In Arizona, workers’ compensation laws provide an injured worker with medical care and compensation benefits if the injury is work related. In general, this is a worker’s only remedy, because a worker covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance cannot sue his employer.
The Industrial Commission of Arizona regulates the workers’ compensation claims in Arizona. It also has a Special Fund division that provides benefits to a worker if his employer is not insured. An employer is required to provide workers’ compensation insurance if it has just one employee.
If you are injured, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. You can file a claim within one year of the date of injury or when you become aware of the condition. You can file the claim on your own or if you have an attorney, the attorney can file the claim on your behalf. Once the claim is filed, you have to carefully follow the laws or you may end up forfeiting your benefits or having them suspended.
There are very specific deadlines by which you must file protests and requests for hearing or you may end up losing the ability to have a hearing even if you disagree with the insurance company’s determinations. For instance, if your claim is denied for benefits, you only have 90 days after the mailing date of the denial notice to protest it and request a hearing. An attorney can help advise you as to the deadlines and as to whether you should or should not protest a notice. Moreover, an attorney can help you fight a denial of a claim.
Your doctor may also file a workers’ compensation claim for you if you tell him that you were hurt at work. It is important that the doctors have a good history of your injury or it could end up hurting your ability to prove your case later on.
Even though you may not be a lawyer, you are expected to comply with the laws for hearing requests and deadlines. This is also true even if you do not understand a notice or document that you receive. The laws hold you responsible for understanding the notices you receive and for filing hearing requests in a timely manner. If you are worried about understanding a document or missing a deadline, you should call Montrose & Chua PLLC, top Phoenix workers compensation attorneys, for a free consultation.
Should you need to undergo a deposition, it is important to not only understand the process, but also know the best practices for how to act and respond. Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyer Wes Montrose has put together this video on the topic:
If your claim is accepted for benefits, unfortunately, that does not mean everything will be easy for you or as it should be. It certainly does not guarantee that you will be given everything you want or that your doctor wants for you. You should receive medical treatment and temporary compensation benefits provided you have work restrictions from your doctor and you meet the other legal requirements.
The insurance carrier may periodically have you examined by a doctor of its choosing. These appointments are mandatory. The result may determine whether you receive additional benefits or whether your claim will be closed. Ideally you should talk to an attorney before this point. If the medical appointment has already happened, if your claim has been closed, or if you are being denied treatment or benefits based upon a carrier’s medical appointment, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible to help you determine what to do and how to proceed.
If your own doctor discharges you, your benefits will need to be calculated or determined based upon the Arizona laws. You should not rely upon the carrier or the Industrial Commission’s calculation or determination of your benefits. You should have an attorney review any determination of permanent disability benefits to make sure that these are calculated correctly or at least so you understand your options. Neither the Industrial Commission of Arizona employees nor the carrier can provide legal advice. Only an attorney can provide legal advice.
If you have a workers’ compensation claim that has already been closed, you may be able to reopen the case. You can reopen a case in Arizona if it has been accepted and you have a new, additional, or previously undiscovered condition related to your original injury. It is important to understand there are consequences to filing a petition to reopen and the filing date can impact your benefits significantly. The circumstances of each case is unique, so if you think your case should be reopened or may need to be reopened, you should have an attorney review your case. You should not compare your case to your friend or neighbor’s case. Failure to file the correct paperwork in a timely manner, may result in a forfeiture of potential benefits or act a barrier to receiving additional benefits under your claim.
If you have a claim that was closed and you received an unscheduled permanent disability award, you may be able to rearrange the award. If you now have a change in circumstances or a change in your work restrictions, you should let a lawyer look at your case to determine whether a petition to rearrange may result in additional benefits.
Under the Workers’ Compensation system you are not required to have an attorney. The Workers’ Compensation Law is very complex, however, and you will be against an attorney. This is because the carrier/employer has to be represented by an attorney. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be required to follow the rules of procedure for hearings before the Industrial Commission of Arizona. A lawyer certified as a specialist in workers’ compensation law by the State Bar of Arizona will know all of the rules and how to follow them to make sure you present the best case possible at hearing.
Arizona Workers’ Compensation Law – Employer responsibilities include providing insurance. Montrose & Chua, workers’ comp attorneys, explain responsibilities.
In the State of Arizona, employers carry very specific responsibilities when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance and the filing of claims. If an employer is found to be in violation of the law, they face fines and may have their business shut down. Such can occur whether or not a workers’ comp claim is filed against them. If a worker is injured and the employer does not carry insurance, then they may face a civil lawsuit or may have to pay medical and lost time expenses as well as penalties to the Industrial Commission of Arizona.
In essence, according to the Arizona workers’ compensation laws, an employer must do the following:
• Provide employees with workers’ compensation insurance
• Offer employees the right to reject their insurance plan.
• Report injuries in a timely manner, filing all required paperwork
• Cooperate with any inquiries or investigations concerning claims
Here’s a consideration of each of the above requirements.
In Arizona, whether you are the owner of a company that employs one person or thousands, you must provide your employees with workers’ compensation insurance. You do not have to provide insurance to domestic help or to independent contractors. But otherwise, all other such employees must be insured. If an employer does not provide insurance, they can be found guilty of a Class 6 felony. A.R.S. § 23-932..
Those who offer workers’ comp insurance in Arizona must post in the workplace and inform workers that they may waive their insurance. If an employee does so, and they must do so freely and in writing, they preserve the right to file a civil lawsuit if they are injured. In addition, if the employer does not inform an employee of their right to waive insurance protection, they may be sued in civil court if the employee is injured.
If an employee is injured, then the employer must give the appropriate information to the injured party that will allow them to file a claim. Information that they must give to the injured person includes the name and address of their workers’
compensation insurance carrier, policy number, and date of expiration of insurance coverage.
In addition within 10 days of receiving notice of the work-related injury or illness, the employer must also contact their workers’ compensation insurance carrier and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). They do so by filling out and filing an Employer’s Report of Industrial Injury form, which may be acquired through the ICA. There are also other requirements that they must adhere to that are outlined by the Arizona Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The employer must cooperate with all investigative efforts connected to the accident and injury or illness. They may not in any manner hide evidence, restrict witnesses from giving testimony, or withhold pertinent information. Any records related to a claim or civil lawsuit, photographic or video evidence, or other information must be made available.
If you have been injured or fallen ill due to a workplace incident or action, make sure that you protect your rights and contact the law offices of Montrose & Chua, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, by calling 602-346-9009 for a free, no-obligation consultation. If your employer has not properly followed Arizona workers’ compensation law in any manner, you may have recourse in civil court. Protect your rights as a worker in the State of Arizona.
Arizona Workers’ Compensation Law – AJL hearing information provided by Arizona Injury Law Group, workers’ comp attorneys. How an AJL Hearing works.
The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) is the state agency that is charged with regulating, coordinating, and mediating issues related to Arizona workers’ compensation. If you file a workers’ compensation claim and it is disputed, then you may request that you be given a hearing by filing a request with the ICA Claims Division. The Claims Division will schedule your hearing for your disputed claim, which will be administered by and overseen by the ICA’s Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division.
The reason for the hearing is to give the claimant the opportunity to offer information and evidence that will counteract the disputes outlined by your employer, their legal representatives, and their insurance carrier. If your employer has disputed your claim, this is your chance to give your request for workers’ compensation benefits the best possible chance for success. Also, your employer and his agents will explain why your claim is being disputed and offer evidence for such.
Usually, the hearing involves a series of sessions. The first session usually scheduled about 90 days after the ALJ Division receives the file regarding your case. This is done in order to give both sides time to prepare for the hearing.
Although you may represent yourself at your hearing, its important to realize that the defendants, that is the employer and insurance company, will being using a lawyer. Unless you are able to thoroughly understand the laws governing workers’ compensation, and are familiar with the procedures of the Hearing, it is a good idea to have a lawyer represent you.
A workers’ compensation attorney will be able to advise you about the rules, laws, and procedures related to workers’ comp in Arizona, and they can offer legal advice regarding witnesses, evidence, and how to proceed with your case.
Within 30 to 60 days of the conclusion of the Hearing and the filing of the final transcript, you’ll receive a Decision Upon Hearing from the ALJ. If you are unhappy with the decision, you may, within 30 days, file a Request for Review. The AJL will reconsider the case and then issue a Decision Upon Review. If you are unhappy with the Decision Upon Review, you have 30 days to file a Petition for Special Action with the Arizona Court of Appeals. This is your final opportunity to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under this specifically disputed claim.
Especially in the Hearing phase, a qualified workers’ compensation insurance lawyer can make a big difference, They will know how to present evidence, will ably interact with the judge and other legal professionals at the hearing, and will understand what types of strategies to use in order to give you the best chance of receiving benefits.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact the legal team at Arizona Injury Law Group, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. Call us today at 602-346-9009 for an appointment. Our group of qualified and seasoned workers’ compensation professionals will help to ensure that your AJL Hearing is as positive and productive as possible.
Arizona Workers’ Compensation – Severe injuries and disabilities call for additional benefits. Arizona Injury Law Group, workers’ comp attorneys, explain permanent disability.
Many Arizona workers’ compensation claims are for short term injuries that will eventually heal, allowing the injured party to return to work. However, Arizona certainly has its share of severe workplace injuries and illnesses that result in workers taking extended periods of leave, not returning to the job due to their being permanently disabled, or even the death of the party that has been injured.
When one of these three situations occur, the worker and their family members must deal with a developing circumstances that often require additional paperwork, various appeals, and the gathering and presentation of new medical information. With severe injuries, the Arizona workers’ compensation system can become a way of life, taxing the injured person’s energy, patience, and bank account. In cases that demand requests for hearings, appeals, and reconsideration of benefits, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) makes the final determination regarding compensation.
If you have a permanent disability due to a work-related injury or illness, or if your loved one has lost their life due to circumstances at work, then under Arizona workers’ compensation law you are entitled to collect specific benefits. Along with being eligible to have 100% of the medical expenses paid for, those with permanent disabilities are paid a percentage of their monthly pay according to the state’s disability schedule.
For a scheduled disability, which refers to those that are specifically described by the state, there’s a range of payments. As an example, for an amputation or complete loss of use of the body part, a worker is paid 55% of their average monthly wage. However, if the worker can’t return to their regular job due to the injury, they’ll be paid 75% of your their monthly wage.
For an unscheduled disability, which would be one that is not specified in the state’s disability schedule, the payment can also vary. If a worker is awarded permanent compensation by the ICA for such an injury, that person is compensated for the difference between what they were able to earn before the injury and what they can earn when they are ready to return to being a wage earner. If the ICA designates them as being totally disabled, they receive two-thirds of their average monthly earnings. A partial disability results in the party being awarded 55% of their average monthly wage.
If the worker dies, then dependents, which may include a spouse, children, stepchildren, parents, or siblings, may qualify to receive benefits. Such benefits are designed to help ensure that the loss of the wager earner through a workplace accident does not cause undue financial stress on their family. These benefits include payment of burial expenses up to $5,000, payment of medical bills associated with the treatment of the deceased worker, and wage replacement or temporary total disability payments.
If a party has an injury that results in permanent disability, they may be able to receive a lump sum payment. The ICA will sometimes allow such payments. The insurance company will have to agree to this type of payment in the case of a scheduled award that is more than $25,000 and in instances of an unscheduled payment if the amount is more than $150,000.
However, the ICA will not agree to such an arrangement unless there is a reason for such a request. Usually such requests are approved if there is a financial need involved or there are expenses related to extensive rehabilitative activities. If such a payment is agreed to both the insurance company and the injured party must sign a waiver that states they will not appeal the decision.
Over the course of time if someone is receiving payment for an unscheduled partial permanent disability they may also want to file a Petition for Rearrangement or Readjustment of Compensation. One would do so if their ability to earn a living decreases due to a worsening of their disability. After reviewing information regarding the request and the state of the petitioning party, the ICA will determine if such a request is valid and either approve or disapprove it.
If you are injured severely, you may also have recourse to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party who might be partly responsible for your injury. Lawsuits are often filed in civil court against manufacturers or suppliers for defective or dangerous equipment or parts; managers who are associated with another employer, subcontractors, or, in the case of motor vehicle accidents, drivers of vehicles associated with other enterprises. Also, an employer or co-worker may be sued if they in some manner caused your accident and injury through willful negligence.
If you have been severely injured in a workplace accident and have a permanent partial or full disability or if a loved one has been killed in such an accident, you may have recourse in civil court. For a complimentary, no-obligation consultation regarding your Arizona workers’ compensation claim, please contact Arizona Injury Law Group, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, by calling 602-346-9009. We’ll be happy to meet with you, listen to your story, and help you determine how to proceed.
If you wish to hire an attorney, the Industrial Commission of Arizona recommends that you consult with an attorney who is a specialist in Workers’ Compensation. Both Weston and Briana are certified specialists in Workers’ Compensation by the State Bar of Arizona. They provide free consultations and will evaluate your case without any obligation.