HOW DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION WORK IN ARKANSAS?
Workers’ compensation laws are taken seriously in the state of Arkansas. They were created to ensure that employees injured on the job are taken care of and not subject to penalties from their employers while seeking necessary medical care and treatment.
What exactly are the laws?
In the state of Arkansas, most employers with three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Employers in industries that are considered especially risky are required to carry workers’ compensation coverage even if they have less than three employees.
Some employers are exempt from this rule– for example, the employers of real estate agents and farm laborers aren’t required to carry coverage for their employees. Employers of nonprofit and domestic workers are also not required to carry workers’ compensation coverage.
Who pays for workers’ compensation coverage?
Employers are required to pay for workers’ compensation coverage in full. They are not permitted to charge employees for coverage, nor deduct any amount of money from employee earnings for coverage.
If employers attempt to charge employees for coverage, they will be subject to legal penalties. Similarly, if a non-exempt employer doesn’t carry coverage, employees are entitled to take their employers to court in order to obtain the money that workers’ compensation coverage would have provided for their medical treatment.
What do employers have to do?
Even if it’s inconvenient, employers are required to provide coverage for their employees. In addition to the coverage, they must display an informative poster in the workplace that outlines the rules of workers’ compensation and let employees know what to do in the event that they’ll need to utilize their coverage.
Employers who don’t display the informational poster are subject to legal penalties and fines.
Failure to provide coverage at all is punishable by law, and is a serious offense. In some states, failure to provide coverage constitutes a felony.
What are employees responsible for?
The main responsibility for employees who need to utilize their workers’ compensation coverage is to report accidents as soon as they happen. Prompt communication with their employers makes the process much easier and allows employers to contact their insurance carriers right away, speeding up the process of obtaining medical treatment (and ideally helping employees return to work as quickly as possible).
In fact, if an employee fails to notify their employer quickly enough about the accident or injury that they’ve sustained, their workers’ compensation claim may be denied.
Could my workers’ compensation claim be denied by my employer?
Providing quality workers’ compensation coverage is an expense for employers that, unfortunately, is often viewed as an inconvenience. As such, some employers may attempt to deny employee claims for a variety of reasons.
Failure to report an injury in a timely manner is one of these reasons; they may also attempt to deny benefits with the claim that an employee’s injury was pre-existing or that it was not sustained while in the workplace.
What do I do if my coverage is denied or insufficient?
If you believe your employer has failed to provide the proper coverage for an injury sustained in the workplace, you may have to report them to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission.
When dealing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, you’ll be expected to state your case with as much evidence and detailed information as possible. This is where an experienced workers’ compensation attorney comes in. Obtaining legal counsel to help with filing your appeal will help you present your case in a clear and organized way that allows the judge to make an informed decision regarding the appeal.
If you’re being denied workers’ compensation or if your employer is threatening to discipline or terminate you for utilizing your coverage, a seasoned attorney will help you handle the situation and obtain the money that you’re owed. At Davidson Law Firm, we’re here to ensure that you receive the help you need to recover, while protecting your employment.
Give us a call today at 501-620-4242, or drop us a line. We look forward to taking on your case.