Workers' Compensation

Bob Buckalew
Attorney At Law

300 Spring Building
Suite 320
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Phone: (501) 375-7575
Toll Free: 1-888-995-7554
Fax: (501) 375-8063

The Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission is not an insurance company. Rather, it enforces the Workers' Compensation Law to ensure that all covered employers secure insurance coverage from commercial carriers or through self-insurance programs. The Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission also regulates workers' compensation awards to insure that benefit providers make correct and timely payments to eligible claimants. Work related injuries or illnesses that commonly trigger a workers' compensation or a "work comp" claim include:

  • Back injuries, knee injuries, neck injuries, and shoulder injuries
  • Brain and head injuries.
  • Burns and injuries suffered in fires and explosions
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Eye injuries and hearing problems
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
  • Death Claims
  • Other injuries to the body
Clients who choose my law firm to handle their worker's compensation claims receive the following:
  • Free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer
  • In home visits if requested
  • Over 30 years of legal experience in personal injury law
  • Toll-free access at 1-888-995-7554; local (501) 375-7575
  • Seasoned and courteous staff
  • Financial resources to achieve a just resolution of your claim
  • Contingency fees - no recovery - no fee
  • Convenient office location in Little Rock
  • Licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Missouri

My office is located in Little Rock, Arkansas, and I represent injured workers and families in the State of Arkansas. My clients receive the kind of hands-on, personal attention that is rarely available from larger firms that stress the quantity of cases, and not the quality of care and commitment that every injury victim and his or her family deserves. I listen to my clients, return phone calls, and talk in plain English. When clients call my office, they get me-not a first year associate attorney or somebody else who needs permission to give advice. My goal is to help injury victims and families design a successful strategy for physical, emotional, and financial recovery. If you have further questions or concerns about workers compensation law or a "work comp" claim in Arkansas please contact me today to set up an appointment. For immediate assistance call me in Little Rock at 501-375-7575 or toll-free at 1-888-995-7554.

Workers' Compensation - An Overview

The term "workers' compensation" refers to a system of laws outlining specific benefits to which injured employees are entitled, and the procedures for obtaining such benefits. Every state has its own workers' compensation laws, which are contained in statutes, and vary somewhat from state to state. In addition, there are special, federal workers' compensation laws for employees of the federal government and other, specific types of industries.

Under the law in most states, every business must have some form of workers' compensation insurance to cover injured employees. While there are exceptions, most employers in the State of Arkansas, who have three or more employees, are required to provide workers' compensation coverage. Filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing an insurance claim; it isn't a lawsuit against an employer, but rather a request for benefits. If you have been injured at work, attorneys experienced in workers' compensation law can explain the complexities of workers' compensation and help you secure the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.

The Purpose and Effect of Workers' Compensation Laws

Workers' compensation laws are designed to ensure that employees who are injured on the job receive fixed monetary awards, without having to litigate their claims against their employers. In this way, workers' compensation is an important safety net for employees when they are injured on the job or as a result of their job.

Most workers' compensation laws also provide employers and co-workers with a certain level of protection, by limiting the amount employees can recover from their employers, and prohibiting, in most cases, injured employees from suing their co-workers. In essence, workers' compensation is a no-fault system, where an injured worker's own negligence, or the negligence of his or her employer or co-workers, is not put at issue; rather, the injured employee is simply covered for his or her work-related injuries.

Thus, workers' compensation is an injured worker's "exclusive remedy" with respect to a work-related injury, unless he or she can point to a third party who contributed to his or her injuries. For example, because workers are often injured by products or machinery they use at work, they may, and often do, seek compensation from the manufacturers of such products. Employers are generally not directly involved in the third-party claims of their employees, but may intervene in a  third-party claim if litigation is required in order to protect their workers' compensation subrogation rights. If, however, an injured employee cannot be "made whole" by the settlement or recovery from their third-party claim, then the workers' compensation carrier is not entitled to any recovery for its subrogation in Arkansas.

The Scope of Workers' Compensation Coverage

Workers' compensation coverage varies by state, and by occupation. For example, Arkansas exempts certain categories of workers, such as agricultural employees, domestic employees and independent contractors, from its workers' compensation system. Other states require coverage only if an employer employs a minimum number of employees. In Arkansas, most employers having three or more employees are required to provide workers' compensation coverage. To determine whether you are entitled to Arkansas workers' compensation benefits, you should contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney, such as myself.

Workers' Compensation Benefit Claims vs. Civil Lawsuits

Workers' compensation is usually considered a substitute for a lawsuit against your employer. In exchange for not suing your employer in court, you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault for your injuries. Prior to the creation of the workers' compensation system, employees had no choice but to go to court to recover compensation for their work-related injuries. Now, most employees are automatically entitled to workers' compensation, but at the same time, the employer is automatically protected from most employee lawsuits.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you file a workers' compensation claim, you still may be able bring a lawsuit if your injury was caused by someone other than your employer, or by a defective product you used on the job, such as a piece of equipment that malfunctioned.

Protecting Your Rights

If you have been injured at work, contacting a lawyer who excels in workers' compensation or personal injury law is the best way to ensure that your rights will be protected. A lawyer can protect your rights in many ways. Besides making sure you are receiving all the workers' compensation benefits to which you are legally entitled, an experienced workers' compensation attorney may also be instrumental in obtaining a fair settlement for your injuries.

Additionally, if someone other than your employer or co-worker was partly at fault for your injury, you may be able to file a liability insurance claim against that person or business. Moreover, if your accident is not covered by workers' compensation (for example, if you are an independent contractor or because the company does not have workers' compensation insurance), you may be entitled to bring legal action against someone for whom you were working, just as you could file a claim against any other person who caused you personal injury. In such a case, you may be able to recover compensation that you couldn't recover in a workers' compensation claim, including attorney fees, compensation for pain and suffering, and punitive damages (damages to punish the party who injured you).

Types of Injuries Covered by Workers' Compensation

For a work-related injury, you may be eligible for compensation for any of the injuries listed below:

  • Back injuries, knee injuries,  neck injuries, shoulder injuries.
  • Preexisting conditions that the workplace accelerates or aggravates. Examples may include a back injury, even though you don't notice the pain from the injury until later.

  • Injuries to your hands, head, legs, feet, or other parts of your body.
  • Injuries caused from the employer's workplace that occur in the course and scope of employment.
  • Injuries resulting from a gradual onset of work that occurs over a period of time.

There are some injuries, however, that may not be covered by workers' compensation. In Arkansas, an employee cannot recover for an injury sustained during horseplay at work. Many states, including Arkansas, will not award benefits to a person who is injured while intoxicated or who deliberately inflicts injury on himself. Furthermore, an employee who is injured while traveling to or from work is not generally entitled to benefits unless the employer has agreed to provide the worker with the means of transportation, pay the employee's cost of commuting, or if travel is required while performing his/her duties.

If a worker leaves the employer's premises to do a personal errand and is injured, he or she will not be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, if an employee is injured while returning from company-sponsored education classes, or goes to the restroom, visits the cafeteria, has a coffee break, or steps out of a nonsmoking office to smoke a cigarette, and is injured, workers' compensation boards and courts typically recognize that employers benefit from these "nonbusiness" employee conveniences, and often award compensation.

Workers' Compensation DO's

If you have been injured while on the job, be sure to DO the following:

1.  Report your injuries to your employer immediately as well as their cause.

2.  Be sure to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney before filing your own workers' compensation claim.

3.  Gather all pertinent information regarding your injury, including:

  • medical bills and records
  • witnesses' names, addresses, and phone numbers
  • photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, if at all possible
  • any other information that might be helpful
4.  Make sure that your attorney is aware of past injury dates as well as past medical problems that may have an impact upon your worker's compensation claim.

5.  Keep accurate records of days your work and days your miss as a result of your injuries.

6.  Seek prompt medical attention for all your injuries, and keep all of your doctors' appointments. Unless your worker's compensaton claim has been controverted, make sure all of your medical treatment has been autorized before undergoing treatment.

Workers' Compensation DON'Ts

If you have been injured while on the job, DO NOT do the following:

1.  Don't assume, after reporting your on-the-job accident, that your employer will notify their workers' compensation insurance carrier of your injuries. Often, an employer will try to handle an on-the-job accident in-house in order to avoid an increase in insurance premiums.

2.  Do not change doctors without first getting prior authorization from the workers' compensation insurance company or the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commision. Always consult your attorney before any change of a doctor is attempted.

3.  With the exception of your spouse and your attorney, do not talk to anyone about your worker's compensation claim. Injury victims who talk too much often become their own worst enemies.

4.  Don't fall prey to amateur legal advice from well-meaning, but ill-informed people. Consult your attorney.

5.  Don't be shy around your treating doctor. Be sure to tell him/her of your symptoms and medical problems at the time of your appointment.

6.  Other than giving him a history of how your on the job injury occurred, as well as your injuries and past medical problems, do not discuss legal issues (such as the value of your claim) with your doctor.

How Long Is an Injured Employee Entitled to Receive Arkansas Workers' Compensation Benefits?

This depends primarily upon your treating doctor. Since your doctor is the only person qualified to talk about your medical condition, it is your doctor who decides what type of treatment you will receive, how long you will receive this treatment and if you need to be off work as a result of your injuries. The doctor also decides if there is permanent impairment. This is why it is so important for an injured employee to keep all of their doctor appointments. In short, the doctor is the key to the patient's well-being as well as the outcome of their claim.

What To Do If You Think You Have a Workers' Compensation Claim

Here are the first steps you should take if you are injured on the job:

  • Report the injury to your employer
    If possible, report the injury in writing and keep a copy of the report for personal records.

  • Complete a claim form
    No matter how your employer learns of your on-the-job injury, do not assume your employer will file a claim on your behalf in Arkansas. In many cases, employers will try to handle a claim in house in order to avoid an increase in their workers' compensation premiums. Therefore, an injured worker would be prudent in filing their own claim with the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission. Until a claim form is completed, the employer has no obligation to provide you benefits. Make sure the claim form is filled out completely and specifically. Keep a copy of your completed claim form. Once your employer receives your claim form, it is then the employer's responsibility to immediately notify its workers' compensation insurance company and arrange medical assistance for you.

  • File the claim as soon as possible
    If you are seeking to claim workers' compensation benefits, you should do so quickly. The claim form, known as form AR-C, can be obtained from the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission. Any delay on your part could lead to potential snags or delays in receiving benefits. Immediately reporting injuries and filing a claim as soon as you decide to seek compensation increases the likelihood that benefits will begin quickly.

If a dispute should arise regarding the claim, you can seek help from the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission, but you may also want to contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney, such as myself.

How Long Does an Injured Employee Have to File and Pursue a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Under Arkansas law, the injured employee has two years from the date of their on the job injury to file their claim with the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission, after which they have one year from the date of their last medical treatment or payment of benefits, whichever is greater, to pursue a claim for benefits. If the injured employee fails to pursue a claim within this period, then he/she will be legally barred from asserting a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

Is the Injured Employee Entitled to a Settlement?

This depends upon the doctor's assessment of the injured worker's physical condition at the end of their treatment as well as the worker's ability to return to work following their on the job injury. It also depends upon the insurance company's willingness to enter into settlement negotiations, as well as your attorney's experience in obtaining good results.


Arkansas workers' compensation laws are supposedly designed to provide a straightforward method for employees to receive compensation for work-related injuries. However, Arkansas workers' compensation law is often complicated, has specific procedural requirements, and is subject to legal interpretation. All too often, an injured employee finds his/her self caught up in the system and is not receiving adequate or any compensation for an on the job injury. To ensure that you receive proper and just compensation, it is advisable to contact an experienced workers' compensation or personal injury lawyer soon after you are injured, such as myself.

If you've been hurt or injured on the job in the State of Arkansas, I can help. My office is located in Little Rock, Arkansas and I represent clients throughout the State of Arkansas. Call the attorney with a proven track record, one who has the experience, financial resources and seasoned staff to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. For immediate assistance, contact
Bob Buckalew
today at:
(501) 375-7575
or toll free at

300 Spring Building
Suite 320
Little Rock, AR 72201

Web Site:

e-mail address:

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