Mesa Worker Compensation Lawyers
Have you been injured on the job? Then contact the Mesa worker compensation lawyers who will provide you with the guidance and excellent legal services you need to obtain compensation for your injuries. Each year thousands of workers suffer fatal injuries on the job, and millions of workers are injured and become ill as a direct result of their work environment. Hospital and doctor bills, days, weeks and months of being unable to work, and other losses can be recovered with the assistance of the right attorney at your side. Smith Alston has experienced attorneys who understand the various kinds of recovery actions that may be necessary when you suffer an injury or illness at work.
Many people think that if their injury is job-related, their only course of action is to file a workers’ compensation claim. While this may be true in some cases, there are often other areas to pursue, and other people and companies who may be liable to you. It is important that your attorney understand what workers’ compensation covers, how the system works, and who else might be liable to you for additional damages. The Smith Alston law team will work hard to investigate your claim, and to insure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, including filing a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf, as well as instituting actions, where applicable, against others who might be liable for your injuries.
What is workers’ compensation?
The workers’ compensation system can be a major benefit to employees who are injured on the job. As a general rule, it prohibits employees from starting lawsuits against their employer for injuries on the job. On the other hand, the system controls how much compensation the employee can receive through the workers’ compensation system. It works as a kind of “no fault” system for accidents on the job. In addition to accidents, the law covers injuries that may appear gradually, and for occupational diseases that result from exposure at the workplace or in connection with your work. There are a number of issues that must be examined in any workers’ compensation claim, including:
- The nature and extent of the injury;
- Whether the injury arose out of and in the course of your employment;
- Whether the injury was the result or an accident (or a gradual injury or an occupational disease);
- Whether the employer has fulfilled its responsibilities under the law, so as to prevent a lawsuit by the employee;
- Whether the claim was filed within the time specified under the law, or whether the filing of a late claim is permitted (usually it is not); and
- What are the damages sustained by the employee.
The Arizona workers’ compensation laws have been revised over time. The changes could affect your claim. So it is important to have a lawyer on your side who is familiar with the law governing injuries on the job.
What benefits does workers’ compensation provide?
There are a number of categories of benefits that may be available when you file a workers’ compensation claim. Unlike damages in a regular lawsuit, both the types of damages, and in many cases the amount, is governed by statute. In addition, you are not entitled to damages for “pain and suffering” in your Arizona workers’ compensation claim.
Here are some of the categories of benefits to which you might be entitled in your workers’ compensation claim, providing you meet the statutory requirements:
- Medical benefits: You are entitled to medical coverage for your injury, and this includes everything from an emergency room visit, to a hospital stay, to doctor visits, medicine and similar items.
- Wages: If you lose more than seven days of work, you are entitled to a portion of your lost wages. The wage benefit you receive is based upon your average monthly wage. You can challenge the amount recommended by your employer, but you bear the burden of showing that it is more than that proposed. There are also maximum limits on wage benefits, depending upon your work income.
- Disability: Where your injury results in permanent disability and lost time from work, there are several categories of disability that may be applicable. Temporary total disability concerns the time period, if any, during which the doctor says that you are not released to do any work. Statutory benefits are set at a percentage of your average monthly earnings. Temporary partial disability benefits cover any time in which the doctor says you are able to do some work, but during which you continue to be under a doctor’s care. Your benefit will be a percentage of the difference between your average monthly wage and the amount you are currently making. Permanent disability is the stage at which your injury is not expected to improve, and you may then be eligible for permanent disability benefits, which is ordinarily a percentage of permanent disability. Note that your employer (or the insurance carrier) can challenge the existence and amount of the disability.
The workers’ compensation system is fraught with pitfalls for the unwary, and the potential of losing your rights and your benefits is very real if you do not obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable Phoenix workplace injury lawyer.
Lawsuits against others for job-related injuries
It is not unusual for an accident to occur on the job, which leads to potential claims not only against your employer under the workers’ compensation laws, but also against other, non-employer parties who bear some of the responsibility for your injuries. If you are injured on the job, Smith Alston will leave no stone unturned when it investigates your claim, and this means discovering who else, apart from your employer, might be liable to you for your costs, damage, and pain and suffering. Remember that while pain and suffering are not compensable in a workers’ compensation claim, compensation may be available against others who might have contributed to your injury, or to the condition that caused it. Also, be aware that there are special rules, among then the length of time within which you may commence a lawsuit, which affect these third party claims.
Here are just a few examples of cases in which a claim against a non-employer third party might be available:
- Manufacturers and suppliers: If you are injured on a construction site, for example, and your injury was caused in part by defective equipment manufactured and/or supplied by persons or companies other than your employer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them, even while you pursue your workers’ compensation claim against your employer.
- Independent supervisors/managers: If the project on which you were injured was managed or supervised by an independent party, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that third party.
- Subcontractors: If you work for the owner of a project, or a subcontractor, you may have a claim against other subcontractor in the event you are injured on the job.
- Other drivers: If you are injured in an auto accident while driving for your job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim and also pursue a claim against the other driver or drivers for negligence in causing your injuries.
There are innumerable additional examples of situations where, even though you are pursuing your workers’ compensation remedies, you may also simultaneously pursue negligence claims against those other than your employer who might have contributed to your accident and your injury.
Job-related injury attorney in Mesa, AZ
Between the rules governing personal injury lawsuits, and the workers’ compensation laws, there are dangers that can adversely affect your ability to collect damages or other compensation for your work injury. Technical rules, details, and requirements must be adhered to so as not to lose your claim. The Smith Alston attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who understands the law governing these claims, and who always puts the interests of his clients first.