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Prescott Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Workplace injuries happen no matter how hard you try to use safe work practices. It does not have to be your fault or your employer’s. Sometimes, things happen that injure you on the job over which you have little or no control.

When you are injured on the job, or your work environment leads you to develop a chronic illness or medical condition that makes it hard or impossible for you to keep working in Prescott, AZ, turn to the Arizona workers’ compensation system. This program was designed to help pay medical expenses for treatment and to cover some of your lost income.

Depending on your work-related injury, illness, or medical condition and the severity of its symptoms, a workers’ comp claim can be simple or complex. In addition to dealing with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (the ICA), the state agency that oversees workers’ compensation claims in Arizona, you will also be faced with the interests of your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance company when negotiating a claim settlement. Their interests may not always be the same as yours.

Having an experienced attorney when making, negotiating, and settling a workers’ compensation benefits claim can make a big difference in your outcome. You want to be sure you leave nothing on the table and that the benefits you receive are enough to match your reasonably necessary medical expenses now and in the future.

At the Matt Fendon Law Group, our Prescott workers’ compensation lawyers provide the full legal help for workers’ compensation claims and related legal services. If you need a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you see if you have a claim, file your claim, settle your claim, or appeal a claim denial, then contact our team at (928) 842-8955 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.

Why Use Arizona Workers’ Compensation?

Arizona workers’ compensation laws require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. At the same time, workers’ compensation is generally your sole means of obtaining benefits from your employer when you are injured on the job.

Workers’ compensation benefits everyone involved: you the worker, your employer, and the state of Arizona. That is why, absent a few exceptions, by law the state insists that it be your go-to solution for work-related injuries, conditions, and illnesses.

  • Workers’ compensation insurance means that you do not have to sue your employer in a personal injury lawsuit to receive medical benefits and other compensation. All you have to do is file an insurance claim.
  • Employers benefit from workers’ compensation by not having the constant threat of employee legal action whenever an accident happens. It is a cheaper alternative to litigation.
  • Workers’ compensation also benefits the state of Arizona by eliminating the need for employer-employee injury-related lawsuits, which frees up already hard-pressed court resources for other cases.

Can I Sue My Employer for a Work-Related Injury?

Workers’ compensation blocks you from being able to sue your employer for monetary damages in a personal injury claim. It is the sole remedy against the employer if they have workers’ comp insurance. You can sue your employer if they are not insured.

What is a Job-Related Injury, Illness, or Condition?

To be job-related, the event or environment that led to your workers’ compensation claim must connect to your employment. This includes the performance of your job duties and job-related travel during work hours.

Some examples of work-related conditions that can lead to a workers’ compensation claim include accidents, exposure to toxic substances or allergens, work that requires you to engage in prolonged, repetitive motions, or work that puts too much stress on your back, knees, or other parts of your body.

Injury-causing activity that violates your employer’s safety and employee conduct policies and procedures, like fighting with another employee or engaging in horseplay that leads to an accidental injury, can cause your employer or its insurance carrier to claim that your claim is not work-related.

Negligence Does Not Apply to Workers’ Compensation Claims

A central feature of workers’ compensation claims is that you do not need to prove that your injury was your employer’s fault. The objective is to help you receive the benefits and compensation you need, not to assign blame or to punish.

You only have to show that the harm was connected with your employment. This makes workers’ compensation claims generally faster and easier to establish and to receive benefits compared to filing a personal injury lawsuit in an Arizona court.

How Does Arizona Workers’ Compensation Work?

Arizona workers’ compensation has existed for almost a century. So, Arizona workers’ compensation claims follow a procedure that is in most cases well established and fairly predictable. Here are the things for you to do, in order:

1. See a doctor or other appropriate healthcare professional

Although you do not need to prove negligence in a workers’ compensation claim, you still need to prove that you have, in fact, been hurt and the severity and extent of your harm. Your treating doctor will be a crucial ally in proving the existence of your injury through medical records and doctor’s notes of diagnosis and treatment.

2. Notify your employer in writing of your work-related injury

In writing, you must notify your employer of the injury, such as by letter, email, or text message. This must be done within a reasonable period (2 weeks from the injury should meet that requirement). If not, the insurance company may claim “forthwith reporting” and can deny and delay your claim until one year after the incident.

You must do this no later than one year after your injury occurred. Sometimes, if your injury, illness, or medical condition has delayed symptoms, the one-year period can begin when you discover your injury. 

You report your injury by filing a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury form. Your treating doctor or other healthcare provider should have copies of this form available. You can also download it from the ICA website. Once your employer receives your written notice, it will pass this along to its workers’ compensation insurance company.

3. Prepare for an examination by a doctor of your employer’s choosing

If you keep this doctor, they will become what workers’ compensation calls your attending physician. Additionally, the workers’ comp insurance company can request that you undergo an independent medical examination if it needs more information to evaluate your claim for compensation benefits.

4. Negotiate a workers’ compensation claim settlement with the workers’ compensation insurer

Workers’ compensation claims are frequently resolved through a negotiated settlement between you and the insurance company. This can be a one-time, lump-sum full and final payment, usually for more money, or a claim for less up front but will allow you to reopen it later if your injury and treatment circumstances change.

What Benefits Are Available Through Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation benefits cover many costs, expenses, and lost earnings. Some of what you can receive can be scheduled benefits set by statute but generally paid by an insurance carrier.

Other benefits are called “unscheduled” and are determined based on how much earning capacity you have lost and your age, work experience, and education. Your injuries might be permanent, or you might receive temporary disability benefits, and these considerations can also reflect on the workers’ compensation settlement you will receive.

The benefits most commonly connected with workers’ compensation claims include:

  • Paying the costs of your reasonable and necessary medical expenses. These include ongoing inpatient and outpatient care, vocational rehabilitation, physical or occupational therapy, and prescription medications.
  • Partial compensation for lost wages if your injury means you cannot return to work.
  • Death benefits if an injured worker dies due to a work-related injury, illness, or condition. These benefits include a burial allowance and dependents’ benefits. 

Call a Prescott Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

Many workers’ compensation claims proceed uneventfully to settlement. Others, however, can encounter resistance from employers and insurers. Either way, having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your claim is a good idea:

  • A workers’ compensation attorney can help you prepare a benefits claim that is less likely to have problems and more likely to cover all the benefits you are entitled to.
  • If your claim is challenged, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can represent you in negotiations with the employer’s insurance company.

The reasons for employer and insurer challenges to workers’ comp claims can vary. An insurer might claim that the injury was your fault or disagree on the value of your settlement payout calculations. When this happens, an experienced Prescott workers’ compensation attorney can help you stand up to these claims made by insurance carriers.

Arizona workers’ compensation law is an area of legal specialization. At the Matt Fendon Law Group, our highly skilled and compassionate Prescott workers’ comp lawyers are ready to provide legal representation for all aspects of your workers’ compensation claim.

Our legal team has successfully represented many injured workers and their family members in the Prescott area. Here are some of the specific ways that we help our Prescott clients with their workers’ compensation cases:

  • Help understand Arizona law, the workers’ compensation process, and how it works, including how workers’ compensation can work with Social Security disability benefits.
  • Help provide information on the medical care and experts you need and where to seek medical attention.
  • Help dealing with your employer and negotiating with the workers’ compensation insurer.
  • Help identify and calculate the maximum workers’ compensation, medical treatment benefits, and other assistance you are entitled to.
  • Represent you at any ICA hearings on your claim, and handle your appeal of any claim denial.
  • Partner you with an attorney who can file a civil lawsuit against third parties who may have contributed to your injury or, if need be, against your employer if warranted for intentional misconduct or retaliation against you for making a workers’ compensation claim.

Call our law firm today at (928) 842-89550 to schedule a confidential, free initial consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in our Prescott law office. Or, if you prefer, you can contact us online to ask a question or to schedule a free case evaluation of your on-the-job injury.

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