An work injury is an injury that occurs within the scope of one’s employment. This means that the injury needs to have taken place during a task being performed for your job. Types of work injuries can include:
- Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Respiratory illnesses due to inhaling toxic substances, such as asbestos fibers
- Industrial diseases that can occur over a long period of time, such as popcorn lung
- Injuries sustained from being confined in a tight space
- Slip and fall accident injuries
- Auto accident injuries while driving the company car
- Injuries while on a business trip
Work injuries are typically covered by workers’ compensation. In an Arizona workers’ compensation claim, you will not need to prove negligence on the part of your employer in order to receive benefits. You will also not lose any compensation for negligence on your part that led to your injury. However, if your injury occurred outside the scope of your employment, particularly if you were committing a crime, you will not be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. For example, injuries sustained while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be covered by workers’ compensation.
In Arizona, workers’ compensation is mandatory for all employers, with only a few exceptions. Employers who have less than three employees or employers of farm laborers are exempt from mandatory workers’ compensation coverage, although they may carry it if they choose to.
Employers must also post required notices in a convenient location that is frequented by employees during working hours. The notices or posters must contain important information about employees’ rights and:
- provide the name of the company’s workers’ compensation carrier, or state that the employer is self-insured, and name who is responsible for claims adjustment
- make clear that injured workers have the right to receive medical treatment and to select or change their treating doctor
- give details about all available workers’ compensation benefits
You should be able to visit your own doctor following a work injury. However, if your employer is self-insured, you may not have that option.
Workers’ compensation law offers different remedies based on the type of disability. Temporary Total Disability and Permanent Partial Disability payments are based on a percentage of the wage of the worker and subject to a maximum weekly payment. Payments for Permanent Total Disability are based on a percentage of the employees’ wage, up to a weekly maximum payment level and will continue for the length of your disability.
What Benefits Can I Receive Under Workers’ Compensation?
The workers’ compensation system typically provides injured or ill employees with:
- replacement income
- payments for medical expenses, including doctor visits, surgeries and prescriptions
- physical or vocational rehabilitation benefits
- occupational hearing loss benefits
- death benefits payable to a surviving spouse and/or children
For lost wages, the Industrial Commission of Arizona determines the payment, which is based on the average wage the worker was making at the time of the injury, and will be capped at a specific dollar amount each year.
Can I Sue My Employer for Benefits Outside of Workers’ Compensation?
Although workers’ compensation is the general rule for providing benefits to injured workers, there are other options available to you if workers’ compensation is not possible. Some of the ways you may be able to sue for damages include:
- Filing a products liability action against the manufacturer of a defective product that caused your on-the-job injury.
- Filing a toxic tort lawsuit against the manufacturer of a dangerous substance, such as asbestos.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against an employer that engaged in intentionally egregious conduct.
- Suing your employer in civil court or collect money from a state fund if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party that caused your injury, such as a claim against a driver who caused an accident with you while you were on a business trip.
Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation claims can become complex and requires the assistance of an experienced Phoenix work injury attorney. At Witson Law, all personal injury cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. You pay no out of pocket expenses and only need to pay us if we win your case. Contact an experienced Phoenix work injury lawyer immediately. Schedule your free consultation – (602) 358-8686.