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Should I apply for workers’ compensation in Arkansas?

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Note: Kelly’s story is a fictional scenario presented to help illustrate the role particular circumstances may play in someone’s decision to apply for workers’ compensation in Arkansas. 


If you are an employee in Arkansas and have been injured on the job or contracted a job-related illness, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. If you are unsure whether or not to file a claim, we hope this article can help you make an informed decision. 

Understanding the Process

Understanding the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim in Arkansas might help prepare you for what is to come. Applying looks different for everyone based on many factors, including:

  • What the injury or illness was
  • How it affects your ability to work
  • How expensive your medical bills are
  • The impact the incident has on your job

To get benefits, you must report the incident to your employer within 30 days of the injury or knowledge of the illness. Failure to do this may affect your ability to gain workers’ compensation benefits. 

Reporting the incident is not the only requirement with a statute of limitations or a time limit. A worker’s compensation claim must be filed within two years of the incident, date of compensation (or wages in lieu of compensation), or authorized medical care. Understanding and complying with these rules is crucial to the success of your case. 

To apply for workers’ compensation, you or your employer must file a claim with the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Court

Here are just a few examples of the types of forms filled out for various incidents:

  • Form 2 should be filed to report the incident 
  • Form 3A should be filed for a job-related death
  • Form 3B should be filed for a job-related illness
  • Form 3 should be filed for a job-related injury

A trial is not necessary if you and the employer/insurance carrier can settle outside of court. However, let’s say you would like a judge to resolve the issue in court. In this case, you or your legal counsel must submit a Form 9 once a claim is filed. This is done to request a trial. 

Reasons Someone May File a Claim

Here are some examples of injuries or illnesses people may seek compensation for, especially if they lead to death or disability:

  • Hernia
  • Asthma
  • Frostbite
  • Hearing loss
  • A slip, trip, or fall
  • Contact dermatitis 
  • Asbestos poisoning
  • Some types of cancer
  • Carpal-tunnel syndrome
  • COVID-19 and other occupational diseases
  • Mental injury, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD

Types of disabilities include temporary total disability (TTD), permanent total disability (PTD), and permanent partial disability (PPD). Employees cannot always prove that their conditions resulted from their job duties, so it is important to consider whether you have sufficient evidence to support your workers’ compensation claim. A lawyer can help assess your evidence and claim. 

People may also file a claim for reimbursement for lost wages and medical expenses. A good rule of thumb is to file as soon as possible if the injury requires more than a first aid kit or an occupational disease is diagnosed. 

Reasons Someone May Not File a Claim

Common reasons people do not file a workers’ compensation claim include lack of knowledge, insecurity when navigating the process, or concerns that their claim will have repercussions on their job. An attorney’s assistance can overcome these barriers. We know it is illegal under Arkansas law to fire someone for filing a claim in good faith.

Other reasons people may hesitate to file a claim include:

  • Not needing medical attention or time off work
  • Personal responsibility, such as your own negligence or engagement in activities not related to your job
  • Pre–existing conditions that exacerbate the injury
  • Your employer’s lack of workers’ compensation insurance

In Arkansas, almost every employer is required by law to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. Even if your place of work doesn’t have coverage, you still may have legal options. 

Understanding Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Depending on the circumstances, there are various benefits to filing a claim for workers’ compensation. Your beneficiaries may be compensated in the following ways in the case of a job-related death:

  • Funeral costs
  • A lump sum for your spouse and dependent children
  • Wage-based benefits for your spouse and dependent children

There are exceptions to this, such as a spouse remarrying or a child turning eighteen. Children may be eligible to receive benefits past the age of eighteen if they are a full-time student or mentally/physically unable to support themselves. 

The following are possible types of compensation you could qualify for in the case of a job-related injury or illness, depending on severity:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • TTD benefits
  • PTD benefits
  • PPD benefits

Kelly’s Story

Kelly works as a nurse at a hospital. One day while on the clock, she slipped on an N95 mask that had fallen out of a patient’s pocket. She didn’t think she needed to file a workers’ compensation claim because she was back at work the following shift. However, she had pain in her hip that she thought may need a medical examination. She didn’t know how much the service would cost, so she filed a claim. 

What if I Don’t Need It?

Even if you end up not needing the compensation, filing a claim can be done as a precautionary measure. It’s a safety net in case your injury turns out to be more serious than initially thought. However, filing a claim when you don’t need it can have consequences. It could raise your employer’s premium, affect your relationship with your employer, or impact future job opportunities. Additionally, if the claim is found to be fraudulent, it could lead to legal penalties. This is why seeking legal advice if you’re uncertain is advisable. 


Were you injured on the job? Did you contract an occupational illness? You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re unsure whether or not to file a claim, you can book a free consultation to speak with one of our lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. You don’t have to make this decision alone. We are here to answer your questions and guide you through the process. Contact us today to get started!