Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations in Arizona
Were you injured at work in Arizona? If so, you need to know there are strict deadlines for filing a workers’ compensation claim. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
You have only one year from the date of a workplace accident to file a claim for compensation in Arizona. Failure to file once the deadline expires could mean that you forfeit your right to seek the benefits you need and deserve.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Matt Fendon Law Group are available to answer any questions you have about the timeline for filing for benefits in Arizona. Call or contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault insurance that protects both employees and employers in the event of a workplace accident. If an employee suffers an on-the-job injury or is diagnosed with an occupational illness, they can file a claim with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company for benefits to pay for medical care, replace a portion of their lost wages, and provide disability benefits. Worker’s comp benefits also extend to family members if a qualifying employee is killed on the job.
Unlike personal injury claims, you do not have to prove that your employer or anyone else was at fault to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You could even be injured due to your own actions and still receive benefits (with limited exceptions). However, in exchange for no-fault benefits, you give up the right to sue your employer for further compensation.
Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, collecting full and fair workers’ compensation benefits is not always as simple as filling out the required forms and getting paid. Your employer or their insurer might look for ways to avoid paying your claim. For this reason, it’s a good idea to speak to an experienced Arizona workers’ compensation lawyer before starting the process.
What Does a Statute of Limitations Mean?
The window of time that an injured worker has to file a workers’ compensation claim is known as the statute of limitations.
Why Is There a Statute of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations exist so that civil claims and workers comp lawsuits are handled promptly. For example, the workers’ compensation statute of limitations encourages workers to report their injury as soon as possible so that their claim can be resolved while medical documentation is readily available and other evidence of the accident is accessible.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Comp Claims in Arizona?
In Arizona, injured workers generally have one year from the date of the workplace injury or its discovery to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). This doesn’t mean that the case must be resolved within that period. Instead, it means that the worker must file their claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
In most cases, the statute of limitations for a workplace injury begins on the date of the accident. But in some cases, the statute of limitations begins on the day an injury is discovered. For instance, if you were struck by another car while driving a commercial vehicle and experience delayed whiplash, the clock would start ticking on the day you were diagnosed with the injury.
What Happens If the Statute of Limitations Has Expired?
If you wait to file your workers’ compensation claim with the Industrial Commission after the statute of limitations has expired, you will most likely miss out on your opportunity to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
Are There Deadlines for Appeals?
If you need to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim, Arizona law says you must file a written appeal with the Industrial Commission within 90 days of receiving the notice of denial. Failure to respond within this timeframe will prevent you from appealing the commission’s decision, so it’s critical to act fast. It’s highly recommended that you speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer rather than handle the appeals process alone.
What To Do If You Were Injured on the Job
If you were hurt at work, it’s time to protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits. Here are some steps to take before the statute of limitations expires:
- Report your injury to your employer. This should be done in writing. Verbal communication is not sufficient. Reporting your injury is the first step to claiming compensation.
- Seek medical care. Get evaluated by a doctor to document your injuries. This will be vital to your workers’ compensation claim. In Arizona, most employees can choose the doctor they want to treat their injuries. However, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer may require you to see a doctor of their choosing for at least one appointment.
- File a claim. In Arizona, the injured worker must file their own workers’ compensation claim with the Industrial Commission by submitting a Worker’s Report of Injury or a Workers’ and Physician’s Report of Injury. Your employer also must report your injury to the ICA in an Employer’s Report of Injury within 10 days of your notification. Remember that reporting your injury to your employer doesn’t constitute filing a worker’s compensation claim.
- Await a decision. Once you file your workers’ comp claim with the ICA, they have 21 days to review your claim and approve or deny it. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. To initiate the appeals process, you’ll need to file a Request for Hearing. Keep in mind that you have only 90 days to file an appeal.
How an Arizona Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help
There’s only a limited time to seek workers’ compensation benefits in Arizona. If you’ve been hurt, the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Matt Fendon Law Group can help you navigate the challenging process of seeking the benefits you need to support yourself and get back on your feet. We are available 24/7 to hear your story, so call or contact us today for a free consultation.