Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rules for Employers Regarding Workers Compensation Coverage

Although our firm represents only injured workers, I'll give a little time to providing information for EMPLOYERS regarding their obligations with regard to work injuries and work comp coverage. 

Under the Arizona Workers Compensation Act, it is mandatory for employers to carry work injury coverage for their employees.  Workers compensation coverage can be purchased from any insurance carrier licensed by the State Department of Insurance to sell work comp policies in the state.  A list of eligible carriers can be found by contacting the Dept of Insurance at (800) 325-2548 or on their website. 

Some larger employers who meet certain stringent criteria set by the Industrial Commission can self insure themselves for all work injuries.  Employers are required to carry this coverage regardless of the number of employees they have, and even if their employees are minors, family members, aliens, or part time. 

Employers are also required to display in a conspicuous place in the workplace those bland signs that inform employees that the employer carries workers compensation coverage and of the employee's right to reject coverage if they so choose.  Frankly, I've worked in dozens of places and have now practiced workers compensation law for 12 years, and I've never read that sign in my office break room.  An employer cannot force its employees to opt out of the workers compensation system, nor can it have its employees pay even a part of the workers compensation premiums.

If an Employer is notified of an injury to one of its workers, it is required by law to provide the worker with certain information about the employer's insurance carrier, policy #, etc.  It is also required to notify the Industrial Commission within 10 days (although in practice that rarely happens).  If a fatal injury occurs, the Employer must notify the Industrial Commission as soon as possible "by telephone or telegraph".  I wonder if the ICA maintains an up to date telegraph in the event of such a reporting........

For more detailed information on Employer's Rights and Responsibilities in work comp claims, go to the ICA website page dedicated to such questions at http://www.ica.state.az.us/Claims/Forms/Claims_FAQs_WorkersCompensation.pdf

Chad T. Snow is a workers compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.  He can be reached at his offices at (602) 532-0700, (520) 647-9000, his website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley, or by telegraph at - just kidding, he doesn't have a telegraph. 

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