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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How do I know if I'm covered by workers' compensation?

Arizona employees can have a difficult time learning about the benefits to which they are entitled, such as workers' compensation insurance. You can read about workers' compensation in the Arizona Constitution and the Arizona Revised Statutes. Unfortunately, these documents often contain too much legal jargon to navigate. While the following information is not all inclusive, it does provide a basic understanding of who is covered by workers compensation.

If you do not know whether you are covered by workers' compensation, the answers is that you probably are. Arizona mandates that employers offer the coverage to their employees. This law covers both full- and part-time employees. However, those who employ independent contractors or casual workers do not need to provide coverage. Additionally, those in a domestic servitude role, such as a housekeeper in a private home, are not covered.

Government employees more likely to be hurt on the job

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published a study showing how the occurrence of injuries differed between government and private sector employees. According to their findings, more than 3 million private sector employees suffered work-related illnesses and injuries in 2013 (or about 3.3 percent of all private sector employees), whereas only 746,000 public employees filed were hurt on the job last year.

Of the 3 million private sector cases reported, about 75 percent occurred in service industry-related jobs. Over half the cases in the private sector were serious claims that required employees to take time off from work. Manufacturing, retail and utility sectors continue to see an annual decrease in the number of reported employee injuries.

How do you prevent falls at construction sites?

Workers in Arizona are well aware that some occupations are inherently dangerous. Those employed in jobs that pose risks to their well-being should understand ways to enhance safety in the workplace in an effort to prevent workplace injuries. Employers should take certain steps to increase safety by providing up-to-date training and safety equipment. When accidents do occur in the workplace, employers should implement preventative measures to avoid similar incidents from occurring again, such as falls at construction sites.

How do you prevent falls at construction sites? Because almost all construction sites have unprotected sides and edges, wall openings and holes in the floor during the construction process, railings and warning signs should be put in place to prevent injuries and falls. If these steps are not taken, workers could be injured from a fall or a falling object.

Workers' compensation claims may benefit from additional help

When you are injured at work, you may not know what steps to take. Simply receiving the medical care you need to recover can be a challenge, not to mention the mountain of bills that you may be facing once you receive that care. Workers' compensation can help cover these bills, but the system can be overwhelming for those who are unfamiliar with it. Too often, workers believe their employer will work out the details regarding their workers' compensation claims, but that is not always the case.

Some industrial accident injuries are easy to miss

When one thinks of being injured in an industrial accident, they may think of injuries such as crush injuries or falls. Yet there are a myriad of injuries an industrial worker in Arizona could suffer while on the job.

How does the workers' compensation system in Arizona work?

Workers in Arizona who are injured in a workplace accident may choose to pursue workers' compensation benefits. However, the workers' compensation system can seem complex to those who are not familiar with it and simply want to be compensated for the expenses that they suffered in the accident. In these situations, workers in Arizona may simply want to know how the workers' compensation system works. While the following information is not meant to be legal advice, it should provide you with a better understanding of the workers' compensation system in Arizona.

Pursuing compensation after a workplace accident

Getting hurt at work can leave you with plenty of questions. In Arizona, workers' compensation is an important avenue of relief for those who are hurt while on the job. There are a lot of serious considerations, depending on the severity of an injury.

For some people, an accident can be very minor and may be treated with rest and relaxation. Other injuries, especially those on construction sites or those that occur from other physically demanding jobs, can cause a serious injury that has long-term effects. A slip and fall on a construction site can put someone in the hospital. A traumatic brain injury can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care and leave the worker permanently disabled.

Arizona asks for dismissal of Hotshots fire case

A workers' compensation suit can be a very serious legal matter for an employer. This can range from a small business to the government of Arizona. Different industries have different standards for their employees. If someone gets into a work accident, they may be eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits. If someone is killed because of negligence from an employer supervisor, a suit may be filed for additional compensation. This is the case in a lawsuit that is currently in court for a wrongful death complaint suit involving the firefighting Granite Mountain Hotshots.

The state of Arizona recently asked the federal judge in the case throw out the wrongful death case of the Granite Mountain Hotshots involving a fire at Yarnell Hill that led to the death of 19 Hotshots in June of 2013. The suit alleges that supervisors were negligent in fire safety rules. The state of Arizona attorneys argued that the case should be dismissed because they were acting as de facto state employees and covered under Arizona's workers' compensation law, state law prohibits negligence for firefighters who were fighting a blaze and that the case doesn't meet violation standards, among other arguments.

How is an occupational disease defined?

When people are injured at work in the state of Arizona, workers' compensation can help pay for expenses when a person is not able to work. Some injuries happen because of single accidents like falls or heavy machinery failing. On the other hand, chronic diseases may develop from repetitive movements or contact to dangerous chemicals or other exposures. But, how exactly is an occupational disease defined?

According to the Arizona State Legislature, occupational disease is defined by six requirements. Those include: a direct link between work-related activity and the disease, the disease follows as natural incident of work, there is a proximate cause, the disease is not related to outside work exposures, the disease is related to the character of the work and originated as risk within the business and could not have been foreseen or expanded.

What are the "fatal four" of construction accidents?

Construction accidents can turn very serious very quickly. Workers in Arizona who are dealing with heavy equipment, deadlines and a fast-paced environment may have accidents that can range anywhere from minor to major. Minor injuries may involve scrapes and bruises, but a major equipment malfunction or accident with heavy machinery could end in severe work injuries or even death. While the construction industry can see all manner of work-related accidents, there are four major accident groups that fatal injuries fall under.

According to information from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), in 2013 there were 3,929 work fatalities in private industry. Of those deaths, 796 were in construction. The top four categories of injury included falls, strikes from objects, electrocutions and caught-in/between. The percentage breakdown of these types of deadly accidents was as follows: 36.9% falls, 10.3% struck by object, 8.9% electrocutions and 2.6% caught-in/between. According to the information from OSHA, if these four types of fatal injuries were eliminated, 468 workers' lives would be saved every year in the United States.

Serving the Following Areas

Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation and Social Security Disability cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma, and throughout Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County, and all of Arizona.

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