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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.

In order for an Arizona worker to qualify for a permanent workers' compensation benefit, his or her treating physician must notify the insurance carrier that the employee's condition is "stationary," meaning that the illness or injury is not expected to get worse but that nothing further can be done medically in order to remedy or improve the symptoms.

Once a physician so notifies the insurance company, a worker may be eligible to receive ongoing benefits based on the type and degree of the injury. In some cases, injuries are scheduled, meaning that the Arizona Industrial Commission has already determined that such injuries qualify for benefits. The maximum benefit that a worker can receive is 75 percent of his or her monthly wage. A worker is only eligible for this benefit if a doctor certifies that he or she will not be able to come back to work.

A worker can still claim compensation for permanent injuries that are "unscheduled," or not pre-determined by the Industrial Commission to be eligible for compensation. However, compensation for such injuries is determined on more of a case-by-case basis.

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Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation 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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