What is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance covers all workplace accidents and injuries to employees. Unlike personal injury claims, injured employees do not have to prove negligence, and collecting compensation is often quick. In addition, even if the workplace accident was due to employee negligence or error, they are also eligible to collect benefits, unless the accident was deliberate or willful.
Employers provide this insurance coverage to protect themselves from liability and personal injury lawsuits. When an employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance, they are not allowed to file a lawsuit against their employer. In this way, workers’ compensation laws benefit both the employer and the employee.
Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Insurance Explained
Workers’ compensation laws in Arkansas protect workers who are injured on the job. Any business with three or more employers is required by law to secure workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their workers. When an accident occurs, injured workers are able to collect money to help pay for medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. Employers are then protected from lawsuits after an accident.
Not everyone who works for a business in Arkansas is entitled to receive workers’ compensation after an on-the-job injury. To be eligible for workers’ compensation in Arkansas, you must work for an employer with at least three or more workers. In addition, your injury must have occurred in the course of your employment.
Most workplace accidents are covered by workers’ compensation. For example, if your job involves heavy amounts of typing and you develop Carpal tunnel syndrome, your injury would be covered by workers’ compensation. Likewise, if you are hit by a falling piece of scaffolding and suffer a head injury, your injury would also be covered under the Arkansas workers’ compensation laws.
On the other hand, if your injury resulted from the use of drugs or alcohol, a workplace fight, or in the course of commuting, you may not be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?
It is important to know, however, that workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t cover everything. In fact, one common misconception about workers’ compensation claims in Arkansas is that just because your employer has worker’s comp insurance, you’ll be completely covered in the event of a workplace injury. That’s simply not the case.
We speak to injured workers all the time who were surprised to discover that their workers’ compensation claim doesn’t come close to covering the true cost of their accident, which is why they turn to us.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers:
- Medical benefits – This includes current medical bills, as well as ones in the future for your injury. There is a medical expense cap of $10,000. Some of the expenses that are covered include:
- Doctor’s bills
- Lab test costs
- Medication costs
- Medical equipment
- Diagnostic testing costs
- Mental injury benefits – Some mental injuries are covered by Arkansas workers’ compensation laws. It is important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney if you believe you have suffered a mental injury due to work. Your lawyer must clearly establish that this injury arose strictly because of the injury you suffered at work.
- Rehabilitation service benefits – Some physical rehabilitation or vocational rehabilitation may be covered.
- Lost wages –
- Temporary total disability benefits – When you miss work due to a work-related injury, you are eligible to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages over the past 52 weeks. This does not fully make up for the loss of your paycheck, however. As such, injured workers may need additional money to make ends meet.
- Permanent partial disability benefits – If your injury results in permanent impairment, then you may be eligible to receive benefits even after you’ve returned to work. The amount of money and length of time you will receive these benefits is pre-determined and established by law.
- Permanent and total disability – If you are permanently disabled and unable to work again, you may be entitled to disability payments for 450 weeks of additional payments.
- Funeral or end of life costs – If your work injury resulted in death, your family would be able to collect money to help pay for funeral expenses, as well as end-of-life costs.
Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation Laws in Arkansas
There are some workplace accidents that are not covered by workers’ compensation laws.
- Drugs and alcohol – In Arkansas, if you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, you would not be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
- Fighting – If you were injured in a physical fight with another employee, you would not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
- Horseplay or recreation – Any injuries suffered as a result of horseplay at work or recreational activities at work will not be covered by workers’ compensation.
- Intentional – If you intentionally injured yourself while at work, then you would not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
- Emotional injuries alone – Arkansas workers’ compensation typically doesn’t cover the costs of emotional injuries that exist without the presence of a physical injury. For example, if someone suffered a horrific, disfiguring accident at work and developed severe depression or PTSD, their therapy and psychological treatment would likely be covered under workers’ compensation laws. However, if someone suffers from depression and anxiety because they have a stressful job, this would not be covered.
- Heart-related injury – Few heart-related injuries are covered by Arkansas workers’ compensation law. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. If your attorney can prove that the heart-related injury was the direct result of an accident that occurred at work, you may be eligible for benefits.
Who Is Required to Carry Workers Compensation Insurance?
In Arkansas, any employer with more than three employees is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In some industries, especially dangerous ones, an employer may be required to carry workers’ compensation insurance even if they do not have three employees.
While it is your employer’s responsibility to carry workers’ compensation insurance, it is your responsibility to report your injury promptly. Report the injury to your employer as soon as it occurs and follow up with them to ensure that the necessary claims were submitted to their insurance company. Reporting an injury promptly is the key to collecting the benefits you need quickly.
Who Pays for Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Fortunately for workers, the cost of purchasing workers’ compensation insurance is the responsibility of the employer. Employers must bear the full financial responsibility of purchasing workers’ compensation, and in no way are they allowed to charge employees for this coverage.
Contact Us Today for a Free Initial Consultation
If you have been injured in a work accident in Arkansas, it is important to know your legal rights. You have a right to be compensated for those injuries through the Arkansas workers’ compensation system. Unfortunately, not everyone obtains the benefits they are entitled to after a workplace accident. When this occurs, it is important to contact an experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
With seven offices conveniently located throughout Arkansas and Tennessee—Little Rock, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Bryant, Jacksonville, and Memphis—our Arkansas Workers’ Compensation lawyers are there whenever you need us. Fill out a free contact request form or simply dial (800) 434-4800 and tell us about your story.