Had a work Injury? A Personal Injury Attorney is What You Need

13 Sep Had a work Injury? A Personal Injury Attorney is What You Need

Arizona’s Workers’ Compensation versus Personal Injury Case

What is the difference between these two types of cases which seem similar? In Arizona, workers’ compensation rules are based on a “no fault” system while a personal injury case is based on an “at fault” injury. With workers’ compensation, you also cannot claim pain and suffering like you can in a personal injury case.

Another notable difference is that workers’ compensation claims must be filed within one year or else you cannot claim benefits. There are cases where it is possible to do so, but it is rare. If you have such a situation where you were injured on the job but did not file a claim for one reason or another, call an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney to find out if your case might be eligible for benefits.

Personal injury cases have up to two years to file a claim, but it will take much longer to receive a settlement for your case. Many cases like this may take between two to four years as there must be a discovery process, collection of bills and evidence from the accident collected, and more.

How Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits are Paid

Your monthly benefits are calculated on your average monthly salary at 662/3 percent of your gross pay if you have a permanent injury. There is also a ceiling on how much you can receive and for 2022, that amount is $5,161.12. The calculation is based on the Employment Cost Index (ECI) each year to account for adjusted statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The ECI is comprised of several indexes used by the BLS and is covered by A.R.S. § 23-1041(D)(8). So, if you made $8,500 a month, you would still only get $5,161.12. You receive your monthly payments for as long as you are in recovery and unable to return to work. Each year, there is a raise in the monthly limit, but the rise by percent is not always the same each year, based on the annual adjusted statistics by the BLS.

If you have permanent injuries (including a loss) to a body part, you receive extra benefits for that body part injury which is determined first by visiting a required doctor’s assessment appointment. The doctor, hired by the employer’s insurance company, reviews your injuries and determines the fees for that body part(s) by using the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, Sixth Edition (or the 5th edition which was officially approved by Arizona at the time of implementation). There are other resources the doctor can use if the assessment is complicated. A sample calculation is available from a previous post here, provided by our head attorney, Weston S. Montrose, Esq.

Here is a list of everything you are entitled to when applying for workers’ compensation:

  • Medical Benefits: for short-term or long-term medical injuries, travel time to doctor appointments, and other medical expenses,
  • Lost Wages Recuperation: After 14 days away from work while recuperating, you begin wages compensation,
  • Disability– Temporary or Permanent Benefits,
  • Temporary Total DisabilityARS section 23-1045, you can still return to work,
  • Permanent Disability: Awarded when you are unlikely to improve further,
  • Permanent Partial, or Impairment, BenefitsARS section 23-1044
  • Scheduled Benefits: Refers to the monetary fee applied to an injured body part, arm, leg,
  • Unscheduled Benefits: Refers to all parts not listed in the schedule,
  • Permanent Total Disability Benefits – section 23-1045 of ARS: Will never work again,
  • Death Benefits: Benefits payable to surviving dependents, including funeral benefits.

How Does a Personal Injury Case Pay a Settlement?

As noted, a personal injury case can take several years to be settled and is not always in your favor. There are situations where you would get workers’ compensation benefits from your employer if your company was hired to do a specific job as a third-party contractor. If you get injured, you get your workers’ compensation benefits.

But the injury was at the contracted construction job site, for example, and the machinery you worked with, broke and fell over on you. The injury was so severe that it is unlikely you will ever work again, and you nearly lost your life, which has caused nightmares, depression, and mental anguish, depriving you of being able to enjoy your life.

You can sue the third-party employer who owned the faulty equipment you used when you had your accident. Your claim would be for pain and suffering, citing the nightmares, depression, and mental anguish you have incurred, due to that accident. As workers’ compensation does not cover that with benefits, there is no conflict between your employer’s benefits and what you are suing the third-party employer for, which is an “at fault” event. This is known as a “combo case.”

As with any legal case where you are the prosecuting team, you and your attorney must prove negligence on the part of the third-party employer. This requires pulling together witness statements, medical records, CCTV video footage (if available-acquire this quickly with a subpoena), phone camera pictures (time-stamped is good), and a detailed account from you of what happened during the accident. With the help of your attorney and all the evidence gathered, you should be able to win your case. Never try to settle a case without the help of an attorney.

Call Us If You Need Help Fast

Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 602-346-9009.

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