When you get injured at work in Arizona, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, such as coverage of hospital expenses, payment for time off work, and other assistance. Do you need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Arizona or can you go it alone? This article explains the advantages an experienced law firm can bring to the table.
Knowing what to do matters because workplace injuries can take anyone by surprise. The state of Arizona has a higher-than-average rate of work accidents and injuries, with about 60,000 people getting hurt on the job every year. Thousands of workers get injured annually in restaurants, hotels, health care businesses, retail stores, and other “safe” jobs.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help With Your Case
Filing a claim for workers’ comp in Arizona should be simple, but the amount of rejected claims says otherwise. Getting turned down for a legitimate claim can leave you feeling frustrated or hopeless. The goal of a workers’ compensation attorney is to help you when you need it most.
1. Guiding You Through the Workers’ Compensation Process
Even though workers’ comp coverage is mandatory in Arizona, your employer isn’t responsible for carrying out the necessary paperwork. You still have to file the claim with the Industrial Commission of Arizona.
It can be exhausting to navigate a complex claim process for your claim while also seeking medical care and trying to recover, but taking the right steps is easier when you have a law firm experienced in workplace accidents guiding you and helping with the necessary paperwork.
2. Helping You Identify the Compensation You Qualify For
Depending on the type of injury you experience, you may qualify for additional benefits beyond the coverage of accident-related medical expenses. Workers’ compensation in Arizona can provide funds for lost wages, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, and vocational retraining. Without an attorney, you may miss out on important compensation now and in the future.
3. Gathering Evidence To Support Your Case
You have a better chance of getting your workers’ compensation claim approved when you have evidence backing up your case. One of the things a workers’ compensation attorney helps with is gathering strong evidence for your claim, including:
- Medical records
- Prescription receipts
- Testimony from attending doctors
- Interviews with witnesses to the accident
- Relevant work communications
- Security videos (if available)
- Photographs of injuries
Arizona law requires you to visit a doctor of your employer’s choosing after an injury, but the physician may not be thorough. Your workers’ comp attorney may recommend a second opinion by a respected physician who will perform a more comprehensive evaluation.
4. Communicating With the Insurance Company
Your lawyer can handle the correspondence with the private insurance carrier responsible for your employer’s workers’ compensation. This is important for getting the amount of compensation the law allows for.
Some insurers deliberately miscalculate the average monthly wage to avoid paying you the amount mandated by law. Others try to pressure you into accepting a bogus “take it or leave it” offer that is far below what you may need.
5. Negotiating a Settlement
One common mistake workers in Arizona make is thinking only about the present when it comes to workplace accidents. When deciding on appropriate compensation, you also need to think about your future. What if an accident causes you persistent pain and difficulties down the road? Will your livelihood and ability to provide for your family be affected by the injury?
These are the kind of questions a workers’ compensation attorney helps you analyze. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, looking out for your financial, physical, and professional well-being.
6. Representing You at Your Hearing
Sometimes, employers or insurers reject a workers’ comp claim. When that happens, your next step is to request an ICA hearing with an administrative law judge. This requires legal steps such as meeting with the judge, performing the discovery process, hearing your testimony, calling witnesses, and preparing for cross-examination. Trying to go through these steps alone is not recommended.
What You Should Know About Workers’ Comp in Arizona
Arizona laws are clear regarding workers’ compensation. Any employer is required to have sufficient workers’ compensation insurance for all employees. It doesn’t matter if the workers are employed part-time or full-time. The business owner even has to provide coverage for minors and family members.
This means that if an employer tells you that you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation because you don’t work enough hours or make enough money, they’re lying. Don’t delay in speaking with a workers’ compensation attorney to back up your rights and take steps to preserve evidence that may be in your employer’s possession.
Why Many People in Arizona Choose To Work With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The decision of how to proceed in cases of workplace injury is up to you, but consider some of the common reasons why injured employees consult a lawyer, including:
- No-fault violations
- Rejected claims
- Threats from employers
- Discrimination following claims
- Busy work schedule
- Incorrect compensation
- Temporary or permanent disability
According to Arizona state law, workers’ compensation operates on a no-fault system. In simple terms, this means that you’re not obligated to prove that your employer was responsible for the accident, and you don’t need to demonstrate your innocence either.
Unfortunately, many employers blame employees or reject claims anyway. They may accuse injured workers of purposely hurting themselves. A workers’ compensation lawyer doesn’t give up if your company pulls this stunt. Having an attorney by your side may help you get the respect you deserve from employers and insurers.
What To Do Next With Your Workers’ Comp Case
After a workplace accident, there are two priorities: notifying your employer immediately and getting the medical treatment you need. After that, it’s time to file your workers’ comp claim with the ICA.
For help with this process or any complications, contact a workers’ compensation attorney right away. At MDK Law Group, we have a great reputation with workers and families in Arizona.