Every employee deserves safe, fair conditions in their workplace. Unfortunately, job-related accidents and injuries are a reality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that nearly 60,000 people had to take time off from work because of a job-related injury in Arizona in 2021 alone. If you are hurt on the job, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
There are many myths and misconceptions about the workers’ comp claims process. At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, we are committed to protecting the rights and interests of injured workers. Here, our Phoenix workers’ comp lawyer answers ten of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about work injury claims in Arizona.
- Are All Employees Covered By Workers’ Comp in Arizona?
In Arizona, virtually all employees are covered by workers’ compensation. State law mandates that employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees, including for full-time workers, part-time workers, seasonal workers, and even family members employed by the company. However, there are exceptions, such as independent contractors, domestic workers, and a limited number of agricultural workers.
- What Should I Do After Being Hurt on the Job in Phoenix?
Hurt on the job in Phoenix, Maricopa County, or elsewhere in Arizona? It is absolutely essential that you take proactive steps to protect your rights and your interests. Here are five key steps that you should always take after being hurt at work in Arizona:
- Report the Injury: Inform your supervisor immediately. Arizona’s workers’ comp laws require people hurt on the job to promptly report the incident to their employer.
- Seek Medical Attention: You should always go to the doctor, even if the injury seems minor. You cannot get workers’ comp benefits unless you get professional medical care.
- Document the Incident: It is a best practice to keep a detailed record of the incident and injuries.
- File a Workers’ Comp Claim: Complete the Worker’s Report of Injury form and submit it to the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA).
- Be Ready to Get Professional Help: An experienced Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer can help you overcome the obstacles that might arise in the claims process.
- Workers’ Comp is “No-Fault”—What Does That Mean?
You are not required to prove fault to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona. Our state uses a “no-fault” standard. Workers’ compensation in Arizona is provided regardless of who is responsible for the workplace injury. Even if the employee’s own negligence contributed to the injury, they are still entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Similarly, it does not matter if the employer is at fault. As long as you were within the “course and scope” of your employment when the injury happened, you have the right to file for benefits.
- How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
In Arizona, you have one year from the date of the injury to file a workers’ compensation claim. Do not wait to take action: It is critical to act quickly, as delaying could jeopardize your ability to receive benefits. The sooner you file, the sooner your claim can be processed.
Note: Notifying your employer is not the same as filing a claim; you must also submit a Worker’s Report of Injury form to the Industrial Commission of Arizona.
- What Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits are Available in Arizona?
Workers in Arizona can receive various types of benefits through workers’ comp, such as:
- Medical Benefits: Covers all necessary medical treatment.
- Temporary Disability: Compensation for lost wages during recovery.
- Permanent Partial Disability: For long-lasting or permanent impairments.
- Permanent Total Disability: For injuries preventing any future employment.
- Death Benefits: For dependents of a worker who dies due to work-related injuries.
- Can I Appeal a Workers’ Comp Denial?
Yes. You always have the right to challenge a workers’ compensation denial. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied in Arizona, you have the right to appeal the decision. To initiate an appeal, you should request a hearing before the Industrial Commission of Arizona within 90 days of the denial. Do not go it alone: You need an experienced Phoenix, AZ, workers’ compensation attorney on your side every step of the way.
- What Does it Mean to File a Third-Party Liability Claim?
Filing a third-party liability claim means that you are seeking compensation from a party other than your employer who may have contributed to your workplace injury. For example, if you were injured at work due to a defective piece of equipment, you might file a third-party liability claim against the equipment manufacturer.
- Can I File a Third-Party Liability Claim and a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Yes, in Arizona, it is possible to file both a workers’ comp claim and a third-party liability claim. Workers’ compensation covers your medical expenses and lost wages, while a third-party liability claim can provide additional compensation for pain and suffering and other damages not covered by workers’ compensation.
- Who Decides When I am Physically Ready to Return to the Job?
In Arizona, your treating physician will evaluate your condition and determine when you are physically ready to return to work. The doctor considers factors like your physical abilities, limitations, and the nature of your job. Disputes can arise about a worker’s readiness to return to the job. If you end up in such a dispute, an attorney can help protect your rights.
- What is a “Light Duty” Position in a Worker’s Compensation?
In Arizona, a “light duty” position refers to temporary work that is less physically demanding than an employee’s regular job, assigned to accommodate the employee as they recover from a work-related injury. This allows the employee to return to work sooner, even if they have not fully recovered.
Set Up a Free Consultation With a Top Phoenix Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today
At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, our Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys are committed to protecting the rights and interests of people who were hurt on the job. If you or your loved one has any questions about workers’ comp, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm today to get your free, no-obligation consultation. We handle workers’ compensation claims in Phoenix, Maricopa County, and all across the surrounding region in Arizona.