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Workers’ Compensation: How to File a Claim

Were you hurt on the job in Arizona? According to federal government data, an estimated 55,000 and 65,000 work-related injuries are reported in our state each year. A serious on-the-job injury often requires professional medical care and time off to recover. It can be a major disruption that puts an enormous strain on an injured worker and their family. 

In Arizona, an injured worker has the right to file for no-fault workers’ compensation benefits. At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, we have the professional skills and proven legal expertise to help injured workers seek their full and fair benefits. Here, our Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer provides a guide to the steps that you need to take to file a workers’ comp claim in Arizona. 

Step #1: Seek Immediate Medical Treatment for Your Work-Related Injury or Illness

No matter the nature or severity of your work injury, your health and well-being always take the top priority. You need to see a doctor as soon as possible after sustaining a job-related injury or illness. To start, doing so is crucial to ensure that you get the proper care. Timely medical attention can help to ensure your recovery. Beyond that, seeing a doctor right away after suffering a work injury in Arizona is a necessary step to filing a workers’ compensation claim. In fact, you cannot file for workers’ comp benefits in our state unless you have seen a licensed physician. Your medical records help to form the foundation for your entire workers’ compensation claim. Not sure how to find the right doctor? You can reach out to a Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer for legal guidance 

Step #2: Notify Your Employer That You Were Hurt on the Job

After obtaining medical treatment, it is essential that you promptly notify your employer about the injury or illness. In Arizona, the law mandates that the employee inform their employer about the incident in a timely manner. It is crucial that you tell your immediate supervisor, the human resource (HR) department, or a higher-ranking person at the company right away. If you fail to notify your employer in a reasonably timely manner, it could actually prevent you from bringing a workers’ compensation claim at all. Notifying your employer of a work accident is one of the key steps to filing for workers’ comp benefits. Once you tell your employer, they are responsible for starting their part of the claims process—including filing a report related to the incident. 

Note: When you notify your supervisor that you were hurt on the job in Arizona, your employer is legally required to file a document called: Employer’s Report of Injury. To be clear, this is not your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer properly filing this legal paperwork does not mean that your Arizona workers’ comp claim has been filed. There are additional steps. 

Step #3: Obtain the Arizona Workers’ Compensation Claim Form 

In order to officially initiate your workers’ compensation claim in Arizona, you must obtain the appropriate claim form. The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) provides these forms on its website. Alternatively, you can get the form from your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. You may hear this form referred to simply as the Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury. If you have any specific questions or concerns about the workers’ comp form that you need to file for benefits in Arizona, please do not hesitate to reach out to a Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney.

Step #4: Complete and Submit Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Form 

After obtaining and filling out the claim form, you need to ensure that you file it in a timely manner. It should be noted that there is a one-year statute of limitations to file for workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona. The deadline is one year from the date of injury or the date you discovered the injury could be work-related. Late submission can result in the denial of your claim. There is no reason to delay in getting started with your claim. The earlier you file for workers’ comp benefits, the better position you will be in to get your workers’ comp coverage in a timely manner. It is generally the right approach to provide a copy of your form to your employer and keep another one for your records. 

Arizona Workers’ Compensation Tip: Injured workers should always ensure all information provided is clear, concise, and honest to facilitate a smooth claims process. If needed, seek professional legal guidance and support. An experienced attorney can help you with the claim. 

Step #5: Await an Initial Decision from the Workers’ Comp Insurer (Within 21 Days) 

Finally, you will need to await a decision on your initial workers’ compensation claim from the insurance carrier. Arizona law mandates the workers’ compensation insurer to issue an initial decision within 21 days. However, it should be noted that there are limited circumstances in which an insurer may be able to extend the time to make its initial decision by showing good cause.

The insurer may either approve or deny your claim. In case of approval, they will detail the benefits you are eligible for. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal this decision by filing a request for a hearing with the ICA within 90 days from the date of the denial notice. 

As frustrating as it can be to receive a workers’ compensation denial, it is important to understand that it is not the end of the road. You have the right to appeal a workers’ comp denial to seek the full and fair benefits that you deserve. Workers’ comp appeals are complicated. Be sure to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after receiving a denial letter. 

Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Arizona

At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, our Arizona workers’ comp advocate has the legal knowledge and professional skills that you can rely on. If you have any questions about how to file a workers’ comp claim, we can help. Contact our team right away for your free consultation. Our firm handles workers’ comp claims in Phoenix, Maricopa County, and throughout Arizona. 

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