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Understand Your Rights When it Comes to Work Related Injuries
Arizona employees are covered under basic worker’s compensation rules. However, there are cases where an injured employee may need the services of a work injury attorney who understands the rules as they apply to work-related injury or death. It is important to understand that under Arizona law, work injuries are covered under “no-fault” provisions. This means that in most cases, the employee is not allowed to sue the employer. Some of the common hazards employees may face on the job include:
- Slip and fall accidents – When someone fails to post signage indicating that a floor is wet or another type of hazard exists, an employee may fall on the premises. In these cases, the slip and fall is caused by negligence of the person who either spilled something or because an employer failed to provide adequate signage warning of the hazard.
- Chemical burns – Employees must be trained in the proper use, handling and storage of industrial chemicals. When employees are not properly trained, the employer is considered to be negligent in their duties. When an employee suffers chemical burns or loses his or her vision due to splashing chemicals, the employee has a right to consult with a work injury attorney to determine their rights.
- Amputation injuries – From time to time, equipment failures can occur and may result in the loss of a finger or arm, for example. In these cases, the equipment may be defective, and an employee may have the right to sue the manufacturer of the equipment. Arizona statutes have specific remedies for defective product suits provided the equipment was used in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines. Keep in mind, if you do not consult a work injury lawyer in Phoenix, it may be impossible to determine whether you have a suit.
- Workplace violence injuries – Employers have an obligation to maintain a safe work environment, including ensuring employees are safe from attacks from other employees and from visitors. In cases where an employee is injured due to an attack by another employee or visitor, the employer may be liable for injuries sustained.
Understanding Worker’s Compensation Claims
Workers who are injured on the job have a right to certain compensation. Compensation may include (but may not be limited to):
- Medical bill coverage – Any medical bills for hospitalization, doctor visits, rehabilitation therapy and medications must be covered 100 percent by the employer’s insurance company. If a workplace injury requires long-term care due to paralysis or other life-altering injury, nursing care and other care may also be covered.
- Wage reimbursement – Ender Arizona worker’s compensation rules, employees are allowed to collect a portion of their wages while they are recovering from a workplace injury. However, to be eligible for wage reimbursement, the employee must be out of work for a minimum of seven days. Once the seven days are met, the employee is entitled to compensation to be paid at least every two weeks.
- Retraining when needed – If an employee is not able to return to his or her original job due to an injury sustained on the job, vocational rehabilitation assistance is available through the ICA Special Fund Division. Employees are under no obligation to accept retraining.
Filing a Claim for Work-Related Injuries
Employees are obligated to report all work-related injuries to their employer as quickly as possible. A claim may not be filed more than one year from the date that the injury was sustained. The employer then has the obligation to notify its insurer that a claim should be opened for the employee. The employee must do the following:
- Notify their employer – Advise the employer of the injury, and file an accident report
- When seeking medical care – The physician should be notified that this was a work-related incident.
When an employee seeks medical care, the physician or hospital will file the proper documents with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA), which opens a claim for worker’s compensation benefits.
It is important to remember that while you do not need an attorney to represent you, chances are your employer will be represented by an attorney who works for its insurance company. In nearly all cases, hiring a work injury attorney to protect your rights is critical to ensuring you get the benefits you are entitled to. It is also important to remember that in the event an employee died as result of a work-related injury, a wrongful death suit may be filed on behalf of their heirs or their estate for up to two years.
If you are injured on the job, you need assistance from a work injury attorney in Arizona. Contact Friedl Richardson for help. We’ll make sure your interests are protected after a work-related injury.