How to file a claim and recover maximum compensation
The hospitality industry in Arizona has been rapidly evolving in recent years, with hotels and resorts of all shapes and sizes now dotting the state’s desert landscape. Arizona’s unique climate and stunning natural beauty make it an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world, and the hospitality industry has been working hard to keep up with the demand.
While hotel jobs in Arizona are abundant, the nature of these jobs puts workers at risk for numerous on-the-job injuries and illnesses.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2020, the injury and illness rate for hotel workers was 3.3 for every 100 full-time employees. This number is slightly higher than the injury and illness rate for all private industry workers, which is 2.9.
Fortunately, most workers in Arizona are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical bills and lost wages if they’re injured on the job.
Common work injuries among hotel workers
Due to the wide variety of jobs and work duties for hotel staff, injuries are a regular occurrence. Some of the most common types of injuries for hotel workers include:
- Burns injuries. These are common for kitchen and wait staff who work around kitchen appliances and hot food and beverages.
- Cuts and lacerations. These are common among food prep workers, as well as maids and housekeeping staff cleaning rooms.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. Frequent bending and lifting is required for many hotel workers leading to back and neck pain.
- Broken bones. Hotels are fast-paced environments that require constant cleaning, which frequently leads to slip-and-fall injuries such as broken bones and fractures.
- Repetitive motion injuries. Food prep workers and cleaning staff perform the same movements day in and day out, which can lead to repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Respiratory and skin injuries. Cleaning and housekeeping staff are often required to use chemicals that can cause breathing problems, allergic reactions and skin irritations.
In addition to these injuries, hotel workers are also at a high risk of experiencing violence from guests and coworkers. In fact, according to the BLS, in 2020, service occupations (which includes hotel workers) accounted for about half of all nonfatal intentional injuries caused by another person in the workplace.
Eligibility for Arizona worker’s compensation
Most Arizona employers with 1 or more full- or part-time employees are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance.
There are a few exceptions. Sole proprietors, as well as independent contractors and casual employees with jobs outside the usual business scope, are not required to carry worker’s compensation. Workers in the hospitality industry generally meet the criteria for full or part-time employees, making them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after an injury.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault insurance, which means that, in most cases, even if a worker’s actions caused their injury, they’re still eligible for benefits. They only need to be able to prove that their injury occurred at work and was work-related.
Types of worker’s compensation benefits
Worker’s compensation will pay for the following benefits after an on-the-job injury:
- Medical expenses. These include all necessary medical treatments and equipment, including surgeries, rehabilitation, hospital stays and medications.
- Lost wages. You must miss 14 days of work after your injury for these benefits to apply. Lost wages are typically two-thirds of your average weekly income, subject to a maximum limit for a time period based on your disability. If your injury is so severe that you cannot work again, you may receive permanent full disability.
- Death benefits. In the event of a worker’s death from a work-related injury or illness, their dependents have the right to receive compensation for both funeral expenses and lost income.
How to file an Arizona worker’s compensation claim
In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Get medical attention. Visiting a doctor as soon as possible will ensure your injury or illness doesn’t get worse and will provide documentation linking your injury or illness to your job, which is necessary for a successful workers’ comp claim.
- Notify your employer. You’ll need to notify your employer as soon as possible about your injury and preferably in writing. After you notify your employer, they must notify their insurance carrier and file an Employer’s Report of Injury form with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) within 10 days.
- File a claim. You must file a claim with the ICA within 1 year of your injury or you won’t be eligible for benefits.
- Contact an attorney. The insurance carrier has 21 days to determine whether to accept or deny your claim. If your claim is denied or you want help filing a claim, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney.
Benefits of hiring a worker’s compensation attorney
Workers’ comp claims can be complex, and an attorney can help clients understand their rights and responsibilities under the law. They can also help you with the following:
- File a claim. Workers’ comp claims must adhere to strict fining procedures and deadlines. An attorney can ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and on time.
- Negotiate a settlement. Insurance companies typically offer injured workers without legal representation far less money than they actually deserve. An attorney can negotiate with your employer and their insurance company to get maximum compensation for your injuries.
- Appeal a denied claim. If a workers’ comp claim is denied, an attorney can help file an appeal and represent you in court if necessary.
- Protect against retaliation. Some employers may illegally retaliate against employees who file workers’ comp claims, but an attorney can help protect against such actions and ensure you’re not penalized for seeking the benefits you’re rightfully owed.
Contact an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney
If you’ve been injured on the job in Arizona, contact our Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski. We specialize in workers’ comp cases and are proud to have been helping injured Arizona workers recover the compensation they deserve for more than 40 years.