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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Deadly skydiving accident seriously injures Arizona instructor

A skydiving student died in a recent tragic accident in Arizona close to the Phoenix metropolitan area. The accident also unfortunately left an employee who worked as an instructor for a skydiving company seriously injured. Thankfully, the instructor is expected to survive the accident.

The instructor and student were doing what is called a tandem jump, in which the student is connected to the instructor. In a tandem jump, the instructor pulls the parachute and takes primary responsibility for the safety of both skydivers.

The difference between a temporary and permanent workplace injury

Although many Arizona workers might simply think that at all injuries at work are treated in the same way for workers' compensation purposes, there is in fact an important difference between a temporary injury and a permanent injury.

At the time of a workplace accident, a Phoenix employee's injuries are generally assumed to be temporary. For a temporary injury, an employer must generally cover all of its employee's medical treatment and must also cover a portion of any lost time at work by continuing to pay some or all of an employee's wages.

Advocating for victims of factory accidents

The people who work in Arizona's many factories are doing a valuable service both to their families and to their state. In addition to providing Phoenix families with the means of making a living, factory jobs also boost Arizona's economy so that future generations can enjoy the same prosperity that many households currently experience.

At the very least, then, those who work in Arizona's factories should be able to expect that if they get injured or sick because of their work, then they and their families will be protected. Factory work is often dangerous, and those who take on the risk for the sake of their livelihoods should feel secure in the event of an unexpected accident or illness connected with their jobs.

Can my workers' compensation benefits be suspended?

Although workers' compensation benefits in Arizona are designed so as to get injured employees back on their feet as quickly as possible, Phoenix employees need to remember that they also have certain obligations that they must meet in order to continue to receive compensation for their medical bills and their lost income.

If an employee fails to meet these obligations, in many circumstances, an insurance company, or an employer that funds its own workers' compensation system, can - without the permission of Arizona's Industrial Commission - suspend the payment of all benefits.

What is the 'going and coming rule' in workers' compensation?

One of the basics of workers' compensation law in Arizona is that benefits are for those who are injured at work. While this may seem simple enough to determine in most circumstances, in other cases, it can be hard to know whether an injured employee was actually on the job when he or she got hurt.

For example, normally a worker would not be able to get benefits if he or she were to get injured during his or her commute to work. This rule is called the "going and coming rule," and it simply means that Arizona does not consider a commuting accident to be a workplace accident.

Workers' compensation rates in Arizona declining

It was good news for Phoenix employers last year when workers' compensation insurance premium rates fell by 6 percent statewide in 2015. This markdown outpaced 2014's rate increase of 3.2 percent. Now, for 2016, a major workers' compensation rating organization is recommending further cuts in insurance rates for this state, having requested that Arizona regulators approve a 2.2 percent reduction.

The apparent market trend that has led to lower rates also has meant more profits for big insurance companies. Although numbers for 2015 are not reported, Arizona workers' compensation insurance carriers made a profit on their underwriting in 2014, meaning that they collected more premium than they paid in claims. While this is good news for the insurance companies, it is not good news for injured workers whose claims were denied.

Workplace injury? Let us handle the details

As last week's blog post discussed, Arizona workers have a lot to worry about when it comes to filing their own workers' compensation claims. Even in a relatively small matter, an injured Maricopa County worker will have to meet deadlines, review notices and forms and take a lot of other steps in order to process their claim and get the compensation to which they are entitled.

The consequences of missing these deadlines or not following these technical procedures can range from minor to severe. In the worst cases, an injured worker may accidentally or through honest ignorance of the law forfeit their rights to benefits altogether.

What am I expected to know when I file a claim?

An Arizona employee, particularly if they have what seems to be a minor injury, may think it best just to handle the filing of a workers' compensation claim themselves. While this is the right of every Phoenix resident, a person may still want to think twice before staking out on their own. In many cases, it may be best to resist the temptation to cut out an experienced lawyer in an effort to supposedly save money.

An Arizonan that wants to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits will be held to the same standards as an expert in workers' compensation law. On a practical level, this means that they will have to read and understand notices that often contain legal jargon that the average person does not use often. It also means that they will be strictly held to all deadlines and will be expected to keep their current contact information on file with the proper parties.

What are common types of construction site accidents?

Last week's post discussed a tragic incident in which a wall collapsed, killing one Arizona worker and seriously injuring another. These sorts of incidents are unfortunately common at construction sites, and employers need to take extra precautions to prevent them.

Other common types of construction accidents involve falls. Construction workers often carry their equipment and supplies up to very high places to work on tall objects like bridges or new buildings. Other work zones have workers in a hole or a trench. In these types of cases, Phoenix workers can easily slip and fall great distances. Moreover, a heavy object can also drop on to workers doing labor below.

Arizona construction worker dies after wall collapses

An Arizona construction worker died and another one suffered very serious injuries after a wall collapsed on them while they were working on a demolition project.

The demolition work was being done on behalf of the city of Tucson because the city wanted to widen a local road and the building was standing in the way. The city purchased the building and arranged for a crew to demolish the building.

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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Phoenix, AZ 85004

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