What is Workers’ Compensation?
An honest day’s work ends in an honest day’s pay. We’ve all heard that. Arkansas families have been living by that code since 1836. It’s a way of life. But … and on-the-job accident can turn that way of life upside down.
Workers’ compensation insurance is a no-fault system designed to compensate a worker who has been injured on the job. Most often, these injuries occur in motor vehicles. And, they occur often on manual labor jobs where the daily work is strenuous and/or dangerous — like construction jobs or factory jobs. The law applies, however, to all workers — even those in office jobs or professional positions.
The compensation rates do not provide a worker full wage loss compensation, but it is what the law generally allows. In addition to wage loss benefits, workers compensation provides full medical payment benefits. The entire system is a social trade-off, of sorts, whereby the worker gets to get paid even if the in-the-job injury is the worker’s fault but the workers compensation benefits are all the benefits a worker can collect from his or her employer or co-worker. (If the on-the-job injury is caused by a third party — someone other than the employer of a co-employee — then the workers compensation benefits can be received and, in addition, a regular negligence lawsuit can be filed against the third party.
Inside the workers compensation system, there are many complicated rules. For example, the employer generally gets to choose the treating physician. So, there may be a built-in subjective bias on the part of the employer-chosen physician. The injured employee cannot change physicians with permission from the Workers Compensation Commission. Another example that the employer’s offer of light-duty work during the healing period cannot be refused by the employee without potentially disqualifying the employee from continuing benefits. Instead, the employee must generally go through the process of trying to do the offered light-duty work in order to be able to prove that the employee is or is not able to do the offered work. No matter the circumstances, in our experience, the employee needs legal representation to get all the benefits due. Sometimes the insurance company will offer a cash settlement. Generally, the workers’ comp insurance offer is lower than you’re going to need to fully recover. It all comes down to determining what this accident is going to cost you and your family in the long term. You’ve got to consider current and future medical expenses, lost wages for time out of work, and any missed opportunities your injuries keep you from taking. When you add all that up, we’d wager the amount the insurance company is offering for a cash settlement isn’t even close to either what you will need or what you would receive if you were to receive full benefits paid over time. We can calculate all that for you.
That’s why you should call an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorney to represent your best interests. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we’ve been helping the hardworking folks of Arkansas get the full compensation they deserve for decades, and we’re ready to help you too. Give us a call today for your free consultation. Let us put our experience to work for you.