Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Injured workers have the right to pursue compensation for their medical treatment and missed time from work. Call Palmer Law Offices, P.C., today for a workers’ compensation case in Phoenix, AZ.
If you’ve suffered an injury or illness at work, you must file a workers’ compensation claim to receive medical benefits and wage replacement. Call us at Palmer Law Offices to schedule a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. With over 60 years of combined legal experience in personal injury and workers’ compensation law, we can help you navigate your claim.
See what our clients say about our firm for workers’ comp claims on our testimonials page.
Qualifying Conditions To File Workers’ Comp Claims
While most people think of construction accidents when they hear about workers’ compensation claims, any work-related injury may qualify for medical benefits and lost income replacement. Qualifying injuries include:
Visible, immediate physical injuries from an accident, like falling or getting caught in a piece of equipment
Repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel or eye strain from repetitive hand motions or repeated exposure to bright lights or screens
Occupational illnesses such as hearing loss, cancer, exposure to toxic substances, heat stroke, skin conditions, and mesothelioma due to environmental conditions related to work
To file a claim for a repetitive stress injury or occupational illness, you must be able to prove a connection between your work duties or environment and your illness. Additionally, there must be an established causal link between the work conditions, tasks, or environment and the medical condition(s) you developed.
Employer Responsibilities Under Arizona Workers’ Compensation Law
Employers have several responsibilities to ensure that workers have coverage under their provided workers’ compensation insurance. Besides requiring that employers with one or more full- or part-time employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance, employers must do the following:
Post a notice of industrial insurance coverage at work where it is visible to employees
Allow employees to reject workers’ compensation in writing and in duplicate before sustaining a work-related injury or illness
Pay all workers’ compensation premiums and not deduct premiums from employee pay
Provide appropriate information to employees about the steps to file a workers’ compensation claim
Report any worker injury within ten days to their insurance provider and the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) upon receiving written notice of the injury from the employee
Employers who self-insure may be able to direct the employee’s care for the length of the injury. Non-self-insured employers may only direct employees to their healthcare provider for a single visit. Employees can seek treatment with their doctor of choice after their employer-directed visit.
What Does Arizona Workers’ Comp Cover?
An injured employee has a right to compensation for:
Necessary and reasonable medical expenses for their injuries
Temporary disability benefits to replace part of lost wages during time off from work
Permanent disability benefits if unable to return to work or for loss of earning capacity
Job retraining costs if the employee can’t return to the same role they held before the injury
Additionally, if a worker is killed or dies later due to their injuries, their dependents may qualify for death benefits. Death benefits include burial expenses (up to $5,000), medical bills for the worker’s treatment before succumbing to their injuries, and temporary disability payments for lost wage replacement.
Types of Claims and Benefits
You may need to file a certain type of claim for your injury. Each claim type may be eligible for different levels of coverage and benefits.
Medical Only or No Time Lost Claim
If you received treatment for your injury immediately and didn’t miss seven consecutive calendar days away from work, your employer’s insurance company will pay all necessary medical expenses related to your injury. You will not receive temporary disability compensation for any treatment period under seven days.
The insurance carrier will continue to pay medical bills for your treatment until the doctor discharges you or you voluntarily stop medical treatment. When your treatment ends, the insurer will close the claim.
If your injuries prevent you from returning to work or you only return to work on light duty for longer than seven days, you can receive temporary disability compensation after seven days. You can receive retroactive compensation for the first seven days if you’re out of work or on light work duty for 14 days or more.
Workers entitled to temporary total disability benefits will receive two-thirds of their average weekly earnings, calculated from their average monthly earnings the month before their injury. Workers on temporary partial disability will receive two-thirds of their average weekly earnings minus their current earnings under light-duty restrictions.
Maximum Medical Improvement
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) is the most your doctor expects you to recover from your injuries. At this point, your doctor will declare whether you have permanent impairment. Your insurer will issue a Notice of Claim Status (104) with or without permanent impairment to close your claim for active benefits.
You qualify to receive scheduled or unscheduled benefits if you have permanent impairment after your claim closes.
Permanent Disability Benefits
If you have a permanent disability or reduced earning capacity after reaching MMI, you may receive benefits depending on which body part(s) you injured.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
For scheduled injuries of the arm, leg, hand, foot, or eye, you will receive half your average monthly wage for partial loss of use and 55% for the total loss of use or amputation of the body part.
For unscheduled injuries, the ICA may award you the difference between your earning capacity before your injury and what you currently earn. These payments may last the rest of your life.
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
For scheduled injuries that prevent you from returning to work, you will receive 75% of your average monthly wage. For unscheduled injuries that prevent you from returning to work, you will receive two-thirds of your average monthly wage from before you sustained your injury.
Disputes Against Workers’ Comp Claims
Sometimes, an employer or insurer tries to dispute workers’ comp claims. Other times, an insurance company may deny your claim.
In these cases, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division of the ICA calls for a hearing. The ALJ addresses disputes between claimants (injured employees), insurance companies, and employers. Some instances when the ALJ may need to resolve a dispute include the following:
Questions of compensability
Extending or continuing benefits
Determining whether additional support is necessary or prudent
Determining permanent disability benefits for loss of earning capacity
An insurance company has 21 days to accept or deny your claim from when your employer notifies them of your injury. If they deny your claim, you have 90 days to file a request for a hearing with the ICA. The ICA will hand your complaint to the ALJ, who will schedule the hearing.
Your employer and their insurance provider will have an attorney on their side. You need help from a workers’ compensation lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, to represent your case in front of the ALJ. If your employer or workers’ comp insurance company disputes or denies your claim, call us at Palmer Law Offices to get started on your case.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Comp Claims in Arizona?
A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time you legally must file a claim. You should file your claim with the ICA within one year of your injury. If you delay reporting your injury, your employer or insurance provider could use that as evidence against you.
If you don’t report your injury in a timely manner, it could take longer for you to receive your benefits, and you risk not being able to claim benefits you would otherwise qualify to receive.
Exceptions for Workers’ Compensation Coverage
Most employees must have employer-provided workers’ compensation insurance coverage. However, there are some exceptions, including:
Independent contractors or gig workers
Sole proprietors for themselves (they must carry coverage for other employees)
Employees outside the usual scope of operations for the employer
If you don’t know whether you fall within the exceptions to qualify for workers’ comp coverage, contact an attorney with our firm to help you determine which employee category you fall under.
Learn more about our firm and call us today to schedule a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Phoenix.
Contact Palmer Law Offices for Help With Workers’ Compensation Law
Workers’ compensation is a complex legal topic for even the most experienced attorneys. Lead attorney Adam Palmer is certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization in Workers’ Compensation. Our attorneys have years of experience representing injured parties, including construction workers, office employees, and other workers across central Arizona.
As soon as you sustain a work-related injury, contact us for a consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Phoenix, AZ. Call us at (602) 277-2007 or contact us online to get help filing your claim or representing your case in front of the ALJ.