Steps for injured federal and state government employees to take after being hurt at work
Accidents can happen at any job, regardless of whether they are commonly considered hazardous or safe. In Arizona, there are about 128,800 state employees and 55,400 federal employees, making up a large portion of the workforce.
Every state has a compensation system for injured workers, including government employees working for state or local governments. Guidelines and available benefits vary by state, but workers can expect payment for lost wages and medical treatment. There are also death benefits for family members of federal employees.
The benefits available for state workers are summarized in Title 23 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Title 23 covers court employees, some types of volunteers and state employees.
Common workplace injuries to government employees
There are several types of injuries that can prompt a workers’ compensation claim against a government employer. A few of these types of cases include:
- Tripping over an object and falling
- Accidents while driving on work-related business
Falls that involve fractures, especially the back, neck or shoulders, can have long recovery times and make even light work difficult. Regardless of the type of injury, seeking prompt care can help increase the chances of a better recovery.
Filing a work injury claim as an Arizona employee
Even though the workers’ compensation process often seems complicated in any industry, there are some important differences where government employees are concerned. For example, federal government employees are covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), unless they are members of the armed forces or work in the railroad industry.
The deadline to file a claim in Arizona is within 1 year of the injury. Someone who has been injured on the job should report the injury as soon as possible by notifying their supervisor or employer.
A Worker’s Report of Injury form must be submitted to the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). Doctors’ offices also have a form to fill out that can serve this purpose. The Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury form, if submitted to the ICA, the employer and the employer’s insurance company, serves the same purpose.
The employer’s insurance company has 21 days to accept or deny the claim once notified. There are 2 types of workers’ compensation claims in Arizona: medical-only and time loss. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to apply for either or both.
Medical-only claims involve paying for medical expenses until treatment for your injury has been completed. Time loss claims provide coverage when you are out of work for a week or more. The first 7 days are not covered until you’ve missed at least 14 days.
The amount you’ll receive is two-thirds (or 66.67 percent) of your average monthly pay based on your earnings 30 days prior to getting injured. As of 2020, the maximum amount is $4,888.56, which is subject to change yearly with the cost of living.
The process for federal workers
The United States Department of Labor oversees workers’ compensation for federal employees. Benefits available to injured federal workers include medical expenses, out-of-pocket expenses related to treatment and vocational rehabilitation.
Unlike state workers’ compensation cases, federal cases allow you to select your doctor when you first apply. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, which handles workers’ compensation on behalf of the Department of Labor, needs to approve later changes to the provider physician.
Full wages from the agency where you worked are provided for the first 45 days after your injury. After that, workers without dependents receive two-thirds of their wages, and those with dependents receive a three-fourths rate.
A “loss of earning capacity” benefit compensates those who are never able to return to their job. Cash settlements called “schedule awards” are additional compensation for loss of a function or body part.
An “attendant allowance” of up to $1,500 may help alleviate costs for those who require help at home. If your injuries result in death, your family may receive up to $800 towards your burial.
When you’re injured or become ill, it is essential to notify your supervisor or onsite health office. Complete the CA1 form for an injury or the CA2 form for an illness.
Your claim will be investigated, and you have a right to an appeal if the claim is denied. Although suing the government is not possible, you might be able to sue a third party.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
What to do after a work-related accident in Arizona
When you’re seeking workers’ compensation for federal employees, you will want to act quickly. Letting your supervisor know about what happened is the first of the critical steps you must take.
After beginning the process, regardless of whether you are seeking state or federal compensation, it is necessary to be diligent about following deadlines. Contacting a lawyer is an ideal way to make sure this process is handled right from start to finish.