If you’re like most workers, you don’t give much thought to the possibility of sustaining a workplace injury – until it happens to you. When you’re injured at work in Arkansas or Oklahoma, you should be able to access workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance carrier. Both states require most businesses to carry this type of coverage so that workers who are injured on the job or who contract occupational diseases are protected. Workers’ compensation benefits can be confusing, but it’s important to understand your rights so that you can fight for the compensation you deserve.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits Explained
Workers compensation benefits come from a type of insurance that most employers in Arkansas and Oklahoma are required to carry. In Arkansas, most employers that have three or more workers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. In Oklahoma, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, including companies that only have one employee.
The benefits are provided to workers who are injured while they are working or who develop occupational diseases because of their jobs. When you are injured at work or become ill because of work-related issues, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer.
How Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Awarded
If you suffer an injury in a workplace accident, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately. As soon as you are able, you should also file a claim for workers’ compensation through your employer. The process typically works like this:
- You must report your injury or illness to your employer.
- Your employer is then required to report the injury to the insurance company.
- Your employer must give you the workers’ compensation forms that you need to fill out and return.
- Your employer is responsible for submitting your claim to its insurance company.
- After you return to work, your employer will notify the insurance company.
After you are injured, you will be asked to explain how the accident happened and to list your injuries. You may be asked to provide medical documentation several times during your case. You should never exaggerate the extent or severity of your injuries.
If your claim is for a minor injury, it will probably not be contested. Your medical bills will be paid with your workers’ compensation benefits, and you may receive benefits for your lost wages.
If your claim is larger, the insurance company might deny it to try to avoid paying benefits to you or to pay less than the amount that you should be entitled to receive. Large workers’ compensation cases may need to go through mediation, arbitration, or trial. The insurance company’s goal is to minimize its losses while increasing its profits, so it may deny a claim with merit. The insurance company’s lawyer may attempt to argue that your injuries resulted from a preexisting condition. He or she may also try to downplay your injuries and argue that they are not serious. Insurance companies sometimes hire expert witnesses to fight workers’ compensation claims, and they often dig through social media pages to use them against claimants. If your claim is denied, retaining an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer may help you prevail in your case.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ comp is designed to pay for your medical bills when you suffer a workplace injury or illness. When you are injured, your medical expenses should be paid for by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. It should also cover additional medical costs such as modifying your home to accommodate a wheelchair, paying for prosthetic devices, and paying for physical therapy.
Your employer’s insurance carrier may hesitate to pay for rehabilitation and other needed medical care that is ongoing. If you are not receiving the benefits that you need, consider contacting a lawyer.
Workplace injuries and illnesses may sometimes result in a temporary or permanent disability. A temporary disability might prevent you from performing an essential duty of your job for a few weeks or months. If you suffer a temporarily disabling condition that prevents you from working, you may receive disability benefits during that time period.
If you suffer a permanent and total disability because of your workplace accident or illness, you may be entitled to receive permanent disability benefits. You may recover permanent disability benefits for chronic injuries such as repetitive stress, work-related hearing loss, and other similarly disabling injuries.
Permanent disability benefit amounts are calculated by the severity of your injuries and whether your disability is partial or total.
If your loved one was killed while he or she was on the job, you may be entitled to a death benefit. This is money that is paid to a worker’s spouse and minor children. The death benefit will normally be determined by how much the worker’s pay was at the time of his or her death.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
Dealing with a workplace injury can be overwhelming. When you also have to handle a workers’ compensation benefits claim, the situation can become even more difficult. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook can help you with your claim and work to ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve. To schedule a consultation, please contact us online or call 479-783-8000.