Word on the street is that House Bill 2617, which would have allowed full and final settlement of Arizona workers comp claims, is essentially dead on arrival. A wide array of interests seem to have lined up against the bill, including the Industrial Commission - the state agency who oversees administration of on the job injury claims. Other opponents included many of the unions, trial lawyers, and the Arizona Medical Association.
While many of us who represent injured workers would have benefitted greatly from the much larger settlements that we could obtain, most of us were opposed to the bill. I personally feel that it is bad public policy for two reasons: (1) it places the burden of paying future medical expenses on taxpayers, instead of keeping it with the insurance carrier who has profited from the premiums paid; and (2) it takes advantage of injured workers at a time in their life where they may be very vulnerable and succeptible to making bad financial decisions.
Kudos to fellow work comp attorneys Daryl Engle, Steve Weiss, and the others who lobbied hard against the bill.
Chad T. Snow is an attorney who practices exclusively in the area of Arizona Workers Compensation. He has offices in Phoenix and Tucson and can be reached at the Snow, Carpio, and Weekley website or at (520) 647-9000 or (602) 532-0700.