If you’ve recently been hurt in a workplace accident, you may be wondering what to do next. You’ve already let your employer know that you were hurt. You’re wondering if you’re supposed to sit back and wait to see what happens? Or are you supposed to follow up with formal paperwork? Don’t feel bad if you’re not sure what to do. Unless you’re a workers compensation lawyer in Phoenix, you have no reason to know this stuff.
The truth is that workers compensation laws in Arizona can be tricky. They’re different from most other states. This is especially true when it comes to how long you can collect benefits. Technically, you are allowed to collect workers comp benefits in Arizona for the rest of your life. While this rarely happens, it is nice to know that it’s possible. Our Phoenix injury attorneys work hard to settle our clients’ cases, so this isn’t an issue.
If you were hurt recently in any workplace accident, give us a call. We can schedule your free, initial consultation over the phone, or you can do so through our website. There’s a lot at stake here. You should let a professional handle your claim, so you don’t risk losing your benefits.
Only Certain Types of Employees Are Entitled to Workers Comp in Arizona
Despite what many people think, certain categories of workers are not entitled workers compensation. It doesn’t matter where you live. These groups have been exempted from workers compensation since it was first put into place in Arizona back in 1925. The following types of employees are not entitled to workers comp benefits:
- Seasonal and casual workers
- Agricultural workers
- Railroad employees
- federal employees
- domestic workers
- independent contractors
If you happen to belong to one of these groups, then you cannot apply for workers compensation benefits. Instead, you’ll to either appeal to your union or seek coverage under some other program. If none of these are available to you, then your Phoenix injury attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
You Must Meet Certain Criteria to Qualify for Workers Compensation
Even if you do fall into the covered categories of employees for workers compensation in Arizona, you still have to meet certain criteria. These criteria, again, are similar in all 50 states. Some of the requirements include the following:
- your injury must take place on company property
- you must be injured while on the clock
- if you’re a salaried employee, your injury must occur while you are acting within the scope of your employment
- you must report your accident and injury immediately
- you can only be treated by a state-approved doctor
- you cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident
- you must participate in your medical treatment
- you cannot work at another job while collecting workers compensation benefits
As long as you meet these criteria, there’s a good chance your claim will be approved. However, it’s important to remember that this is not an exhaustive list. There are other criteria you must meet as well. If your employer denies your claim citing one of these requirements, call our office right away. We can have one of our workers compensation lawyers in Phoenix meet with you and review your claim. If they feel your claim should’ve been approved, they’ll help you file an appeal.
If Your Claim is Denied, Your Workers Compensation Lawyer in Phoenix Can File an Appeal
If, for some reason, your workers compensation claim is denied, you have options. You can hire one of our workers compensation lawyers in Phoenix sit down with you and review your claim. They’ll look to see if you filed the proper paperwork. They’ll also check to see why your claim was denied.
Depending on the reason for the denial, your attorney may be able to file an appeal. There are certain obstacles even the best Phoenix injury attorneys can’t overcome. For example, if you were drunk or high at the time of your accident, there’s nothing they can do. The best chance you’ll have in this situation is if your employer is willing to hold your job while you attend a drug rehabilitation center.
You will also run into a serious problem if your employer has proof that you got hurt on personal time. Not only will your claim be denied, but you can be criminally prosecuted as well for insurance fraud.
You Must Be Treated by a State-Approved Workers Compensation Doctor
One thing that frustrates our clients is when they find out that they can’t be treated by their own doctor. You have no choice but to be treated by a state-approved workers comp doctor. There are certain doctors who have been certified by the State of Arizona to handle workers comp cases. They have been approved to make determinations as to when an employee is ready to return to work. If you are treated by any other doctor, your medical care will not be covered. In addition, your claim could be denied, and your benefits will end.
You Can Only Collect Benefits for a Certain Period of Time
One of the good things about living in Arizona is that you can collect workers comp benefits for life. Of course, very few people qualify for benefits for that long. Most cases settle within a year or two at most. However, if your temporary disability continues on for years, then you will continue to receive benefits. Once your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement, you’ll be required to return to work. If you feel that your doctor is forcing you to go back to work early, your workers compensation lawyer in Phoenix can get a second opinion from an independent doctor.
Your Weekly Benefits Cannot Exceed $1,191
One other rule under Arizona workers comp law is that you can only receive weekly benefits of up to $1,191. Employees collect 2/3 of their average weekly wages while they are out on workers compensation. Even if you make enough that 2/3 of your wages exceed $1,191, you will not receive more than this amount.
Let One of Our Phoenix Injury Lawyers Help with the Process
If you have been hurt at work and your claim is pending or has been denied, give us a call. We can schedule your free, initial consultation with one of our skilled Phoenix injury attorneys right away. With so much at stake, you don’t want to handle this on your own.