23 Sep How Does Arizona Workers Comp Work When You Are Away?
Leaving Arizona for a Family Emergency
If you are on workers’ compensation after being injured on the job, you could leave Arizona if an out-of-state family member suddenly became ill and is expected to pass away. However, if you are receiving regular medical treatments, you will need to contact workers’ compensation at the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) to get written permission to leave (if for longer than two weeks) and, consequently, put your treatments in abeyance until you come back. It depends on what types of treatments you are undergoing and whether there is a place at the out-of-state location which could take on your treatments while there.
Depending on where you are located in Arizona, call the main office in Phoenix at 602-542-4661, or in Tucson at 520-628-5188 to find out what you can do to safely leave the state for a short time (less than two weeks), due to an emergency. Contact the doctor who is treating you and get enough refills for your prescriptions before you leave town. In family emergencies, it is likely you will not have any trouble from the ICA regarding your trip to see your loved ones.
The ICA will write a letter, upon approval from the insurance company, agreeing for you to leave the state for a certain amount of time, usually two weeks or more, due to your family emergency. If you are caught leaving the state without permission, you could be fined for not receiving living benefits and medical payments for that time period. It is best to just let them know what you are doing, where you are going, and for how long you expect to be gone.
Filing a Request for Leaving
If you are leaving for longer than two weeks for any reason, and before you leave the state, you must file a Request to Leave with the Claims Division of the ICA. In the form, you will provide the following information:
- The reason for your request,
- Your claim information (claim number, etc.),
- Your signature on the form,
- Information on where you are going, such as staying at a relative’s home,
- The date that you are going, and
- The duration of your stay.
In a family emergency where a relative might pass away, you can state in the “duration of your stay” that you are unsure, although it is, potentially, under two weeks. Should your family member pass away, get news clippings of the obituary and funeral service as proof that this is why you are gone should any problems occur later on with the ICA and the insurance company.
After you submit the form, it goes to the employer’s insurance company, which is paying all your bills, and they approve your situation (or not) with the ICA. The ICA, then, provides you with the written approval letter so you can legally leave the state for two weeks or more.
You do not really need written permission if your trip will be less than two weeks. But cover yourself by letting the insurance company know where you will be. Let your Arizona workers’ compensation attorney know where you will be and the best way to reach you.
Vacation: To Go or Not to Go
Going on vacation is not much fun when you are injured and, should you have an accident during this time, you are in danger of losing your workers’ compensation benefits. You must understand that you are being paid living expense benefits and getting your medical bills paid with someone else’s money. Your focus should be on getting better and attending to your physical recovery so you can go back to work.
A simple weekend at the family’s country farm is a safe venture where you can sit out in the sun for a little bit and get away from city life. Never drive yourself when you are injured as you could have an accident and make things worse for yourself. If you go to the farm, have a relative do the driving both ways.
A good reminder is to recognize that, in our digital age, there are cameras everywhere, even overhead, where you cannot see them. If the insurance company has any doubts about your medical status, they can have someone watch you or pull CCTV recordings if they think you are cheating the system. When you are injured, you are incapacitated until you are officially recovered and able to go back to work.
Moving Permanently from Arizona to Another State
If your spouse gets a new job in another state, you must get permission from the ICA and the insurance company to permanently move by using the same Request for Leaving form. You will need to change doctors and continue with regular treatments in the new state, in order to maintain your benefits status. Be sure to consult an injury law group to ensure that all goes well with making this move before you move.
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.