Were you hurt in the workplace in Arizona? You are certainly not alone. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that tens of thousands of workers are hurt on the job in the state each year. Following a work injury, you need compensation to pay bills and support your family. You may be wondering: Can you get workers’ comp benefits for pain and suffering? Unfortunately, in Arizona, the answer is no. However, injured workers may be eligible to claim compensation for pain and suffering in certain narrow circumstances. Here, our Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney explains the key things to understand about pain and suffering benefits for work injuries in Arizona.
No Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Pain and Suffering in Arizona
In Arizona, workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system designed to provide benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. All companies and organizations that employ people in the state are required to provide workers’ comp coverage. You can claim workers’ comp without proving negligence on the part of your employer. However, you cannot claim compensation for pain and suffering through a workers’ compensation claim in Arizona
Although pain and suffering are not compensable under Arizona’s workers’ compensation system, injured employees can still claim a variety of other benefits. Indeed, it is very important that any person seriously hurt on the job in Arizona files a workers’ comp claim in a timely manner. Be proactive. Make sure that you initiate your workers’ compensation claim right away. You can seek a wide array of benefits through a work injury claim in Arizona, including for:
- All necessary and reasonable medical treatment related to the work injury;
- Temporary disability benefits (either partial or total); and
- Permanent disability benefits (for those with lasting impairments)
When Workers May Be Able to Claim Compensation for Pain and Suffering: Three Exceptions
Although Arizona’s workers’ compensation system does not provide benefits for pain and suffering, there are three notable exceptions. Some injured workers may have a claim beyond a traditional workers’ compensation claim through which they can seek benefits for their pain and suffering and other types of non-economic damages. Here are three notable exceptions:
- Third-Party Liability: In some situations, a work-related injury or illness may be caused by the negligence of a third party, separate from the employee’s direct employer. Examples of third parties include equipment manufacturers, contractors, or property owners. In such cases, the injured employee may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible third party. To be clear, a third party liability claim is a fault-based case. You must prove that the third party’s negligence contributed to your work injuries. If successful, you may be awarded compensation for pain and suffering, as well as other damages not covered by workers’ compensation, such as emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Uninsured Employer: Employers in Arizona are generally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees in case of work-related injuries or illnesses. Unfortunately, not all employers in our state play by the rules. What happens If an employer fails to provide this coverage? They may face legal consequences, including penalties and fines. Beyond that, an injured employee can sue the employer directly in civil court for damages. In addition to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, the worker may be able to claim pain and suffering and other non-economic damages if they can prove the employer’s negligence contributed to the injury or illness.
- Wilful Misconduct: Under Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes § 23-1022), an injured worker may be entitled to recover compensation for pain and suffering in cases where an employer’s willful misconduct causes an employee’s injury or illness. To be clear, this is a very narrow exception. In Arizona, wilful misconduct goes far beyond gross negligence. Arizona courts define wilful misconduct to be intentional infliction of an injury on an employee. If you have questions about a wilful misconduct claim, contact an Arizona workers’ comp lawyer for help.
Contact Our Phoenix Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Snow, Carpio and Weekley, PLC, our Arizona workers’ compensation attorney is an experienced and effective advocate for injured workers. If you have any questions about securing the full available workers’ comp benefits, we can help. Call us (877) 370-5788 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation case review. We fight for the rights and interests of injured workers throughout Arizona, including in Tucson, Scottsdale, Lake Havasu, Mesa, and Chandler.