Can construction workers get workers’ comp in Arizona?
Workers’ compensation is one of the most important building blocks of the modern workforce. Every job comes with inherent risks, and employees must be protected if they are injured on the job. Of course, some types of employment are more dangerous than others.
While significant safety improvements have occurred in the construction industry, on-the-job accidents and injuries for construction workers are still tragically common.
If you are a construction worker in Arizona and are injured on the job, you must know your rights and the steps to take to get the maximum compensation.
What types of injuries are the most common in construction?
Even when ample care is taken, a construction site can still be a dangerous place. There are countless moving pieces, unfinished projects and obstacles. While a wide variety of injuries can occur on a construction site, some are more common than others.
Here are the most common injuries for construction workers:
Repetitive motion injuries
When you think of an injury at a construction site, you are likely thinking of a catastrophic accident. Whether this is a fall, a burn or a concussion, you are probably envisioning something that happens suddenly. However, OSHA reports that repetitive stress injuries are some of the most common injuries sustained by construction crews.
Construction involves a lot of physical labor. From banging a hammer, pulling wire or stretching carpet, you are likely to be doing similar motions repeatedly. Over time, this can put wear on your body leading to temporary or permanent damage. These types of injury are just as deserving of a workers’ compensation claim.
Burns and electrical shocks
Even if you do not regularly work with wiring or combustible materials, the very nature of a construction site means that you are likely to be exposed to these dangers regularly. Sometimes these injuries occur by accident, but negligence is also a possible source.
In either case, even minor burns and shocks can have lasting impacts, and workers’ compensation is designed to compensate you for these damages.
Falling from heights
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has identified falling as the most common source of injury for construction workers. Whether this is during a roofing job, from scaffolding or while operating a boom-lift, working a construction job often requires being at a great height. However, even a small fall can result in injury. Whenever you fall, even if you feel you are not injured, always err on the side of caution.
Heatstroke and fatigue
Anyone who has ever spent more than a few minutes in Arizona can tell you that the heat can be intense at the best of times. However, during hard physical labor, heat-related injuries are all too common. These are also prime candidates for workers’ compensation claims.
What to do if you’re injured on the jobsite
Whenever you are injured during your employment, the primary concern should be to make sure you are safe. Immediately seek medical treatment if needed, and take special care to document the event and any symptoms or injuries you have. Also, you must report your injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. When filing a workers’ compensation claim, time is of the essence.
In Arizona, you only have 1 year from the time of the injury, so do not delay.
To file a claim, you must fill out and sign a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury at your doctor’s office or fill out a Worker’s Report of Injury. Arizona workers’ compensation claims are handled by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), and you can find the forms you need on the ICA website or in our article on the subject.
Once you have filled out one of these forms, mail it to the ICA and they will begin processing the claim by informing your employer’s insurance company. (Note: you must mail the form, not email.)
In addition to filing the claim, you should report the injury to your employer as quickly as possible. This is important because the employer needs to take the proper precautions to prevent future injury. Further, your employer must fill out and submit an Employer’s Report of Injury to the ICA.
Once the insurance company receives the claim from the ICA, they have 21 days to respond. If they approve the claim, you will receive further information regarding the decision and your compensation. If they deny the claim, you have 90 days from the denial notice to file a written “Request for Hearing,” which allows your claim to be litigated.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
Are construction contractors covered?
Whether or not contractors are covered by a company’s insurance is not necessarily a simple question. As a rule, independent contractors are not covered. However, many employers attempt to mislabel employees as contractors when they are actually employees—who are, in fact, covered.
The determination of whether or not you are a contractor or an employee is a decision based upon your employment duration, how you are paid, who sets your hours, whose tools are used and other factors. The best idea is to always speak with a qualified attorney with experience in workers’ compensation claims.
Always consult an experienced Arizona workers’ comp attorney
Dealing with an injury can be difficult enough without also handling the complexities of filing a workers’ compensation claim. The process can become confusing, and your employer is not always on your side.
If you have been injured on the job in Arizona, you should always speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in construction accident injuries. Partnering with an attorney is the best way to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve.