What happens if a worker in Arizona is injured while working for an employer who fails to carry workers compensation insurance? This actually happens in about 5-10% of our cases.
These "uninsured employer" cases are handled by the Special Fund Division - No Insurance Section of the Industrial Commission of Arizona. The SFD - NIS acts as if they were the carrier in these claims - they decide whether or not to accept the claim, whether to pay benefits, they pay medical bills and compensation - and then they go after the uninsured employer for reimbursement (plus a 10% fine for not carrying insurance.) The Special Fund is funded by a surcharge on all workers compensation premiums paid in the state. In the event that a dispute arises between an injured worker and the SFD - NIS, the latter is represented by an attorney from the Industrial Commission's Legal Division, which makes for an interesting conflict of interest having a case decided by an ALJ who is also an employee of the Industrial Commission.
So even if your employer doesn't carry workers compensation insurance, you still have all the rights and remedies as any other injured worker in Arizona.
Chad T. Snow is an attorney who handles workers compensation claims in Arizona. He is the founder of Snow, Carpio, and Weekely who can be reached at their Phoenix office at (602) 532-0700 and in the Tucson office at (520) 647-9000.