Workplace injuries can be tough on you and your family. Your injuries can make you suffer physically, financially, and emotionally. After you inform your employer, they file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance company. To make the process easier, you should speak to an Arizona workers’ compensation claims attorney. Not only can they explain how the process works, but they can make sure there are no errors on your application.
Insurance applications are denied frequently, despite being filed for legitimate reasons. Fortunately, even after denial, you can receive a higher amount of Arizona workers’ compensation benefits than your previous claim. Your workers’ compensation attorney will do their best to review your claim after an initial investigation to accurately estimate how much you should receive. To get started, contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation.
How long does workers’ comp last in Arizona?
Workers’ compensation lasts as long as it is necessary to sustain you through the recovery process. In general, it can be provided between three to seven years. However, there is no time limit for some cases. The length of workers’ compensation cases in Phoenix, AZ is based on the following criteria:
Temporary Partial Benefits And Total Benefits
Unlike other states, Arizona offers no temporary total benefits or temporary partial benefits. It also doesn’t provide extra state payments to SSI recipients. Arizona only provides long-term disability benefits to those who have a longstanding disability. There are two ways you can be paid for your work-related injury benefits: scheduled or un-scheduled permanent disability.
Scheduled Permanent Disability
When a specific part of your body is listed under the Arizona Workers’ compensation employment law schedule, you are paid according to the schedule’s rate. These schedules include arms, hands, legs, feet, eyes, mouth, and disfiguration.
Scheduled Partial Disability
When you suffer from a partial loss of a body part, you can receive permanent partial disability benefits. Typically, you would receive half of your employee’s average monthly wages. The length of time depends on the injured part of your body. The time that you receive benefits can entitle you to over a year of payments. Partial disability will extend for a period of time that is proportionate to the percentage of the loss of your body part. For example, if you lost 50% of your dominant hand, you can receive payments for 50% for a total of 50 months. This means you would receive 25 months of payments.
Scheduled Total Disability
When you suffer a total loss of a body part, you can receive 55% of your average monthly wages. If you suffer from tooth loss and facial scarring, you can receive 55% of your average monthly wage for up to 18 months. If your doctor evaluates you and finds that you can’t return to your normal line of work, then you can receive 75% of your monthly wages. Payments can continue for up to 50 months if you lose a vital body part, for example, your dominant hand.
Statutory Permanent Total Disability
When you suffer from a catastrophic injury that results in permanent impairment, you can receive lifelong benefits. For example, if you lost vision in both eyes or amputation of the hands, feet, arms, or legs, the disability will continue for the rest of your life.
Un-Scheduled Permanent Disability
When you experience a general impairment, you may have a combination of injuries to several parts of your body. Occupational diseases also fall under the un-scheduled category. In this case, you would undergo an evaluation by the commission to help determine how much you should be compensated for each injury. If you can return to work, they also consider how much you can earn in wages. Other factors include your education level, work history, and age.
Compensation for unscheduled injuries is calculated as the difference between your wages before your injury and the new wages you can currently earn. If you have a total disability due to your unscheduled injuries, you can receive 66 and ⅔% of your previous wages. When you experience a partial permanent disability, you can receive 55% of your monthly wage and 25% of your attorney’s fees.
What is the workers’ compensation rate in Arizona?
According to workers’ compensation laws in Arizona, you are entitled to benefits regardless of who caused the injury. That is because Arizona is a no-fault state, and regardless of liability, you can still receive benefits. Generally, workers receive 66 and ⅔% of their average monthly wage. This amount is based on earnings during the 30 days before they were injured. Another way that your average monthly wages are calculated is by using a maximum wage figure, which is $1,726.98 in 2022. You receive 66 and 2/3rds of the maximum monthly wage if your pay goes above this amount.
You can receive a lump sum if you expect to receive a scheduled compensation of $25,000 or less. This amount also doesn’t require insurance company approval. When you receive $150,000 or more in payments, the insurance company must approve this lump sum amount. They are typically approved when you need help financially or for rehabilitation reasons.
How much do lawyers take from the settlement in Arizona?
Attorneys can take up to 25% of the benefits you receive for your work-related injuries. Arizona prevents workers’ compensation lawyers from charging more than 25% in contingency fees, according to AZ Rev Stat § 23-1069 (2016).
How Workers’ Compensation Works in AZ
Phoenix workers’ compensation helps provide coverage for medical expenses caused by work-related injury or illness. Other benefits include the injured worker’s missed wages. In order to receive coverage, you must be a full-time or part-time employee. If you are an independent contractor, a domestic employee working in a private home, or a casual employee that is not part of your employer’s normal operation of a business, you would not be eligible for Phoenix workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, sole proprietors or partners can opt for workers’ comp coverage even though these businesses may have no employees.
Workers’ comp insurance is a way for a company’s insurance company to provide injured workers with enough compensation without requiring a lawsuit. This protects the company from litigation and creates a more streamlined process for receiving compensation. Whether or not your company is negligent isn’t important because Arizona law states that there is no fault for a workplace injury. You will receive coverage for the following:
- Medical care
- Missed wages
- Repeat-use injuries
- Funeral costs
- Death benefits
- Ongoing care
- Disability benefits
How To File For Workers’ Compensation In Phoenix, AZ
Workplace accidents should be reported within one year of the date of the injury. As the injured worker, it is your responsibility to notify your employer as soon as possible. Before you begin, you can get legal services from an experienced attorney to make sure that you don’t have any errors on your Phoenix workers’ compensation application. Doing this will make it easier for you to fill out all the information you need for your claim to be approved. You can submit either your physician’s report of injury or the worker’s report of injury from the ICA. These are the general steps in the claims process that will be required:
Get Medical Care
Your doctor will treat your injuries are and also report to your employer about your condition. This will allow you to receive the medical attention you need, use your medical bills as proof that you deserve benefits, and understand how much time off you’ll require.
Inform Your Employer
Alert your employer so that they are aware that you were harmed. They can begin filing the injury form to start the workers’ compensation process.
After you experience serious injuries at work, you should take pictures of your wounds. Also, photograph the area where you were harmed to show how the accident occurred. For example, defective tools or machinery.
Get Eye Witness Information
If any co-workers witnessed how you were injured, you can mention them in your claim. They can vouch for you and help vouch for your case so that it is more difficult for your company’s insurer to deny your claim.
Speak to an Attorney
Have an attorney review your workplace injury claim with a free case evaluation. They can identify any information you must include in your claim. This prevents you from submitting a claim riddled with errors. You can avoid the appeal process because of a declined claim.
Wait For A Response
Your employer’s insurance company will review your workplace injury and decide if you deserve coverage for medical bills and lost wages. If they approve your claim, they send a statement back to your employer. They may require additional documentation and waivers that you must sign before you agree to the settlement. In other cases, they may request additional information to aid their investigation of your workplace injury. If you have a permanent impairment, you can expect to receive benefits.
If Necessary, Appeal Your Denied Claim
When injured workers receive denied claims, they have 90 days to appeal to the Industrial Commission of Arizona’s Claims Division. You can also file an appeal if the amount you were awarded on your workers’ comp was less than you expected. This could be the case if you experienced catastrophic injuries but didn’t receive maximum benefits.
Attend Pre-Hearing Conference For Appeal
When you appeal to the ICA, you must first attend a pre-hearing conference. The administrative law judge will request that you and your employer’s insurance carrier attend the pre-hearing conference for mediation. The judge will talk to both of you to try and find a solution before your hearing. The conference is mandatory, and you can lose your benefits if you don’t attend. You can attend the conference by phone if it is convenient for you.
Before your trial, your workers’ comp claim attorney will investigate your on-the-job injury. Your employer will also be working with their insurer to investigate your claim. Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyers use the discovery process to uncover additional information to strengthen your claim for maximum workers’ compensation benefits. After enough information has been gathered, your attorney must submit additional information that wasn’t included in your initial application. Submitting the same information won’t help the judge decide that you deserve more in workers’ compensation benefits.
Your workers’ compensation attorney will represent your case before the judge and other parties. After reviewing the evidence, the administrative law judge tries to resolve the dispute. You will testify before the judge and be questioned. The insurance company’s lawyer will also cross-examine you. Based on the results of the case, the judge will decide whether you should receive additional benefits or reverse the denial of your workers’ compensation settlement.
If the judge’s decision wasn’t satisfactory, you can file a second appeal. Within 30 days of the ruling, the administrative law judge can re-examine the evidence. If you are still dissatisfied, you can appeal to the Arizona Court of Appeals within 30 days of the last hearing. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will help you during this process.
Receive Benefits And Follow Your Doctor’s Recommendations
Even after you’ve been given benefits, you still have to follow state laws. You must follow your doctor’s recommendations and keep up with your medical treatments. Otherwise, you can lose your benefits. Make sure you recover from your injuries completely before you return to work.
Get Help From Reliable Workers’ Compensation Lawyers In Phoenix, AZ
You should work with a law group of experienced attorneys, so you aren’t dealing with an extremely complex process by yourself. Don’t let your employer’s insurer avoid paying the correct amount of benefits you deserve. Call Mike Agruss Law today for a free consultation.