Were you hurt on the job in Tucson, Pima County, or elsewhere in Arizona? You are certainly not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cites data showing that nearly 60,000 workers in Arizona missed time on the job due to a workplace injury or occupational disease in 2021 alone. For injured workers, a workers’ comp claim provides a much needed source of financial support.
What happens if your employer improperly fails to obtain workers’ comp insurance coverage? It is crucial that you know the law, know your rights, and know what options you have available to seek financial assistance. Here, our Tucson workers’ compensation lawyer provides an in-depth guide to uninsured employer claims in Arizona.
Know the Law: Virtually All Arizona Employers are Required to Get Workers’ Comp
As a starting point, it is crucial that all workers in Arizona know their rights: The Arizona workers’ compensation laws make it mandatory for employers to obtain no-fault insurance to provide benefits for employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. Your employer needs to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. If they fail to do so, they are in violation of state law and could face significant sanctions. As a person who was injured on the job while working for an unlawfully uninsured employer in Arizona, you have legal options available to get compensation.
Note: It is illegal for an employer in Arizona to try to get you—through pressure or payment—to resolve a work injury issue “off the books.” Further, Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statutes § 23-1501) strictly prohibits employers from discharging or in any manner discriminating against any employee who has claimed or attempted to claim workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer is trying to get you not to pursue a workers’ compensation claim—regardless of whether or not they have the proper insurance—you should consult with an experienced attorney right away.
Your Two Primary Options If Hurt while Working for an Uninsured Employer in Arizona
Your employer is supposed to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage—but what happens if they fail to do so? As a person who has been hurt on the job while working at an uninsured employer in Arizona, you have two main options available. Here is an overview:
- A Personal Injury Lawsuit: In Arizona, workers’ compensation insurance is generally an exclusive remedy. In effect, this means that you cannot sue your employer for a workplace injury. However, if your employer is uninsured, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Through this type of legal claim, you can seek damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic/non-economic damages. To be clear, the process will require you to prove that your employer was negligent and that this negligence caused your injury. You should be represented by an experienced Arizona work injury attorney.
- A Claim Through Special Fund: Beyond a potential personal injury claim directly against your uninsured employer, you may also be entitled to recover financial compensation in the form of workers’ comp benefits directly through our state’s Special Fund. Under Arizona law (A.R.S. § 23-907B), our state has set up a fund specifically designed to provide compensation for employees who are injured while working for an uninsured employer. The Special Fund can cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, similar to regular workers’ compensation. To file a claim through the Special Fund, it is necessary to complete and submit a Worker’s Report of Injury form to the Industrial Commission of Arizona. An experienced Arizona workers’ comp lawyer can help you navigate a claim.
Workers’ compensation claims are complicated. Navigating an uninsured employer claim can be especially challenging. You do not have to figure out the entire process alone. No matter the situation that you are dealing with, a top Arizona workers’ comp lawyer who has experienced fighting against uninsured employers will take action to protect your rights and your interests.
Set Up a Free Case Review WIth a Top Tucson Work Injury Attorney Today
At Snow, Carpio and Weekley, PLC, our Arizona workers’ compensation lawyers provide solutions-forward legal guidance and support to clients. If you have any questions or concerns about bringing a claim against an uninsured employer, we are here to help. Call us now at (877) 370-5788 or contact us online for your free, no obligation consultation. We provide workers’ comp representation in Tucson, Pima County, and throughout all of Arizona.