The Arizona workers’ compensation system means that today—unless they opt out of its coverage when they are hired—most workers do not need to file a workplace personal injury lawsuit to recover for workplace injuries.
Stone Rose Law represents Phoenix and other Arizona workers when they are hurt at work and the workers’ compensation bar against suing your employer does not apply. This rule does not apply when someone other than your employer or a co-employee injures you, or the injury was intentional.
If you believe that you may need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation for a workplace injury in Arizona, then call us at (480) 498-8998 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced workplace personal injury attorney.
Ordinarily, workers’ compensation is beneficial to employers and employees alike. Employees can collect workers’ compensation benefits for medical treatment for workplace injuries and work-related illnesses and medical conditions without having to sue their employers. Employers can rely on their workers’ compensation insurance company to avoid the risks inherent with being sued by their workers. Employees and employers have an incentive to work together instead of seeing each other as possible courtroom adversaries.
The state of Arizona also benefits from workers’ compensation laws. For most workplace accidents, workers’ compensation frees Arizona courts from having to consider employee personal injury lawsuits. This makes court resources more available for other important cases.
There are some situations, however, when a workers’ compensation claim is not enough and a work injury lawyer may be needed. We will consider these cases below.
Arizona workers’ compensation—like payment for medical care and wage loss benefits—is intended for employees, not contractors. If you are working as an independent contractor and suffer an on-the-job accident or other injury because of negligent or worse behavior of the company that hires you, then you may need to consider whether a personal injury lawsuit is in order.
Most Arizona employers participate in workers’ compensation. Still, although it is uncommon to work for a business that does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, some do not. In these cases, you can still receive compensation through Arizona’s workers’ compensation fund.
Even if your employer has workers comp insurance, if the conduct that caused harm to you at work was the result of intentional behavior then the ordinary exclusivity of the workers’ compensation remedy does not apply and you can sue your employer for it.
The kinds of relief Arizona workers can seek through personal injury lawsuits are in many ways the same that they can receive through workers’ compensation. These include:
The key difference between workers’ compensation recovery and personal injury claims is that in addition to the direct kinds of compensation you can seek above, like for medical expenses, you can also seek money damages for types of harm that workers comp does not cover.
These additional damages can be for pain and suffering that come from the work-related injury, and in particularly bad cases, such as malicious conduct, recovery of punitive damages can also be possible.
Sometimes someone other than your employer or a coworker can be the cause of work injuries. In this situation, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim, you might also have a legal claim against the third party who contributed to your harm.
For example, if you are driving a company vehicle during work hours and another driver collides with you and causes you injury, then workers’ compensation can benefit you because your injury was work-related. In addition, you might have a claim for negligence against the driver of the other vehicle.
Workers’ compensation claims and legal claims against people other than your employer are distinct causes of action. Each has its own requirements for you to meet. At Stone Rose Law, our personal injury attorneys can help you to pursue injury claims against third-party defendants.
Another worst-case possibility is that you become the surviving family member of a worker who has died because of a work-related injury.
The death of an employee while at work does not change the general rule that the employer cannot be sued except for intentional conduct on the part of the employer. However, similar to third-party claims above, if a third party (i.e. not an employee nor the employer) is at least partly responsible for the worker’s death, then a lawsuit for wrongful death or a survival action are possible remedies against that party.
Even though they can both arise from the death of an injured worker, wrongful death actions and survival actions are separate cases. For example, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit are the surviving relatives of the deceased. In a survival action, on the other hand, the plaintiff is the estate of the deceased person.
A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your possible legal options against third parties if you are the surviving relative of a worker who was killed while on the job.
Because in Arizona employment injury lawsuits are the exception to the workers’ compensation process, proving that you as an injured employee have a cause of action for personal injury if you were injured on the job can be challenging. This is where you can benefit from the help of an experienced workplace injury lawyer like the Phoenix work injury lawyers at Stone Rose Law.
Our legal team has seen some third-party carriers deny, unjustly delay, and attempt to reduce workers’ injury claims. A skilled Phoenix workplace injury lawyer, like one you’ll find in our offices, can protect you when you face opposition in attempting to obtain the compensation you need to cover the cost of your losses and pay for your recovery.
A workplace accident attorney can also help you determine if a third party can be held responsible for your injuries at work. Proving a third-party claim can be complex, as you must demonstrate that person’s fault. For example, claims are often filed against manufacturers of defective tools, careless subcontractors or general contractors, negligent property owners, and at-fault drivers who crash into company vehicles.
We cannot guarantee outcomes in Arizona personal injury cases. Nor can we guarantee how much an injured employee’s claim is worth.
What we can guarantee you is this:
Seeking compensation after a workplace injury can seem overwhelming, especially with denied workers compensation claims, but you do not have to go it alone. The Phoenix workplace injury attorneys at Stone Rose Law are ready to fight for you. Contact our law firm today at (480) 498-8998 or schedule a free case review online with an Arizona personal injury lawyer.