Mike Rainwater on…

Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

Not every injured worker needs a workers’ compensation lawyer. However, in order to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled, it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer in Arkansas. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and will help you appeal any claim denials. This will give you the best chance of being successful and obtaining the money you need to recover.

a talking head of Mike Rainwater video talking to camera


1,100 Google Reviews


Difference Between Workers’ Compensation Claim and Personal Injury Claim

There are major differences between filing a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim.

In an injury claim, injured accident victims must establish fault before receiving compensation. In a workers’ compensation claim, a worker who is injured on the job will receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. There are exceptions to this rule, however. An experienced attorney can help walk you through any exceptions.

Unlike personal injury claims, workers who are injured on the job cannot collect money for pain and suffering and other emotional damages.

Unlike personal injury claims, workers who are injured at work will not receive their full loss of wages. Instead, workers are paid two-thirds of their salary and this amount is capped.

Unlike personal injury claims that can take months or even years to settle, injured workers often begin receiving their benefits quickly and throughout their injury.

Workers’ compensation benefits are capped in Arkansas, and there are maximums to wage replacement benefits as well (§11-9-509).

Injured At Work? Call us.

Our No Fee Guarantee® means you pay us nothing unless we win your case.
Contact Us For Free Case Evaluation

Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Arkansas workers’ compensation law offers injured employees a variety of benefits, including:

In order to receive coverage, your employer must approve of the doctor treating you. Some of the expenses this covers include:

  • Doctor’s bills
  • Lab test costs
  • Hospitalizations
  • Prescription costs
  • Medical equipment
  • Diagnostic testing costs
  • Medical supplies

Some types of mental injuries are covered under Arkansas law. You must clearly establish that your mental condition arose strictly because of a physical injury that was sustained at work.

If your injury requires physical rehabilitation or vocational rehabilitation, it may be covered. Physical rehabilitation must be ordered by your doctor, whereas vocational rehabilitation is only available if you can no longer perform the work you once did due to your permanent medical restriction

If you miss work because of your injury, then you are eligible to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages over the past 52 weeks. There are maximums set by state law, however, so it is important to speak to an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyer.

If your injury results in permanent impairment, then you may be able to keep receiving benefits even after you’ve returned to work. You will continue to receive benefits for a specified amount of time — dependent on how much of your body has been impaired.

If you are unable to work in any job because of your on-the-job injury, you may be entitled to disability payments for until age 65 under Arkansas workers’ compensation laws. That law will change in 2019, and injured workers’ who are declared permanently and totally disabled will only receive 450 weeks of additional payments.

Types of Employees & Industries

Types of Employees & Industries

In Arkansas, only employees are allowed to collect workers’ compensation — not independent contractors. This distinction is important and can greatly affect your ability to collect benefits if you are injured. Some employers will try to classify an injured worker as an independent contractor in order to avoid paying claims.

At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyers have successfully represented a variety of workers who were injured on the job, including:

  • Construction workers
  • Engineers
  • Logging and forestry workers
  • Truck drivers
  • Police and security workers
  • Transportation workers
  • Healthcare workers
  • Farming workers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Electricians

How to Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

In order to qualify for workers’ compensation, your injury must have occurred during the course of your employment. This may be difficult to establish, especially if your injury occurred off-site or after hours. However, if you were injured while performing work duties then you are entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

Immediately after you are injured, you must notify your employer of your injury. Do not assume that your doctor or the hospital will have notified your employer. Once you have received medical treatment, you must report your injury and fill out an accident report describing the injury and how it occurred. Be accurate when filling out this report and only state the facts as you remember them.

If you are injured in an accident, it can take weeks and even months for you to get back to work. During this time, you may go unpaid, making it difficult to pay for your everyday living expenses. Receiving compensation for any lost wages is critical to getting back on your feet again after an accident and avoiding bankruptcy or financial ruin.

Time Limits on Filing and Benefits

Time Limits on Filing and Benefits

There are time limits on filing a claim and receiving benefits. In most cases, you must report your injury to your employer immediately. Failure to report your injury could result in you being unable to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Arkansas law does allow you up to two years from the date of the injury to file a claim, however, there are circumstances where you may only have one year to file (§11-9-701-702)

When it comes to receiving benefits, your benefits will begin on the ninth day of your disability. If you miss more than 14 days, you will receive back payment to the first day. Mental injury benefits are capped at 26 weeks.

Common Reasons Your Claim Was Denied

When your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you may be confused and frustrated. Even when your injury is legitimate and you are rightfully owed benefits, your claim can inexplicably be denied. When this occurs, have your case reviewed by an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.

Your injury must have occurred while you were at work and in the course of your employment. Driving to and from work does not count, nor does running errands during your lunch break. In order to collect workers’ compensation benefits, you must clearly establish that your injury occurred while you were performing job-related duties.

You must notify your employer as soon as possible after an injury accident. Failure to notify your employer often results in claim denials. The insurance company can claim that your injury did not happen on the job or that you were injured over the weekend or that it was the result of a pre-existing condition.

While you don’t need to establish fault when filing for a workers’ compensation claim, if you were intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, then you may not be eligible for benefits.

Your boss and their insurance company must approve of the doctor you seek for treatment. Failure to obtain approval could result in loss of benefits.

Failure to provide adequate documentation of injury and of treatment needed could result in your loss of benefits.

If you already had an injury, then you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation. If your job made a pre-existing injury worse, however, you might be eligible for benefits. In order to obtain benefits, your lawyer will have to clearly establish that the job you were required to do has significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition.

There are times when your employer will dispute your claim outright. Sometimes employers dispute claims to avoid paying these claims. Other times, they dispute claims because they have valid evidence that you’re not being forthright. If they have surveillance footage or eye witness accounts that contradict your claim, then they will file a dispute.

How To Appeal a Denial

If your workers’ compensation claim was denied or you find fault with how much your disability payments are, then you can file an appeal with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission to request a formal hearing.

During the appeals process, having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side will be invaluable. Your attorney will protect your rights to benefits and clearly establish why you meet the necessary criteria for collecting workers’ compensation.

Once your appeal has been filed, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will notify your employer of your appeal and they will begin an investigation. During this time, your claim will likely enter mediation, where you and your employer’s insurance company will attempt to work out a settlement. If mediation fails, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

The appeals process can be difficult, complex and lengthy. Consult an Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyer prior to appealing a denied claim. You are entitled to benefits under Arkansas law. Our attorneys can help you file a workers’ compensation claim and file the necessary appeals if your claim is denied.

Contact Us

We’re Taking Care of You

After an accident, it is difficult to know where to turn for help. Insurance companies don’t have your best interest at heart.

Arkansas and Tennessee are our homes and we want to make sure our neighbors and friends are supported. With eight offices in Arkansas and Tennessee – Little Rock, Little Rock-Corporate Hill, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, and Memphis – our personal injury lawyers are easily accessible when you need help.

Our experienced injury attorneys are here to advocate for you.

We’re here to help.

Personal Injury Resouces

tornado damage

Hailstorm, Tornado or Storm Damage Claims Lawyers

Filing a Hail, Tornado, or Storm Damage Claim You’ve just gone through a severe natural disaster in Arkansas and seen your home ruined by a tornado. Yet, you’ve faithfully paid your insurance premiums for years, believing that your insurance company would be your safety net during times of crisis. But when you submitted your claim for the extensive damage incurred, the insurance company rejected your claim.  How can they do that? Unfortunately, this story is not unique. Numerous policyholders face the harsh reality of insurance companies who refuse to handle storm damage claims promptly or ethically. When homeowners need them most, these insurers turn their backs and make the road even more difficult for families. Denied claims, lengthy delays, and inadequate compensation have become hauntingly familiar, leaving Arkansas homeowners stranded and their dreams shattered. Storms, hail, tornadoes, and severe weather events can wreak havoc on our homes and properties. Insurance policies are designed to provide financial protection in these situations. When insurance companies deny, delay, or underpay your storm damage claims, where can you turn for help? At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas storm damage attorneys are here to help you rebuild your life after a tornado, hail, or severe weather event. We know that some insurance companies don’t play fair. When they do, we fight back and stand up for homeowners throughout Arkansas and Tennessee. Contact us at [rainwater_tel] to learn how we can help you.

Learn More

How to Choose the Best Personal Injury Lawyer in Arkansas

When you suffer an injury in an accident, it can seem like your whole world is crashing down around you. Life as you know it may never be the same, and you need someone on your side to help you navigate this new path. As you focus on your recovery and on rebuilding your life,... Read more »

Learn More
impairment rating workers comp

What is Impairment Rating?

What is an Impairment Rating in a Workers’ Comp Case? If you suffer an injury on the job in Arkansas, you want to get healed quickly, so you can return to work and resume your normal daily activities. Your employer and their insurer want this too. The faster you return to work, the faster they can stop paying your workers’ compensation claims. However, what happens when your injuries don’t heal or when you suffer permanent or total disability? When this occurs, your doctor must rate your impairment. This impairment rating helps to determine how long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits and how much you are entitled to receive. Each impairment has a dollar value, and the degree of impairment also matters. Your employer’s insurance company will use this impairment rating when calculating your benefits. Often, the insurance company and injured worker do not agree on the extent of the injury or the level of impairment. This is where an impairment rating helps. The rating will tell the insurer and your employer if you cannot return to work or return to work in a lighter capacity. This impairment rating is critical when it comes to receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, including workers’ compensation claims, SSA disability benefits, and other employment benefits. GET FREE CONSULT NOW  

Learn More
Will My Personal Injury Case Settle or Go To Trial?

Will My Personal Injury Case Settle or Go To Trial?

When you suffer an injury in an accident, you may need to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to obtain the compensation you need. With the right personal injury lawyer on your team, you can typically get significantly more money for your accident and injuries. Your lawyer will work to negotiate the best possible... Read more »

Learn More
Workers Comp Lawyer AR

When to Hire a Lawyer

When to Hire a Worker’s Comp Lawyer After a Work Injury? In Arkansas, injured workers can receive money for medical expenses and compensation for lost wages through workers’ compensation claims. You receive these benefits if you suffer an injury or illness at work or while performing job-related duties. Better yet, you do not have to prove fault or establish liability to receive these benefits. Even if you are to blame for your accident, if you are injured at work, you have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim. While this may seem easy and pretty straightforward, insurance companies and employers are often reluctant to pay these benefits as long as needed. They may push workers to return to work too soon or look for any evidence to reduce the length of time they must pay these benefits. For these reasons, it is important to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side from the start. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyers know how to get the most for our clients. We understand the complexities surrounding many workers’ compensation claims, and we can help you through this difficult time. Call us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

Learn More
IME Independent Medical Exam for Workers Comp Accident Arkansas

Independent Medical Examination

What is an Independent Medical Examination & How Does an IME Impact my Workers Comp Case? After an on-the-job injury in Arkansas, one of the first steps when filing a workers’ compensation claim is to visit the treating doctor for examination of your injury. This is an important step in getting a diagnosis, as well as much-needed treatment. However, your treating doctor is not the only one that will likely examine you. Your employer’s insurers are allowed to contract an independent medical examiner to examine you, too. The purpose of independent medical exams (IME) is to act as a cross-reference, ensuring workers are not exaggerating their injury. This IME is important to insurance companies because there are over 4.5 million workplace injuries every year. These injuries result in payouts of over $62 billion and workers’ compensation insurers want to be sure that they are not paying more than is absolutely necessary. As a result, independent medical exams are often a requirement when seeking benefits. Unfortunately, although the word “independent” is in their title, these examinations and the physicians who conduct them are not completely sovereign from the insurance company. In 2009, the New York Times found in a review of case files, medical records, and interviews that IME reports tend to benefit insurers. For this reason alone, it is important to have someone on your side who can help you through the initial IME. You need a workers’ compensation attorney who can prepare you for the initial meeting with an independent medical examiner, so you can obtain the compensation and benefits you rightfully deserve. GET FREE CONSULT NOW

Learn More
Rainwater Logo

How Insurance Companies Take Advantage

How Insurance Companies Take Advantage of Injured Workers An insurance company is a business looking to make a profit. An insurance company looks for ways to help a worker’s compensation claim end up so the insurance company spends less money to help you recover. An insurance company may put its interests ahead of yours. There are certain events that can affect the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim. Here are a few ways an insurer may try to rip you off. GET FREE CONSULT NOW Insurance Companies Send You To Their Doctors Worker’s compensation law allows the employer to choose the initial physician. The “company” doctor is likely a doctor chosen by the worker’s compensation insurance company or a doctor on a list of preferred doctors that handle their claims. Doctors who agree to have a relationship with insurance companies receive income from the insurance company referrals. This places the doctor in a position where the doctors could feel obligated to make a diagnosis or recommendation that is not objectionable to the worker’s compensation adjuster. A doctor who disagrees too frequently with the insurance adjuster’s recommendation could end up off the approved list. Insurance Companies Delay Approval of Medical Treatment Even if your doctor or multiple doctors suggest that you need treatment for your injuries or need other medical care, an insurer can delay the decision by requesting opinions from several different doctors, waiting for a doctor to give an opinion that matches the insurer’s view of the claim. A delay in approval for surgery or medication can lead to longer recovery or permanent consequences. Insurance Companies Blame Injuries on Existing Conditions An insurance company can blame your injury on an existing condition like aging, prior injuries, or the structure of your body to avoid compensating you for lost wages and treatment. If they can make an argument that your injury was caused by something other than workplace conditions, they can save themselves from paying for your recovery. If you feel your employer’s worker’s compensation insurer is taking advantage of you or your claim is not reaching a fair outcome, discuss your situation with a  workers’ comp lawyer like Rainwater, Holt & Sexton.

Learn More
Rainwater Logo

Your Guide to Worker’s Comp & Social Security Disability in Arkansas

What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and SSDI? When you suffer a serious, life-changing injury at work, you may find yourself considering both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). When your injury results in permanent disability, you need to be able to collect the benefits you are entitled to. But should you collect workers’ compensation or SSDI benefits? The answer to that depends on your injury and your degree of disability. It also depends on whether you can obtain approval for SSDI benefits. In some cases, you may be able to collect both. Unfortunately, collecting the benefits you need after a serious and disabling injury is not easy. That is why so many injured Arkansas workers turn to Rainwater, Holt & Sexton to help them after suffering a significant work-related injury. Our Arkansas SSDI lawyers can help you through the process of getting both worker’s compensation benefits and SSDI benefits if you qualify. We can also represent you through the appeals process to ensure that you get the money you need to move forward in life after suffering a disability. Call us today to start reviewing all your legal options. GET FREE CONSULT NOW

Learn More
Whiplash from Auto Accident

Whiplash Lawyers

Whiplash Lawyers in Arkansas Auto, Truck, Equipment, and Workers’ Comp Accidents in Little Rock and Beyond The forces of an accident can be severe and can damage the delicate muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck. The same can occur with trauma from a slip and fall, equipment accident, nursing home abuse, or assault. Due to the nature of these injuries, the full extent of damage is not always fully apparent right after a crash or other accident. However, in the hours and days following the accident, victims may begin to experience pain, stiffness, and numbness in their neck and extremities. Whether you feel all the effects of whiplash right away or start to experience them later, it is important to seek medical help immediately and then speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Neck injuries, such as whiplash, can result in a lifetime of pain and disability if they are not treated promptly. Even with good medical care, some injured accident victims will develop chronic neck pain and impairment. As such, it is important to contact an experienced Arkansas car accident lawyer as soon as you can after your accident. Your personal injury lawyer will be able to protect your rights to full and complete compensation, no matter how serious your injuries may be. CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION

Learn More

Workers’ Compensation and Pre-Existing Conditions

Most of us have been injured at some point in our lives, whether it was a past sports injury or a more recent car accident. When you are injured at work, however, you may wonder how a pre-existing injury or condition will affect your ability to file a claim and how you can prove that... Read more »

Learn More
arkansas personal injury workers comp

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... Read more »

Learn More
Rainwater Logo

Do I Have to Participate in Vocational Rehabilitation?

Often times, when a person is injured at work, they end up with permanent restrictions that prevent the employee from going back to the job that he or she had at the time of the injury. This can be a very scary time for the employee and their family, because at first glance it looks... Read more »

Learn More
Rainwater Logo

What Benefits Can An Injured Worker Receive While Off Work?

One of the biggest misconceptions in a workers’ compensation claim is that the claimant is entitled to 100% lost wages while he or she is off work for a work related injury. In reality, there is nothing in the Arkansas laws that tells the claimant that they are entitled to recover 100% of their wages... Read more »

Learn More
Rainwater Logo

Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ Compensation exists to help injured workers get back on their feet again. It’s a safeguard for hard-working people just like you who deserve a helping hand in the event of a serious accident on the job. But what kind of benefits can you secure through workers’ compensation? Here are 3 types of workers’ comp... Read more »

Learn More