Learn what rights nurses and doctors have when they’re hurt on the job
Arizona’s healthcare industry is massive and growing even larger year-by-year. As a popular destination for retirees from other states, the state’s biggest healthcare providers employ registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and doctors in droves to keep up with the demand.
Here are some quick facts about the healthcare industry in Arizona:
- Over 70,000 RNs and LPNs are licensed in the state.
- There are over 9,200 doctors licensed to practice in the state.
- Arizona has 124 hospitals, with over 13,000 beds.
- The state’s population has grown by over 500,000 since 2015.
Common injuries and illnesses for healthcare workers
Compensation for injured nurses and doctors is a serious concern in Arizona, with people in the healthcare industry being 30 times more likely to suffer an on-the-job injury than in other professions.
Some of the most common hazardous conditions that healthcare workers experience on a daily basis include:
- Back, neck or shoulder injuries due to heavy lifting from moving patients or equipment
- Regular bending, which increases the chances of a back injury
- Walking and standing for long periods of time
- Slipping and falling on wet floors, or falling while running to respond to an urgent situation
- Exposure to contagious viruses and infections, often without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Toxic substance and radiation exposure
- Allergen exposure (such as to latex)
- Using dangerous medical equipment
- Injury because of mentally ill or otherwise violent patients
- Stress-related illnesses, especially working in critical care settings
Arizona workers’ compensation claims include many of these types of circumstances. With medical professionals having a higher risk of musculoskeletal injuries than professionals in many other lines of work, it is understandable that these circumstances account for many of the workers’ compensation claims in Arizona.
Rights that injured healthcare workers have in Arizona
Healthcare workers who have suffered injuries on the job have a right to compensation, as long as they are full or part-time employees. Arizona is considered a “no-fault” state, meaning it doesn’t matter who is at fault for the injury. The only exception is in the case of intentionally self-inflicted injuries.
Although the employer can require the injured employee to see a doctor they choose, injured workers have the right to visit a doctor of their choosing on subsequent visits. The right doctor can be an important part of the team that helps an injured worker get the help they need.
Injured workers have a right to medical treatment for their injuries, as well as compensation for time missed from work. Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, these benefits may pay on a short or long-term basis.
Nurses benefit from knowing that a serious enough injury can impact their ability to continue working in that profession. Switching to a lighter-duty position while remaining a nurse is often not an option because of the physical requirements of the job.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
What to do if you’re injured on the job in Arizona
It’s common for an employer’s insurance company to deny a claim once an accident or illness is reported. The insurer may try to deny that the injury is job-related. Following all the necessary steps will help increase your chances of a better outcome.
Make sure you include detailed information about your injury and how it occurred. One situation you want to avoid is a worsening condition from having waited too long. The sooner you get the assistance you need, the sooner you may be on the road to recovery and possibly think about resuming your essential duties.
The workers’ compensation process may involve a hearing. If your case was denied or if you aren’t happy with the level of compensation awarded, you have a right to appeal. This part of the process is often personally daunting to applicants.
A hearing’s outcome will depend on a judge’s decision based on the case evidence. Having appropriate representation can make all the difference.