In Arkansas, you can file a workers’ compensation claim anytime within two years after you initially discover an injury or seek treatment for an illness that was a direct result of your work activity or working conditions. While you do need to file your claim as quickly as possible, it is also imperative that you do so correctly because an improper filing will significantly hinder your ability to obtain the correct compensation. By consulting a workers’ compensation lawyer in Arkansas with specific expertise in these cases, you can take the right steps in the claims process.
STEP 1: LOCATE THE CORRECT FORMS
The workers’ compensation claim process begins by obtaining the documents that you need to file the claim in your workplace. Most employers will already have all of the forms on hand. If your employer says they do not carry any workers’ compensation forms, you can obtain them yourself by visiting the Arkansas state website where they can easily be downloaded and printed.
STEP 2: NOTIFY YOUR EMPLOYER
Your second step is to notify your employer of your work-related injury or illness. You should then fill out an official document known as an Employee’s Notice of Injury (Form AR-N). In this report, you should note all of the details about your injury or illness including the location, time, and nature of the accident that caused it and any witnesses who can support your claim. Your employer, in turn, should submit a “First Report of Injury” form to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission and their insurer.
STEP 3: GAIN MEDICAL ATTENTION
If you have not done so already, visit a doctor for a thorough examination. Make sure to notify the physician that your injury or illness occurred at the workplace and explain the incident. Note that even if your employer requires you to see a doctor of their choosing for the initial examination, you still have the right to change doctors afterward.
STEP 4: FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR EMPLOYER
After you have notified your employer of your claim, it is up to them to follow through with the compensation process with their insurer. If they fail to file to initiate this process within ten days of receiving your claim, they face a fine of up to $500. The possibility of a penalty, however, does not guarantee that your employer will notify all related parties, so it is up to you to follow up. Depending upon the medical bills you submit and the extent of your injury, they may offer you a lump sum or regular payments to cover your costs. This becomes difficult, however, if you would like to dispute the compensation amount.
WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER
At first glance, filing a workers’ compensation claim may seem simple. But with the different parties involved and the amount of documentation required, it’s easy for you, the worker, to get lost in the shuffle. The best way to receive the amount of relief you need is to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer in Arkansas to help you through the process. With a lawyer on your side, you can expect that:
- You will be better informed. A good lawyer in Arkansas will inform you of all of your rights, including the specific benefits you are entitled to under your employment agreement. This expert support prevents you from unwittingly losing out on any benefits in the compensation process.
- The filing process will go more smoothly. Your lawyer will help you prepare your claim in a way that maximizes its ability to succeed. This includes ensuring that your entire claim is filed on time with the proper documentation, which includes thorough medical records of your injury and any medical bills for continuing treatment.
- You will be able to fight back if your employer contests your claim. After your claim has been filed, your employer has the right to contest it. By hiring a lawyer, you have an expert on your side who can help you fight any disputes to your claim and ensure you receive the compensation you are owed.
Request a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer at Caddell Reynolds to ensure your claim does not become denied or underpaid. Call (800) 889-6944 today to begin the claims process and receive compensation for your injury.