Workplace accidents can be devastating to Arizona workers and their families. Aside from medical bills and related costs, a worker may have no source of income for a long time while he or she recuperates. In the most severe work accidents, an employee may never be able to work again.
Knowing the serious consequences of these types of accidents, Arizonans created this state's workers' compensation system. This system requires most employers to have some sort of insurance or other protection so that when their employees get hurt or sick on the job, the employers can ensure that their workers will have their medical and other needs met.
The penalties for not having such coverage can be quite serious. For one, if an employee gets hurt but the employer does not have workers' compensation, the employee has permission to file a civil lawsuit against the employer, in which the employee can claim not only lost wages and medical bills but also non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In fact, should an employer not have workers' compensation insurance, the court will presume that the employer is liable so long as the employee can show he or she got hurt at work.
Furthermore, employers that do not maintain workers' compensation insurance can also be fined $1,000 if the employer is caught without the insurance, even if none of their workers actually got hurt. The fines get steeper for subsequent offenses, and the proper authorities may even seek a court order requiring that a business close its doors until it is willing to follow Arizona law. In serious cases of breaking the law, an employer may even face criminal charges.