You have worked at the same big-box retailer for five years, loading and unloading big box after big box off the trucks and onto pallets. Over time, you have started sensing back pain and are finding it increasingly difficult to bend and lift–the core elements of your job. Chances are, you are suffering from overexertion, a common form of a workplace injury that results from lifting, lowering, and repetitive motions.

Because your injury occurred while you are doing your job, you are quite likely entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits provide for the payment of your injury-related medical expenses and lost wages. The only catch is, by accepting these benefits, you give up your right to file a lawsuit against your employer.

Not sure which route to choose? Not sure how to get there? A Phoenix worker’s compensation lawyer can point you in the right direction and walk with you every step of the way to your rightful compensation. Reach out to our skilled personal injury attorneys at Zanes Law as soon as possible.

Common Types of Workplace Injuries in Phoenix

MMDAF awards_logo1First, it is important that you shed any shame you are feeling about your injury. Workplace accidents and injuries are common.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that every seven second seconds, a worker is injured on the job. Over time, that number translates to 510 injuries per hour; 12,300 injuries per day; 86,500 injuries per week; and 4,500,000 injuries per year.

Not feeling so alone now, are you?

You might be thinking that these injuries have to be something disfiguring or dramatic—along the lines of losing a finger in a milling machine–and so you belittle your injury, thinking it’s too insignificant to warrant receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

You are mistaken. According to NSC, the top three workplace accidents that result in lost workdays are as follows.

Three Most Common On-The-Job Accidents

Type of AccidentSample Causes% of all Workplace Injuries
OverexertionLifting, lowering, repetitive motions34%
Contact with objects and equipmentstruck by or against object or equipment;
caught in or compressed by equipment or objects; struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or material
25%
Slips, trips and fallsfalls to a lower level; falls on the same level25%

The lesson to learn here is that workplace injuries happen all the time, in many ways, and assuming many forms.

We spend much of our lives at work. From the window cleaner who slips and falls off a scaffold to the data-entry clerk who suffers carpal tunnel syndrome, the company that has benefited from an employee’s work is obliged to pay for the toll that work takes on employees’ bodies.

Common Industries for Worker Injuries

We mention the data-entry clerk to make an important point. Just as workers’ comp is not restricted by injury type, it does not define itself by industry either. The carpal-tunnel injury sustained from working at a research institution is no less worthy of compensation than an injury resulting from a construction site accident.

The NSC analyzed data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and revealed the following top three industries for preventable injuries at work in the U.S. in 2016, based on the medically consulted injuries reported:

  1. Government: 890,000 injuries
  2. Educational and health services: 830,000 injuries
  3. Manufacturing: 560,000 injuries

The NSC focuses a good deal of its research on emphasizing that across industries, the number of preventable work deaths in the U.S. continues to increase from one year to the next.

Every time a company is forced to confront a work-related accident, near-accident, injury, or illness, it increases the likelihood that the organization will take the safety measures needed to prevent future accidents from happening–accidents or conditions that could result in more significant injuries, or even death. Whether or not you work in any of the previously mentioned industries, a local workers’ comp lawyer could work with you to file a claim.

Criteria for Receiving Workers Compensation

AzTLA awards_logo4At this point, you might be thinking about how your injury happened. “It wasn’t the company’s fault,” you begin to argue with yourself.  “There’s no way they will ever pay.”

That is not how workers’ compensation works.

Even if your employer trained you sufficiently and did everything by the book to promote workplace safety and to prevent accidents/injuries, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits, so long as you meet the following criteria:

  • You are an employee of the company.
  • Your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance.
  • Your injury or illness is work-related.
  • You meet your state’s deadlines for reporting the injury and filing a workers’ compensation claim.

An attorney familiar with the regulations concerning workers’ compensation could help you determine if you are eligible for benefits.

Steps Involved in a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Phoenix

ASLA awards_logo3The first thing you absolutely must do after your workplace accident is to notify your supervisor that you were injured on the job. After this task is done, things start to get complicated.

The good news is that from here on, there’s nothing else that you need to handle if you hire Zanes Law.

How To Navigate a Workers’ Comp Claim

Doug Zanes

Doug Zanes, Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Filing your workers’ compensation claim requires several steps, all of which Zanes Law as a workers’ compensation attorney in Phoenix, AZ, can take off your plate. We will handle the legal aspects of your claim, so you can focus on getting better. Our team will do to following:

  • Submit a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury (this starts your claim and alerts the Industrial Commission of Arizona to notify your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier of the claim.
  • Stay on top of the insurance carrier, who has 21 days to accept or deny your claim.
  • Receive and explain to you your notification letter from ICA, which provides general claim details
  • Communicate and negotiate with the insurance carrier regarding its acceptance or denial of your claim
  • File a Request for Hearing with the ICA if the insurance carrier denies your claim
  • Represent you throughout the hearing process

A Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Lawyer at Zanes Law Can Represent You

Zanes Law is ready to pick up the ball in your workers’ compensation claim and run with it. Our Phoenix workers’ compensation lawyers are ready to take your case. Call us today for a free consultation with a compassionate member of our legal team.

There is no doubt that factory and construction jobs present serious dangers for workers. This is because individuals who work in these settings are usually around large, tall, and dangerous pieces of equipment every day, including drills, large machines, construction vehicles, ladders, and scaffolding. However, serious injuries can occur in just about any work setting—including at an office.

Major employers in Phoenix that might regularly deal with workers’ compensation claims include:

  • Wal-Mart
  • Banner Health
  • Wells Fargo
  • Arizona State University (ASU)
  • Bank of America
  • Intel Corp.
  • U.S. Airways
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX)
  • Mayo Clinic Hospital
  • Kroger
  • Salt River Project
  • Boeing Co.

At Zanes Law Injury Lawyers, we’re not afraid to take on large employers or their insurance companies if they try to shortchange our clients on the benefits they deserve.

No matter where you work, you can suffer injuries, and some common accidents that can lead to injuries and a workers’ compensation claim include:

  • Machinery accidents – Large pieces of factory and construction equipment, like cranes, drills, and manufacturing machines, can be dangerous. Workers could fall from one of these pieces of equipment onto the ground, suffering a serious and debilitating injury in the process, such as a bone fracture or a traumatic brain injury. Crush injuries are also common when an individual has to work around heavy factory or construction equipment every day.
  • Slips and falls – Slips and falls are just as common on construction sites as in office settings. These accidents can also occur both inside and outside. If the worker falls to the floor and lands on their head or back, a serious injury could result, including a spinal cord injury or some type of permanent or partial paralysis that could require years of medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Electrocution – Many workers, including construction workers, builders, and electricians, have to work around electrical wires and circuits while they are on the job. An electrocution injury can lead to serious burns that could result in unsightly scarring. These types of on-the-job injuries often occur when wiring is defective or not properly maintained.
  • Car and truck accidents – Many workers, including builders, truck drivers, and construction workers, have to operate a car or truck for job purposes. For example, a commercial truck driver must operate a large motor vehicle as part of their job duties. If the driver is in an accident while on the job and suffers injuries, then the driver may be eligible to assert a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In cases where the accident happened due to another driver’s negligence, the injured worker could pursue a workers’ compensation claim with their employer, along with a third-party claim against the at-fault driver who caused the accident.
  • Assaults on the job – Some workers, such as nurses and doctors, face occupational hazards while they are at their jobs, such as possible assaults by patients or someone else. Altercations with customers or coworkers can also result in physical violence and injuries. If the worker suffers an injury due to assault, they may bring a claim for workers’ compensation benefits against their employer.
  • Defective or malfunctions office equipment – Most offices have a large amount of equipment that workers can use, including copy machines, chairs, and desks. When these pieces of equipment malfunction or break, and a worker suffers injuries, then the injured worker might file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. To file a claim, however, the accident must have happened while the worker was on the job.

If you suffered injuries while you were working, consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible about your accident and injuries. The experienced team of Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can determine if you can bring a claim for benefits and, if so, can assist you with promptly filing your claim.

A person who sustains injuries while working can typically collect workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident or how the accident happened. Workers’ compensation claims, therefore, are essentially no-fault claims.

The main requirements for an Arizona workers’ compensation claim are that the person suffered injuries or became ill while they were working at a job—and while within the scope of employment. In most instances, a person is working within the scope of employment if the worker is in the process of carrying out a job-related duty or responsibility.

However, workers’ compensation law does distinguish between employees and independent contractors. While an employee is entitled to make a workers’ compensation claim for an on-the-job injury or illness, an independent contractor is not entitled to make such a claim for benefits.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between true employees and independent contractors. From a tax standpoint, employees receive a W-2 form at the end of the tax year, while independent contractors receive a Form 1099 at tax time. In addition, employees usually have more supervision than independent contractors, while independent contractors have more discretion in their work times and duties. Independent contractors will also usually set their own work hours and may come and go as they please.

The skilled Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers understand the subtle differences between employees and independent contractors and can determine if you may file a claim for Arizona workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers who suffer illnesses or injuries while they are working at their jobs must ordinarily use the workers’ compensation system to go after their employer’s insurance company. The workers’ compensation system takes the place of filing a claim or lawsuit against your employer directly.

Although you cannot pursue compensation from your employer after a work-related accident, there are other third-party claims that you might bring. For example, if you were in a motor vehicle accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, and that accident occurred while you were on the job, you could assert a third-party claim against the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident.

Similarly, if you work on a construction site and suffered injuries in a construction accident, you might file a third-party claim against the general manager, general contractor, or project supervisor for failing to create a hazard-free and safe work environment.

In addition, if your injuries happened due to defective construction equipment, you might assert a third-party claim against a product manufacturer, designer, or distributor. This is because product manufacturers have a duty to properly manufacture and design products before making them available to the public for purchase.

In most cases, third-party claims are more valuable from a monetary perspective than workers’ compensation claims. However, in many instances, you might bring both a workers’ compensation action against your employer and a separate third-party action against some other person or entity to maximize your compensation.

The experienced Phoenix workers’ compensation attorneys at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine what, if any, third-party claims you might file arising from your workplace accident.

The amounts and types of workers’ compensation benefits that you might recover depend on:

  • The extent of your injuries
  • The cost of your medical treatment
  • The nature of the workplace accident

First of all, you might recover the costs of all related medical expenses that you had to incur because of your workplace injury. In addition, you might recover a portion of the wages that you lost if you can’t work. If you suffered extensive injuries in your accident that do not allow you to work in the same capacity or the same occupation, you might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits.

In addition, you might be eligible to pursue certain types of permanency benefits if a healthcare provider determines that you have suffered a permanent injury while you were working at your job. Your doctor will express your permanency using American Medical Association disability rating guidelines.

An experienced Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can determine the benefits that you are likely eligible to recover in your case. Your attorney could then file a claim seeking the benefits and monetary recovery that you need for your workplace accident and injuries.

You may take these steps on your own to increase your chances of recovering full benefits in a workers’ compensation claim.

  • Make sure that you start medical treatment as soon as possible after your accident, that you complete all of your medical treatment thoroughly (without missing or canceling medical appointments), and that you follow through with all recommendations from your medical providers.
  • Take good photographs that depict the injuries you sustained in your workplace accident, including cuts, bruises, and scars.
  • Be clear with healthcare providers about the symptoms you are experiencing and how long the symptoms are lasting.
  • Be clear with healthcare providers about your treatment history, including prior and subsequent injuries to similarly affected body parts.

An experienced Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney at Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can assist you throughout every step of the claims filing process and will connect you with all the resources you need to get you the benefits that you need and deserve for your workplace injury or illness.

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