The answer is "it depends." The law in Arizona essentially says that if an injured worker has to "travel outside the area in which he or she resides to receive treatment" he or she should be entitled to reimbursement for those expenses.
There's no "black letter" law if you will on the issue. It is our opinion that most courts would determine that traveling within the metropolitan area of Phoenix is one's "area of residence." However, what if you live in Surprise, and have to commute to Apache Junction for treatment? I believe that an argument could be made for travel reimbursement for an injured worker.
On the other hand, if someone has to commute from Flagstaff to Phoenix to get medical treatment because there's not medical treatment available to them in Flagstaff, that would definitely be reimbursable travel.
Another situation we see in many of our cases is in the Prescott area. This is called the "Tri-Cities area" and involves Chino Valley, Prescott, and Prescott Valley. An injured worker could make the argument that if he or she lives in Chino Valley, and has to commute to Prescott Valley for treatment, he or she should be entitled to travel reimbursement.
There is no hard and steadfast rule in this area. Please contact Fendon Law Firm if you have any questions or comments on this subject or any other subjects involving workers' compensation or Social Security disability.