Most workers in Arkansas and Oklahoma give little thought to the idea that they might be injured or sickened at their jobs. However, many people suffer injuries or work-related illnesses every year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.8 million recordable workplace injuries and illnesses happened within private industries in the U.S. in 2018 alone. People who are injured in workplace accidents or who suffer occupational illnesses are entitled to file claims for workers’ compensation benefits. What is the purpose of workers’ compensation?
What Is the Purpose of Workers’ Compensation?
Understanding the purpose of workers’ compensation requires that workers understand how employment intersects with personal injury law. Because of the prevalence of workplace injuries and illnesses, the states instituted workers’ compensation laws to protect both injured workers and employers.
Workers’ compensation has two primary purposes. The first purpose of workers’ compensation is to ensure that people who are injured at their jobs are compensated for part of their lost wages and can receive medical care for their injuries. The second purpose is to protect employers from liability in lawsuits. Because of the availability of workers’ compensation, workers cannot sue their employers when they are injured at their jobs. In exchange, they also do not have to prove that their employers were negligent to recover benefits through workers’ compensation.
Recoverable Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation
Almost all workers in Arkansas and Oklahoma are covered by workers’ compensation laws and insurance. There are some exceptions, however. Independent contractors are not employees and are not covered by workers’ compensation laws, and federal employers are covered under a different program. Private employers with more than two-employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that covers all of their workers from their first day at work (with a few exceptions, like agricultural and non-profit enterprises).
When an employee is hurt in a workplace accident, the available benefits might include the following:
- Medical benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits
- Death benefits for families of workers who are killed
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Temporary total disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Permanent total disability benefits
Not all workers will be eligible for all of the different types of workers’ compensation benefits. For example, disability benefits are only available if you are temporarily or permanently unable to return to work because of your work-related injuries or illness.
Understanding the Workers’ Compensation System
Workers’ compensation insurance is no-fault insurance that is required under state law. Most employers must carry this type of insurance to cover all of their employees.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides a faster way for injured workers to receive money for their lost wages and medical care (when compared to the filing of a lawsuit). When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you will not have to prove your employer’s fault. You will not have to prove that your employer was negligent and caused your accident or that you were not at fault. There are some exceptions, but the fault will not play a role in an approval or denial in most cases.
The disadvantage of workers’ compensation is that employees cannot file lawsuits against their employers regardless of the employers’ degree of negligence or the roles that they might have played in causing the accident, injury, or illness. Consequently, people cannot recover pain and suffering damages in workers’ compensation cases.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook Today
If you have received a denial of your workers’ compensation claim after suffering injuries in a workplace accident, the workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook are here to help. We can help guide you through the workers’ compensation system and claims process in Arkansas or Oklahoma, and we are prepared to fight to help you to recover all of the benefits that you deserve.
In addition, if you were injured at your job by the negligence of a third party, we might be able to help you to recover workers’ compensation benefits from your employer while also pursuing a third-party liability claim on your behalf. Contact us today to learn about the legal remedies that might be available by calling 479-783-8000 or sending us a message online.