How to Track My Workers’ Comp Check
Settling an Arizona workers’ compensation lump sum benefits claim with your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company can feel like the ending of a marathon that can take weeks, months, or even years to complete.
Now come the next burning questions: When will you see the workers’ comp claim settlement payment check? What can you do to track its progress? And what can you do if you believe that your workers’ compensation settlement payment is late?
Thankfully, even in a state with no statutory limit on the issuance of workers comp checks (like Arizona), you can still work with the insurance claims adjuster, the post office, your bank, and of course, an Arizona Workers’ Compensation Attorney to receive your check in a timely manner.
If you are having trouble receiving your Arizona workers’ compensation benefits settlement check for any reason, you do not have to suffer in silence. Call the Matt Fendon Law Group at (800) 229-3880 to speak with an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation lawyer in a free consultation.
How to Track Your Arizona Workers’ Comp Check
Some states have statutory time limits within which a workers comp insurance company must deliver a settlement check. Other states have government-supported tools to help people to track the status of their payment checks.
Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of those states. Instead of enforcing a specific delivery time period, Arizona only prohibits unreasonable insurer practices, and as we have seen above, what is reasonable can be a case-by-case determination.
Here are four ways you can take on your own if you want to learn the status of your Arizona workers comp payment check.
Talk to the Insurance Claims Adjuster
The insurance company can give you some information regarding the status of your workers’ comp settlement check. The claims adjuster will be the most knowledgeable person you can talk to about where your check is in processing and delivery, so this person should be the first person you inquire with.
Inquire With the Post Office
If the insurance claims adjuster tells you that the check is in the mail, then another option to learn about where it is in delivery is to contact the US Postal Service. If the check has become lost in delivery, the USPS can help you to follow up on locating it again if possible. If the check is truly lost, then you can re-approach the insurance claims adjuster with that information and have the check reissued.
Also, if you have recently moved, it could be a good idea to make sure any mail-forwarding services you have with the USPS are still in effect. If they are not, you could follow up by checking with the new residents at your old address to see if your settlement check ended up there.
Check With Your Bank
These days, it is becoming more common for workers comp settlement payments to be electronic, including direct deposit to your bank account. If this is the option you have, checking with the bank to see if it has received payment is another step you can take.
Consult With an Arizona Workers’ Compensation Attorney
It is an unfortunate fact that workers’ compensation checks do not always reach injured workers in a timely way, if at all. If this happens to you, and you are unable to get a satisfactory answer from the insurance company or the post office about the status of your Arizona workers’ compensation check, then it may be time to talk with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Matt Fendon Law Group.
Especially if the insurance carrier is procrastinating, having an experienced workers comp attorney on your side to prod the insurer to act on late payments can make the difference between a late and very late (or non-existent) payment..
Sometimes a simple written inquiry from one of our workers comp lawyers will be enough to get their attention. But if more is needed, then we can take further steps on your behalf, including helping you to prepare a complaint with the ICA if the insurance company is dealing with you in bad faith.
An initial consultation with one of our quality Arizona workers’ comp lawyers is free to you. Call us today, (800) 229-3880, to schedule your free consultation appointment.
Do you prefer to communicate online instead? You can reach us here to make an appointment, or to ask a question to an experienced workers comp lawyer about our services.
Remember: your employer’s workers’ comp insurance provider is not your advocate. It has little interest in seeing that you receive the Arizona workers compensation settlement payout that you need to get back to work and to restore other parts of your life after a workplace injury.
If you turn to the ICA on your own, be aware that it is a large, impersonal, state agency. Your need to get that settlement check as soon as possible to pay medical bills and replace lost wages is important to you, but to the ICA you are another injured worker among many.
When you have trouble getting your workers comp check or finding out where it is, having a workers’ compensation claim attorney on your side can make all the difference in getting matters unstuck. That is what we do for you at the Matt Fendon Law Group.
How Long Does It Take to Send My Arizona Workers’ Comp Settlement Payment?
Workers’ comp insurance companies are like any other insurers. Their reason for existing is not so much to pay out workers comp checks as it is to make money for their shareholders. Although this profit motive is not by itself unreasonable, sometimes—especially with high-value Arizona workers’ comp settlement sums—an insurance company can try to bend the rules when it comes to meeting its obligation to pay your benefits settlement in a timely way.
There is no one answer to the question of how long it will take to receive your Arizona workers’ compensation settlement check. Depending on your particular circumstances, settlement of your workers comp claims can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year or two.
Determining when you get your workers’ comp check depends on several factors. For example, settlement of your benefits claims can take longer if negotiations are contentious or legal issues need to be resolved first.
Delays can also happen when a Medicare Set-Aside to pay for future medical benefits that would otherwise be paid by Medicare is part of the settlement. Medical liens and unpaid medical treatment bills can also add time to the negotiations.
How Are Settlement Checks Mailed in Arizona?
Most insurance companies will send your Arizona workers compensation settlement check by regular mail through the US Postal Service. You can specify which address the insurance company sends your settlement check to, including your attorney’s office as well as your home address.
How Can My Arizona Workers’ Comp Settlement Check be Delayed?
Although mailing a workers’ comp check to you sounds like it should be a simple exercise, there are several ways that things can go wrong that can cause a delay in your check delivery. Some of these delays can have an innocent explanation, while others can represent efforts of the insurance company to delay settlement payout through delaying tactics.
Here are some of the reasons for delays to workers comp benefits settlement checks that we have seen in our experience as Arizona workers’ compensation lawyers.
The people who work for insurance companies are not perfect, and they can make mistakes that can delay the processing and delivery of your check. For example, your check can be delayed for signature on somebody’s desk, or get caught up in processing delays.
Personnel Changes at the Insurer
Sometimes, the insurance adjuster who starts with your workers compensation benefit claim settlement will not be the one who finishes it. If this changeover happens while your settlement check is being processed, it could result in a delay in sending the check to you.
Changes to Your Personal Information
Any time you change your personal information, like by moving to a new address or changing your name, this can become an excuse for the insurance company to delay processing and sending your settlement check to you.
The USPS is not immune from inefficiencies and mistakes that can delay your check delivery, regardless of what the workers compensation insurance company does.
Adverse Actions by the Insurance Company
Particularly if your Arizona workers’ comp settlement consists of multiple payments instead of a single lump sum, the insurance company might stop delivery of follow-on checks for any of several reasons:
- You have returned to work.
- You have already reached your level of maximum medical improvement.
- The insurance company suspects you of fraud.
Insurer Delay Tactics
Although most Arizona workers compensation insurers are on the level, there are a few that can seek to take advantage of you to maximize their profits. Every day the insurer can delay your settlement check payment is one more day the insurer can still collect interest on those funds. Processing delays, delivery delays, procrastination tactics, and misleading communications from insurance companies are not always innocent in their intent.
The problem of insurance company bad faith in settlement negotiations and settlement payouts has been historically serious enough that Arizona has laws and regulations that prohibit insurers from engaging in abusive behaviors that can delay your workers’ comp check or find a way to deny the claim.
Arizona Laws Against Unfair Claim Processing Practices
The Arizona statute that prohibits insurance companies, including workers compensation insurance companies, from engaging in bad faith or unfair claim processing practices is A.R.S. 29-930.
Arizona law specifies six ways that bad faith on the part of an insurance company or your employer can happen. For our purposes here—your settlement check, and when you can expect it—here are the two most relevant of those six statutory categories:
- The insurance company settlement practices must be well-grounded in fact, and warranted by existing Arizona law. If they are not, then this constitutes bad faith. This factual and legal support requirement applies equally to insurer arguments to change, extend, or reverse existing Arizona laws.
- The insurance company must not unreasonably delay benefit payments.
Unfair Claim Processing Practices
Under Arizona law, unfair claim insurance company processing practices most relevant to your settlement check delivery include:
- Advising you not to consult with or retain the services of an attorney, or communicating directly to you if you have a lawyer to represent you.
- Unreasonably failing to acknowledge communications from you or your workers compensation lawyer.
- Unreasonably delaying action on communications it receives from you or your workers compensation attorney.
The Arizona Standard for Reasonable Behavior by Insurance Companies
What constitutes an unreasonable insurance company payment practice depends on three considerations:
- Comparing the practice in question to Arizona workers compensation and insurance laws.
- Recognized and approved claim processing practices within the insurance industry.
- The experience of the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) in processing workers’ compensation claims.
Arizona Penalties for Bad Faith or Unfair Claim Processing Practices
The ICA has exclusive jurisdiction over workers compensation law claims of bad faith and unfair claim processes. The ICA can investigate if you make a written, signed complaint to it. Or, it can investigate an insurer on its own initiative.
Statutory penalties for insurance companies that engage in bad faith or unfair claim processing practices include payment of a fine of $500 or 25 percent of the amount of workers’ compensation benefits due, whichever is more. If the ICA decides that the insurer has a history or pattern of unfairness or bad faith, then it can impose an additional civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation the ICA finds.
Call the Matt Fendon Law Group Today
While there are several steps you can take on your own to track your workers’ comp check, once you’ve exhausted all you can do with no success, a competent Arizona workers’ comp lawyer will apply the right amount of pressure in the right places to get that check into your hands as soon as possible.
We will stand between you and the insurance company as your advocate, doing everything within our legal authority to fast-track that late payment. We know that every day matters when you’re waiting on a workers’ comp check, and will not hesitate to file a complaint with the ICA if the insurance company is dragging its feet.
Call us at (800) 229-3880 today to skip the hassle and receive the compensation you’re entitled to.