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Workers Compensation in Arkansas

Jason Metz

Arkansas requires all businesses to have workers compensation insurance for employees, with only a few exceptions.

Workers comp insurance generally pays medical bills and some lost income for a worker who's injured while doing a job-related task. Work injuries usually covered range from burns to carpal tunnel to broken bones.

Arkansas workers compensation law outlines many details of the limits of workers comp payments, who must be covered and who can be exempt from coverage. Below are many of the specifics contained in the workers comp law in Arkansas. The Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission also has a page with helpful information for employers.

Arkansas workers compensation laws

Can any employees opt out of Arkansas workers compensation with a waiver?

Yes - corporate officers and sole proprietors can.

Is self-insurance for workers comp allowed in Arkansas?

Yes, for individual employers, groups of employers and political subdivisions. Political subdivisions in Arkansas are the state or a city, county, special district, school district or public agency.

By self-insuring, a business assumes responsibility for paying their own workers comp claims. A self-insured company typically hires a claims service company to handle claims administration and other services.

Are there exclusions for:

Small employers? Yes, for small employers who employ fewer than three employees. However, the stated number of employees triggering requirement to have workers compensation may be as low as one.

Agricultural employers? Yes.

Domestic employers? Yes.

Independent contractors? Yes.

Casual employees? Yes. Casual employees are excluded from coverage under A.C.A. 11-9-102 (9) (A), where casual employees are defined as follows, "'Employee' means any person, including a minor, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed in the service of an employer under contract of hire or apprenticeship, written or oral, expressed or implied, but excluding one whose employment is casual and not in the course of the trade, business, profession, or occupation of his or her employer and excluding one who is required to perform work for a municipality or county or the state or federal government upon having been convicted of a criminal offense while incarcerated."

Volunteers? No.

Professional athletes? No.

Arkansas workers comp medical benefits

Is there a Arkansas workers comp fee schedule?


Fee schedules define payments for surgery, radiology, hospital services, chiropractic care, ambulance service, prescription drugs and other medical services for an injured worker.

Are there limits on medical treatment?

Yes. The amounts payable or time periods allowable for authorized medical, hospital, and other services and treatment furnished unless waived by the employer-respondent or approved by the Workers Compensation Commission are (1) six months if the claimant lost no compensable time from work as a result of his or her injury, (2) six months following the return to work by an injured employee who has been receiving authorized medical or hospital or other services or treatment, and (3) $10,000 aggregate for all authorized medical, hospital, and other services and treatment.

Who makes the initial choice of treating physician?

The employer.

Disability payments for workers compensation insurance in Arkansas

Workers comp usually pays an employee a portion of their income when they're unable to work due to a work-related injury. State laws outline limits on the disability payment amounts and length, based on both temporary and permanent disability.

How are temporary total disability (TTD) payments calculated?

66 2/3% of the employee's pre-injury weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $20

Weekly maximum: $646

Maximum length of TDD benefits: 450 weeks

How are permanent total disability (PTD) payments calculated?

66 ⅔% of the employee's average weekly wage, subject to a minimum and maximum.

Weekly minimum: $20

Weekly maximum: $646

Are there cost of living increases for PTD payments? No.

Maximum length of PTD benefits: Benefits are for the length of disability and may be paid for life.

How are permanent partial disability (PPD) payments calculated?

75% of TTD rate; 100% of TTD rate if total loss or amputation of scheduled injury.

Weekly minimum: $20

Weekly maximum: $485

Fatality benefits under Arkansas workers compensation law

Maximum burial benefit: $6,000

Dependency benefits, weekly minimum / maximum: $20/$646

When do children's dependency benefits end? At age 18.

Other injuries covered by Arkansas workers compensation

Mental stress with no physical injury? No, however, there is an exception for victims of crimes of violence.

Cumulative trauma (such as injuries caused by repeated exposure or repetitive motion)? Limited to rapid repetitive motion, back or neck, and hearing loss injuries.

Occupational hearing loss? Yes.

Disfigurement? Yes (limited to facial or head).

Source: Workers Compensation Research Institute, May 2016 report