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Arizona lawmakers mull change in workers' comp rules

A committee within the House of Representatives of the Arizona State Legislature has passed a measure that would require those employees of Arizona companies who suffer workplace injuries to file workers' compensation benefits in this state. Under the provisions of this law, a worker will have to file a workers' compensation claim in Arizona even if that person got hurt while on the job in another state. The bill will now presumably be brought before the entire Arizona House for a vote. If it passes, the Governor can sign the measure into law, as the Arizona Senate has already passed a similar measure.

According to reports, the driving force behind this new proposal is professional sports injuries. At least one of Arizona's major teams has complained that it receives workers' compensation claims that are filed in another state where that athlete may have played only a few times in his career. The team owners claim that these former players are taking advantage of the other state's more liberal workers' compensation laws in order to get awarded substantial payouts.

However, this law would not only affect professional sports teams. Businesses along the Colorado River and other businesses lying on Arizona's borders reportedly may have a more difficult time finding a workers' compensation insurance carrier willing to offer protection at a reasonable premium. Arizona transportation companies and others that do significant interstate commerce may also be affected.

The apparent concern is that the employees of these businesses may do work in a neighboring state and be able to take advantage of more liberal workers' comp laws in that state. Both Arizona workers and their managers will want to pay careful attention to this proposal as it continues to make its way through the legislative process.

Source: The Bugle, "State looks to tighten rules on workman's comp claims by professional athletes," Howard Fischer, March 7, 2013

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