What are the rights of injured workers in Arizona?
Similar to other states, employers in Arizona are required to maintain safe working conditions for all of their employees. If an employer fails to keep the workplace reasonably safe, a worker who becomes injured on the job may have legal recourse.
Injured workers may file a claim for compensation under Arizona’s workers’ compensation laws. Arizona law defines specific rights workers have and responsibilities employers have in the event a worker becomes injured on the job.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system
A worker may receive workers’ compensation regardless if they played a contributory role in their workplace accident. There are some exceptions. For example, a worker generally may not receive workers’ comp benefits for a self-inflicted injury in the workplace.
The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) regulates workers’ compensation in the state. Although the ICA does not provide legal advice to workers’ comp claimants, representatives at the ICA’s Claims Division are available to provide general information about the workers’ compensation process.
The ICA is a regulatory agency that performs the following duties:
- Notifies insurance carriers of reports of workplace injury reports
- Holds hearings to resolve disputes between carriers and injured workers
- Monitors insurance carriers as they process workers’ comp claims
- Pays benefits to workers injured by an employer who doesn’t carry workers’ comp insurance
What are injured workers’ rights in Arizona?
Each state determines its own workers’ compensation laws. The states also determine their own procedures for workers to follow in the event of a workplace injury. Nevertheless, there are certain rights workers have:
- The right to file a claim for a workplace illness or injury in either a workers’ compensation court or a state industrial court.
- The right to pursue medical treatment. (In cases in which a worker receives treatment and the doctor releases them to return to work, the worker has a right to return to their job.)
- Workers who are unable to return to work due to a workplace injury or illness have a right to receive temporary or permanent disability compensation.
Types of workers’ compensation claims
There are 2 types of workers’ compensation claims: medical-only claims and time-lost claims.
Workers file a medical-only claim when they only have medical expenses related to a workplace illness or injury. In these cases, workers don’t miss more than 7 consecutive days from work due to their illness or injury.
Arizona law doesn’t require insurance companies to notify an injured worker that the insurance company has accepted the claim. The worker may assume the insurance company will pay all medical expenses, but this needs to be verified and confirmed. A workers’ comp lawyer can assist with this.
Injured workers who are ordered by a doctor to miss work or to limit their work performance to light duties for more than 7 consecutive days must file a time-lost claim. Insurance companies are required to notify workers that the insurance company has accepted their claim by sending a Notice of Claim Status. Also, they should send the first temporary check if the employee has lost earnings for 14 calendar days or more.
Arizona worker rights and third-party negligence
In some cases, a worker’s injury may be the result of a third party’s negligence. For example, the designer or manufacturer of faulty equipment may be liable in the event that a worker becomes injured while using the faulty equipment.
Arizona law allows injured workers to file a claim against a third party in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim. Injured workers must file a second, separate claim against the negligent third party in civil court.
Types of compensation available for injured workers
Workers’ compensation benefits typically include up to 66 ⅔ percent of the injured worker’s average monthly income—in addition to medical expenses related to workplace injury or illness.
In cases in which a workplace injury causes death, certain members of the worker’s family may receive workers’ compensation death benefits. Surviving financially-dependent spouses, children, step-children, parents and siblings may be eligible for compensation.
Surviving spouses may receive up to 66 ⅔ percent of the worker’s average monthly salary prior to the accident—if the worker does not have dependent children. Other family members may receive a different percentage of the late worker’s salary.
Each family’s dynamics are different. Therefore, determining which family members may be eligible to receive benefits can quickly become complicated. Our workers’ compensation lawyers help families navigate the process efficiently and swiftly.
Our law firm protect the rights of workers across Arizona
If you have been injured at work, Arizona laws may seem overwhelming and confusing. At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, our lawyers are well-versed in local workers’ rights laws. We will fight for your rights and work tirelessly to help you get the compensation you deserve.