Arizona’s Workers’ Compensation Awards on the Rise

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If you’re injured on a job site, who pays for you to get better? Most people say “the employer”, and that’s true. However, understanding how that happens through workers’ compensation claims is vital to ensuring that you receive the full compensation you’re entitled to if you’re injured.According to the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s 2015 Annual Report, Arizona workers’ compensation claims are down. That’s good news! What’s better news for workers is that number of average monthly awards issued has risen. This means that more of the workers’ compensation claims filed are resulting in monthly awards, so people are being compensated for their injuries and work time they miss.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a specific type of insurance most employers are required to carry to provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who are injured during employment. In return, the injured employee’s benefits are only distributed through the workers’ compensation system. Negligence lawsuits against employers above and beyond this system are generally not allowed.Despite being required to purchase and pay for workers’ compensation insurance, not all companies use this framework in good faith. Some companies try to intimidate employees out of making a claim. Others vigorously contest employees’ claims, requiring the employee to hire an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to receive their deserved compensation.

Who is Eligible for Arizona Workers’ Compensation?

The first key to eligibility for Arizona workers’ compensation is to report any accident that occurs. You may feel intimidated, or you may want to seem tough, but your rights to collect compensation can be severely limited or even eliminated if you don’t report the incident promptly.Under Arizona law, it is mandatory for all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system where an injured employee is entitled to receive benefits for an industrial injury, regardless of who caused the job-related accident. If you find that you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation for some reason, you retain your right to sue for negligence in the case of an injury.You next need to look at your status with the company. In the state of Arizona, if an employer regularly hires workers in its business, the employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, no matter the number of workers, whether part or full-time, or if they are minors, aliens, or family members. Workers’ compensation insurance is not required for independent contractors, or workers whose employment is both casual and not in the usual business of the employer. Also, Arizona workers’ compensation insurance is not required for a domestic servant who works in a home.The requirements the company places on your time and work determines your status, whether an employee or an independent contractor. Some companies misclassify workers as contractors who are really employees, so make sure you fully understand the requirements.Finally, the injury or illness must be work-related. Going to and from work doesn’t count as work-related unless your job requires you to be at multiple sites during a day. If you were doing something for the benefit of your employer on paid time, your injuries have a strong likelihood of qualifying for workers’ compensation.If you are injured on a construction site or in the course of any work, always report the accident to your supervisor immediately. Next, be sure to get medical attention even if you feel fine. You may not know the extent of your injuries. Finally, think about filing an Arizona workers’ compensation claim and consider interviewing specialized attorneys to determine if they can assist you with your claim.If you were injured in a construction accident, click here to learn more about how we can help you and to sign up for a free case evaluation today!