pre-hearing questionnaire about your claim. Among other things at the pre-hearing conference, the administrative law judge will schedule the formal hearing and ask both sides to provide lists of evidence and witnesses that you intend to present.
Preparing for the Hearing
After the conference, you can begin preparing for the hearing. Your hearing will likely be scheduled in the county in which you were injured at your job. While these hearings are not as formal as court trials, they do have procedural rules. Your attorney will help you to prepare for your hearing and can present your case and evidence for you. Your lawyer may also cross-examine witnesses that are called by the insurance company to testify against your claim.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook Today
If you disagree with the insurance company’s decision or are unhappy with the offer you received, don’t accept it! Consider filing a claim. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook are experienced and have a track record of success with their clients’ workers’ compensation appeals. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 479-783-8000 or contacting us online.