23 Dec How Does Arizona Workers’ Compensation Treat On-The-Job Accidents and Deaths During Natural Disasters?
When Mother Nature is Less Than Kind
A recent tornado hit Edwardsville, Illinois on December 14, 2021, around 8:27 p.m., destroying an Amazon distribution center and killing six workers, according to an ABC.com news report. Tornado warnings came in shortly after 8 p.m. prompting the initial call for employees to move to the designated primary shelter.
The tornado, according to witness accounts, suddenly formed in the parking lot of the facility leaving little time for everyone on-site to get to safety. The event took place just as a work shift change was taking place, creating confusion later when determining who was there at the time the tornado hit, according to the report.
While there are subsequent news reports with survivors giving differing accounts about what went on in the moments before the tornado hit, the story shows that natural disasters, particularly tornadoes, can hit fast and hard. Night-time occurrences are particularly dangerous when you cannot see far enough where impending trouble is coming from. There are still many questions to be answered in this natural disaster tragedy.
Does Arizona Workers’ Compensation Cover Natural Disasters?
If you are at work and are injured while at work, then workers’ compensation will pay your benefits for medical bills and recovery time. Arizona is a no-fault state, meaning it does not matter whether you are at fault or not for the accident and subsequent injury. What happened in Illinois, could easily happen in Arizona as Amazon currently maintains three Arizona facilities. One more new facility is scheduled to open by the end of 2022, according to recent news.
Amazon is one of the hundreds of businesses across the country maintaining facilities, any of which could suffer catastrophic natural disasters at any time. Each business decides how potential disasters should be handled and also designate a safe place where employees can gather to stay safe.
What if You Are an Independent Contractor?
Whenever you sign up to work for a company driving delivery trucks, loading, unloading, and stocking shelves, or any other job needed of you, especially during a holiday season, the hours you spend on the job are covered by workers’ compensation. Here is what you should look for when signing a contract with any company.
Be wary of any contract that absolves the company from providing you with workers’ compensation coverage while on the job. Always check the fine print. You should request to have it, even if a payment is taken out of your paycheck for insurance coverage.
It is important to speak with an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney before you sign any contract stating that you choose to give up your right to this coverage. Attorneys who handle these cases are up to date on the latest state requirements for all workers under any conditions. No matter what job you hold, you need insurance coverage to help you through any accidents, including those caused by natural disasters.
Look Out for Yourself and Your Family First
If you have any questions about taking on a job, especially as an independent contractor, be sure to ask a workers’ compensation attorney first for what you should know before signing any contract. Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 480-300-7273.