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Arkansas Workers' Compensation Laws

Arkansas has a long and proud history of committed professionals, including the first Democratic female Presidential nominee. But even the proudest, hardest working employees get injured at work. If you were injured in an accident at work in Arkansas, get ready to fight for the benefits to which you are legally entitled under Arkansas workers' compensation laws.

The table and answers below address the most critical Arkansas workers' compensation laws.

Time Limits on Filing

  • In most cases, you must report your injury to your employer immediately (§ 11-9-701)
  • In most cases, you have up to 2 years to file a claim. In some cases, the limit is shortened to 1 year (§ 11-9-702)

Time Limits on Benefits

  • Benefits begin on day 9 of disability from an injury (§ 11-9-501(a)(2))
  • If you miss more than 14 days, you will receive back-payment to the first day following your injury (§ 11-9-501(a)(3))
  • Benefits for mental injuries limited to 26 weeks (§ 11-9-113(b)(2))
  • Death must occur within one year of development of mental illness for death benefits to be paid (§ 11-9-113(2)(A))

Benefit Caps

Other Limits

  • Employers with fewer than 3 employees, or who employ certain types of employees, are exempt (§ 11-9-102)
  • Few heart-related injuries are compensable (§ 11-9-114)
  • Up to $10,000 fine for willful discrimination against an employee who made a workers' compensation claim (§ 11-9-107)
  • Your employer may be required to employ you with restrictions or pay you additional benefits (§ 11-9-505)

Types of Compensation

You may be entitled to payment of your medical bills, up to $10,000, and wage replacement benefits depending on your level and duration of disability. Wage replacement benefits are subject to limits.

Claim Denials

There are many possible reasons why your workers’ comp claim may have been denied, but your employer is not required to carry workers' compensation insurance if it has fewer than three employees. Additionally, Arkansas does not compensate for time lost due to disability until the ninth day of disability. If you are disabled for more than 2 weeks, then you will be back-paid compensation beginning your first day of disability.

Covered Injuries

Most injuries and diseases which arise out of the course of employment are compensable. However, there are limitations on the circumstances under which some injuries are compensable.

Mental Injuries

Arkansas is very specific with regards to the circumstances under which mental injuries, such as panic attacks, are compensable under workers' compensation. If you can establish that your panic attacks arose out of and in the course of employment by a preponderance of the evidence, or if you were a victim of a crime of violence at work, your panic attacks may be compensable. If your loved one committed suicide within one year of developing a mental illness at work, you may be entitled to death benefits.

Heart-Related Injuries

Imagine you were so stressed out about your annual evaluation that you suffered a heart attack right in the middle of it. You suffered a physical injury at work, so you file a claim, presuming that workers' compensation will pay for your medical treatment and lost wages. Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that a routine evaluation of your work would qualify as the type of triggering incident necessary to qualify heart-related injuries as compensable work injuries.

Job Protection

Restricted Work

Your employer is not required to come up with work that satisfies your restrictions if there are no such positions available. However, your employer is required to either give you a job or pay the difference between the benefits you have received and the average weekly wages you are losing during the period of time your employer is refusing to employ you for up to one year.

Returning to Work

Arkansas prohibits employers from willfully discriminating against employees who have made claims under workers' compensation. If you are fired shortly after returning to work, your employer could be subject to a fine of up to $10,000. Arkansas is also an at-will employment state. That means your employer can fire you with or without cause, at any time.

Have a Workers’ Comp Attorney Evaluate Your Claim for Free

An attorney experienced with workers' compensation claims is available to review your case for free. A free claim review can help you determine whether your injuries are compensable, how much compensation you are legally entitled to, and what legal obligations your employer has.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified attorney.
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