waiting period for workers comp

When workers get hurt on the job, they might be unable to work for weeks or months until they recover.

Sometimes, these workers can’t ever return to work because their injuries are so severe.

Fortunately, Arkansas law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employers. 

Workers’ comp in Arkansas provides benefits for injured employees, such as medical care payments and lost earnings.

However, the law requires a waiting period to receive lost earnings, making paying for expenses challenging. 

The Cottrell Law Office can help you file your workers’ compensation claim and request benefits for your lost wages during the waiting period.

What Is a Waiting Period?

Many states, including Arkansas, have laws that dictate when an employee can receive lost wages after a work-related injury.

This is known as the waiting period. An employee cannot receive financial compensation for their injuries during this waiting period. 

Arkansas Has a Seven-Day Waiting Period 

In Arkansas, the waiting period for workers’ compensation wage benefits lasts for seven calendar days.

This means that you won’t be eligible to receive payment for lost wages for the first seven days following a work-related injury.

However, if your injury lasts fourteen days or longer, you can retroactively receive financial benefits for these first seven days. 

There are some nuances to the workers’ comp 7-day waiting period. Speaking with an attorney can help you understand if you are eligible and when you can expect to receive benefits.

How the Waiting Period Can Affect You

The worker’s comp waiting period can significantly impact your recovery. During these initial seven days, you may have to rely on personal resources, such as sick leave or paid time off.

This can strain your household financially and pressure you into returning to work too soon. 

Likewise, an employer may encourage you to return to work before healing. If you return too soon, your injuries may worsen or never heal completely. This can complicate your claim if a doctor advises you to take time off to recover after you return. 

Meeting with a doctor and attorney before returning to work is best. They will advise you on how to proceed during the waiting period.

What Other Benefits Can I Receive During the Waiting Period?

Under workers’ comp in Arkansas, you can receive healthcare benefits immediately after a work-related injury. Your employer’s insurance should cover all costs related to your injury. 

Some of these costs include:

  • Visits to a healthcare provider,
  • Surgery and other procedures,
  • Hospital care,
  • Physical rehabilitation,
  • Prescriptions, and
  • Orthopedic supplies.

Please remember that you can only receive these benefits if you report your injury to your employer and their insurance carrier.

The insurance carrier will choose a doctor for you to visit. You may be responsible for any treatment you receive from an unapproved healthcare provider.

How an Attorney Can Help

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will help you comply with the law during this stressful period. 

To start, they can assist in preparing your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer’s insurance company may have confusing forms that can complicate your claim.

A lawyer will ensure you file these forms correctly and will make sure to document all your injuries.

After this, your attorney can help you get retroactive benefits, especially lost wages during the waiting period. But keep in mind that not all people can receive this compensation.

Your doctor will decide when you can return to work, determining whether you can receive these benefits. 

Also, your attorney’s role extends beyond the waiting period. They will provide ongoing assistance throughout your claim to protect your rights.

Your attorney can help gather evidence, negotiate with the insurance company, and advocate for fair compensation. 

Sometimes, an employer will try to deny responsibility for an injury. In this case, your attorney will advocate on your behalf to show that the injury is work-related and that you are entitled to workers’ compensation. 

Schedule a Case Review

Working with an attorney is vital during this process. Wesley Cottrell is familiar with navigating the complexities of workers’ comp in Arkansas.

He has over 32 years of experience advocating for injured workers’ rights and is ready to help you. Contact the Cottrell Law Office today to schedule a consultation. 

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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