How do I file a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona starts with reporting an injury to your company, through a supervisor, or if none is available, a co-worker. Do this either in person, or if necessary over the phone, shortly after the accident. You should make a record of the date and time and name of the person you talked to, for future reference if necessary.

After the accident, you should seek medical care as soon as practical, and explain to that medical provider how you got hurt on the job. They should then help you fill out a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury. That report of injury will go to the Industrial Commission, which will notify the appropriate insurance company for your employer that you have filed a workers’ compensation claim. While this is going on, your employer has the obligation to file an Employer’s Report, either substantiating your claim, or questioning your claim. The insurance company will be notified electronically approximately a week after you file the claim through the medical provider, and then they have 21 days to accept or deny the claim based upon their investigation, their contact with the employer, etc. If the insurance carrier denies the claim, then of course, you should seek legal assistance and at Taylor and Associates, we’re always here to give a free consultation.

There are 2 other kinds of claims that do not arise out of accidents.

One is what’s called a gradual injury, or repetitive motion claim. That arises, for example, if you have been doing a lot of heavy lifting, and gradually over a period of days your back starts hurting to the point where you need to see a doctor. There was no specific accident, just a gradual injury over a period of days. In that situation, you still need to tell your employer that you are having back problems and that you think it’s caused by the heavy lifting, and then you need to go to the doctor, and they will file a claim for you. More complicated gradual injury claims arise out of repetitive activities over many months, or even years, when problems like carpal tunnel develop. Under those circumstances you have the obligation to advise the employer as soon as you know that your problems are related to your repetitive motion activities on your job. That means a conversation between you and your doctor, and then the doctor should assist in filing a claim through the Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury. Thereafter, the normal processing will take place.

The last type of claim is an occupational disease claim, such as perhaps a breathing problem caused by some exposure at work. That may not be obvious to the employee until it becomes really significant, but then they have one year from the time they knew, or should have known of the relationship between the breathing problem and the work exposure to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Additionally, employees who believe they have sustained an on the job injury or illness can file a Worker’s Report of Injury directly with the Industrial Commission. That triggers the same sequence of events as a Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury filed through a doctor or a hospital. In the event that the injured worker finds it necessary to file a Worker’s Report of Injury, they should certainly consult an attorney to determine the correct path, timing, etc., because that is almost certainly going to be denied if it’s not part of a doctor’s report. Taylor and Associates is always available to advise injured workers as to how to file claims, and of course to represent them in the event the claim is denied.