Showing posts with label INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION OF AZ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION OF AZ. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Hernias - Figueroa vs. The Industrial Commission of Arizona

Figueroa vs. The Industrial Commission of Arizona
By Nicholas Wearne, Attorney

Arizona has a statue designated to hernias and the statute is misunderstood by many defense attorneys, applicant attorneys, as well as several judges.  The law separates hernias into two different types.  Class 1 hernias, and Class 2 hernias.  Class 2 hernias are only covered in certain circumstances and the most you can get by way of monthly benefits is 2 months of compensation for a Class 2 hernia.

Most defense attorneys will tell you all hernias are Class 2 unless the hernia is the result of a stabbing or puncture wound.  They will expect you to jump though all the hoops that come along with Class 2 hernias.  There is a Arizona case referenced above that explains how the law should actually be interpreted.  All hernias are to be considered Class 1 unless the defense attorney and carrier can prove that there was a birth defect or preexisting weakness in the abdomen.  Class 1 hernias do not have all the stipulations that Class 2 hernias have.  There are no limits on how long you can receive monthly payments and not hoops to jump though.

Hernias injuries are unfortunately almost always denied due to carrier’s and defense attorney’s misunderstanding of the law.  If you have experienced a hernia injury and your claim is being denied, contact our office for a free consultation.

For more information on Workers' Compensation or Social Security Disability, please contact Snow, Carpio & Weekley toll-free at 855-325-4781 or visit our website at We serve the entire State of Arizona and have offices located in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Lake Havasu City.

Friday, September 15, 2017


By Attorney Dennis Kurth
Snow, Carpio & Weekley

Among workers’ compensation practitioners, the ALJ assigned to one’s case has always been an important factor in the attorney’s strategy and expectations. Over time, not even a long time, most ALJ’s tend, fairly or not, to get labeled as either friendly to one side or the other or prone to resolve certain issues by compromise rather than strictly following the evidence or law.  The administrative process for obtaining a different ALJ was archaic, awkward and grossly out of sync with the civil system.

A legislative change to the workers’ compensation statute in 2016, however, made a party’s entitlement to one change of ALJ a matter of right, aligning it more closely to the procedure in the civil system.

Before last year’s change, in order to get a change of ALJ, a party had to file, within thirty days of the ALJ assignment, an affidavit alleging that the assigned ALJ had a personal conflict of interest or was actually biased and prejudiced against them.  That  usually required the application of a bit of fiction which strained ethical boundaries as well as created an awkward dynamic with the particular ALJ that might, and often did, require consecutive affidavits for every case assigned to that particular ALJ or run the risk of retribution in a later case.

Although the fact that a particular ALJ had a propensity for ruling in favor of claimants or carriers would never constitute proof of actual bias and prejudice, the Chief ALJ had always considered the filing of the affidavit to be a sufficient basis to grant a change of ALJ anyway.

When finally the affidavit process became a weapon for defense attorneys to disqualify ALJ’s who wouldn’t grant continuances on hearings or other accommodations, the process was abused and the Chief ALJ had had enough.

In the new statute, each party is entitled to one change of ALJ as a matter of right if the notice of change is filed within thirty (30) days of the issuance of the notice of hearing.   (See A.R.S. §23-941(I)).  Additionally a party can still file an affidavit for change of ALJ for cause based on a listed conflict of interest or for bias and prejudice even after exercising their automatic strike. They will, however, have to be prepared to prove that the ALJ is conflicted or actually biased and prejudiced or the change of ALJ will not be granted.

The new procedure for changing ALJs is a welcome development that eliminates the fiction of alleging that an ALJ is actually biased and prejudiced and hopefully will smooth relations between workers’ compensation attorneys and ALJs in the long run.

For more information on Workers' Compensation or Social Security Disability, please contact Snow, Carpio & Weekley toll-free at 855-325-4781 or visit our website at We serve the entire State of Arizona and have offices located in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma and Lake Havasu City.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Letter from the Industrial Commission of Arizona, dated 03/06/15 Regarding Medical Care

The following letter has been put out to the Arizona Community regarding medical care.

If you have any questions regarding medical care, an injured worker's right to choose their own doctors or any other questions related to Workers' Compensation or Social Security Disability, please call out office at 855-325-4781 or visit our website at

The attorneys and staff at Snow, Carpio & Weekley are dedicated to serving the needs of injured workers and disabled members of our community and State.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Will the Industrial Commission of Arizona Enter the 21st Century?

When Will the Industrial Commission of Arizona
Enter the 21st Century?

An attorney friend of mine who practices in a different area of law asked me why our files are so thick and why we hadn't gone paperless like so many other law firms.  I answered that the problem is the Industrial Commission of Arizona is perpetually stuck in the 1970’s.  The Commission doesn't allow for electronic submission of claims.  We can’t submit evidence to the judges by e-filing – a practice that is MANDATORY in many other courts.  Everything must be submitted in paper form.  Some judges have moved into the 1990’s and will accept a FAX copy of a document as a submission.  I asked a judge why they don’t have e-mail and was told that the Commission has just convened a study group on how they could best implement E-MAIL! 

I’m assuming that by the time they actually get around to using e-mail, the rest of the world will have moved on to some other more advanced form of communication.  So hey, ICA – welcome to the 2000’s now that they’re over! 

Attorney Chad Snow is the Founding Partner of Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC. For a free consultation, please call our Phoenix office at 602-532-0700 or our Tucson office at 520-647-9000. For outlining areas, please call 855-325-4781 and speak with April to set up a telephonic consultation. For more information about Snow, Carpio & Weekley, please visit our website at

Monday, September 29, 2014

Use of the “Affidavit” in Arizona Work Comp Litigation

Generally speaking, the Administrative Law Judges who decide cases at the Industrial Commission of Arizona are very good.  They get the decision right more often than not.  Their decisions are usually well thought out.  And, for what the job pays, the Commission has been able to attract some very well-qualified lawyers to become judges.  One of the tools that a lawyer representing injured workers before the Industrial Commission has, is that of the “affidavit of bias and prejudice”.  This is a Rule of Procedure of the Industrial Commission that allows an attorney to ask that a case be reassigned to another judge “upon a showing of bias and prejudice” of the judge to whom it has been assigned.  In practice, no actual showing of real bias or prejudice has to be proven – the mere allegation is sufficient – and the case is reassigned with no questions asked.  This tactic is used quite often by a lot of workers compensation attorneys to avoid judges who they feel too frequently rule on one side or the other. 

In my practice, I very rarely use the Affidavit to change judges.  Very rarely I will think that a particular judge will not like my particular client or will remember a former ruling of a judge that was either very sympathetic or very antagonistic on a specific issue or with a specific expert witness.  But I think it should be the exception and not the rule.  Affidavits of Bias and Prejudice must be filed within 30 days of the issuance of the Notice of Hearing.  Make sure you file it timely or you’ll be stuck with the judge that you just called “biased and prejudiced”!

Attorney Chad Snow has handled thousands of Workers' Compensation claims in the State of Arizona. For a free consultation by Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC, please call 602-532-0700 for a consultation in our Phoenix office or 520-647-9000 for a consultation in our Tucson office. Consultations are also available over the phone with an attorney if you reside outside Maricopa County. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Most Common Safety Violations

I was trolling around the Industrial Commission Site and I cam across the 20 most common citations for safety. It's pretty interesting if you look at some of them because it is very easy to be in compliance and yet so expensive to have an accident.

Most cases that we see here in our office could have been prevented. Whether it's lack of fall protection that prevented the roofer from falling off a roof  or a simple Lock-Out/Tag-Out procedure that takes a few moments but can save somebody from being electrocuted or losing a finger.

Safety is so important. Both as an employer and an employee.

Here's the list for you to check out.
The 20 standards most frequently cited by ADOSH

Note: 1926 indicates a violation of a construction standard, 1910 a general industry standard.

Standard Description Citations

1910.1200 Hazard Communication 338

1910.305 Wiring methods, components 209

1910.157 Portable fire extinguishers 179

1910.134 Respiratory protection 138

1910.178 Powered industrial trucks 131

1910.303 Electrical, general requirements 131

1910.212 Machine guarding, general requirements 93

1910.215 Abrasive wheel machinery 86

1926.501 Duty to have fall protection 73

1910.179 Overhead and gantry cranes 72

1910.132 PPE, general requirements 63

1910.213 Woodworking machine guarding 62

1910.1030 Bloodborne pathogens 59

1904.01 Recordkeeping 52

1910.22 Housekeeping 49

1910.219 Power transmission guarding 47

1904.32 Annual summary, 300 log 46

1926.451 Scaffolding, general requirements 46

1910.23 Floor/wall opening guarding 44

1910.37 Exit route maintenance 39

Now, as a previous business owner and employer, I can tell you that there are a few items on this list that require little/no effort. For example; PPE (general requirements), that means Personal Protection Equipment and is referring to safety devices for your employees such as safety glasses to protect eyes, ear plugs to preserve hearing, gloves to protect hands from materials and/or equipment and also the red vests that should be worn if your employees are in an area where there is forklift activity so they will stand out and the forklift driver can easily identify and see them. These very inexpensive items all flow into the PPE area and there is no reason why an employee should not be providing these safety tools for their employees. The citation fine is probably 5x the amount they would have spent in the first place.

Another example would be the Annual Summary. There is no fee associated with this unless you employ a full time Safety Director, in which case this should be a simple task that he/she should be completing as part of their job. But on the norm, for small-mid size companies, the owners are probable handling this task and it doesn't cost you a penny to complete your OSHA 300 log. Yes, it takes a little bit of time but, if you are recording everything as it happens through the year, it's a very easy and simple task to complete.

Employers need to get out of the mindset that ADOSH and other safety entities are here to make their lives more difficult and instead understand they are around to ensure the safety of the employees. I remember having a sinking feeling every time they would walk through the door because I knew it would mean some sort of fine or write-up; but in retrospect, they weren't that difficult to deal with and most of the things we needed to bring up to par were very simple things that because we did not stay on task, it cost us in both time and money.

For employees; I know that the biggest complaint I used to get from my manufacturing employees was that it was too hot to wear the safety glasses in the summer and that the gloves made it hard to grip sometimes. But in the end, these Personal Protection Equipment and devices are put in place to ensure your safety.

I can tell you from my experience working here at the Snow and Carpio Law Firm over the last 2 years that most of our clients would love to go back to when their injury happened and rewind for just 2 second so they could have a do-over and not get injured. Whether it's a minor injury that does not result in loss of time at work or a major incident that leaves a person unable to return to their job and even their career; not one of them would give up the chance to go back and have that accident and injury go away.

So take a look around you and see if there are safety issues. whether you are an employer or an employee, point things out, make sure to talk about safety.

If you are injured or know of somebody who has been injured; the attorneys at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley PLC are glad to sit down and speak to you at no cost about your case. For more information regarding this topic or general questions regarding a Workers' Compensation Claim, you may reach Chad Snow and the firm of Snow and Carpio, PLC at 602-532-0700 or 520-647-9000.

In the absence of Attorney Chad Snow, blog posted today by: April Lang-Snow, Business Manager @ Snow and Carpio, PLC.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The Industrial Commission of Arizona released it's 2010 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. While no report is "great" until we can read about zero fatalities for the year, it was especially nice to read that workplace fatalities were down in 2010 over 2009.

Also identified in the data were Arizona’s three leading causes of work-related fatalities in 2010.

They were:

• Transportation fatalities, which include highway, pedestrian, rail and aircraft accidents;
• Assaults and violent acts;
• Falls

There were approximately 3.13 deaths in Arizona for every 100,000 workers in the state’s workforce in 2010.

For the employers out there; Workplace fatalities can be avoided. There are many resources to assist you with workplace safety and employee training. There are companies you can hire to come in, evaluate and implement a safety program if you don't have the time. And/or there are informative safety libraries that can be purchased for monthly safety meeting with your employees. Keeping your employees trained and your workplace free of safety hazards will save you money in the long run and the potential loss of employees due to injury or death.

For employees; Survey your surroundings and don't rely on somebody else to provide your safety zone. Look around, make sure you are aware of both present and potential dangers and if you find some, REPORT THEM TO YOUR SUPERVISOR IMMEDIATLY. Your work has an obligation to correct the issue before anybody gets hurt. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times and most accidents can be prevented.
If you have been injured, consult an attorney who specializes in Workers' Compensation Law (I can recommend a great firm!) so that you can make sure you are receiving all benefits you are entitled to.
Chad T. Snow and his associates at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley are workers compensation attorneys in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.  He can be reached at his offices at (602) 532-0700, (520) 647-9000.
In the absence of Chad Snow, blog posted by: April Lang-Snow, Business Manager @ Snow and Carpio, PLC

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Affidaviting Judges at ICA

A new workers comp attorney recently asked about the rule that allows a peremptory strike of a judge assigned to an Arizona work comp claim. Rule. Allows you to "Strike" a judge and ask for a new one upon a showing of "bias and prejudice". No actual evidence of bias is required. Earlier in my career I used to regularly affidavit judges who I thought had rendered bad decisions - I guess I thought it would punish them!!!
I've learned with time that all of the judges at the ICA are generally very fair and striking them doesn't really accomplish anything. Occasionally I'll remember that a certain judge doesn't like a certain doctor or I'll have a client who I think will rub a certain judge the wrong way and I may in very limited circumstances affidavit them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Industrial Commission Ombudsman for Injured Workers in Arizona

Many injured workers are not aware that the Industrial Commission of Arizona has an Ombudsman to answer general questions about work injuries in Arizona.  The Ombudsman can direct injured workers to forms, services, and procedures at the Industrial Commission, but cannot give legal advice.  The Ombudsman helps over 6,000 injured workers a year and can be reached at (602) 542-4538 or (800) 544-6488. 

While the Ombudsman can be very helpful with general information, they cannot give any legal advice or inform injured workers about their options with regard to medical treatment or settlement of their claims.  If you have questions about your work injury, you should contact an attorney who practices Workers Compensation.  At Snow & Carpio, we offer a free consultation, and are always glad to meet with injured workers even if they don't need our services to apprise them of their rights.  We can be reached at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley or (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000 in Northern Arizona. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Industrial Commission of Arizona Claims Seminar

This Thursday and Friday, August 11th and 12th, the Industrial Commission of Arizona will hold their annual claims seminar.  The seminar will be held at the Wigwam Resort and Spa in West Phoenix.  The Thursday schedule is filled with presentations by Industrial Commission employees on issues including claims processing, notifications, average monthly wage, and the administrative hearing process.  The second day is dedicated to discussing new legislative and judicial developments in the area of Arizona workers compensation law. 

The claims seminar is informative for people just entering the workers compensation field and has good information for legal support staff, medical office staff, claims representatives, and anyone who works with or around injured workers.  More information can be found on the Industrial Commission's web page at

Chad T. Snow is a worker comp attorney in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.  He can be reached through his firm web site at Snow, Carpio, Weekley or by e-mail at 

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

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. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And You Thought YOU Got Screwed in Your Comp Claim?

Jason Schecterle - Before and After Accident

I recently came across an article in my favorite newspaper, the New Times, that made me chuckle as an Arizona Workers Compensation attorney.  It had to do with the work injury claim of one of Arizona's most beloved heroes, Jason Schecterle.  For those who have lived here a while, you'll remember Schecterle as the Phoenix Police officer who sustained FOURTH degree burns over most of his body when his Crown Vic police cruiser was rear ended in 2001.  He was burned beyond recognition and has undergone over 50 surgeries to recover from his horrific injuries. 

However, a recent Findings and Award issued by the Industrial Commission of Arizona stated that "information in your file indicates that your injury is not affecting your earning ability at this time" and that "no permanent work restrictions (are) noted."  Then comes the bureaucratic kick in the crotch:  "there are no medical contraindications which would preclude you from returning to the same or similar work, thereby sustaining no loss of earning capacity."  Those of us who receive these Awards regularly can only chuckle! 

Remarkably, Schecterle had returned in 2005 as a limited duty detective for the department's homicide unit where he worked on dozens of murder cases in spite of his monumental physical limitations.  However, after 18 months, he had to retire because of his diminished eyesight and the toll that working was taking on his body. 

To her credit, ICA Director Laura McGrory, who is a fantastic Director as well as person, is personally working to correct the mistake, calling it a good "teaching moment" for her staff. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers compensation attorney in Phoenix and Tucson Arizona.  He and his associates at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley can be reached anytime for questions about Arizona work injuries at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Industrial Commission of Arizona Claims System Down

The Industrial Commission of Arizona, the state agency charged with administering disputes in workers compensation claims and various claims procedures, has announced that their computer system will be temporarily unavailable on June 23rd and 24th for a computer system update.  The claims system and optical disk system should be back up and running on Monday June 27th. 

The Claims Division handles processing of on the job injury claims, notifies employer's insurance carriers, sets average monthly wage in claims, processes requests of injured workers to change doctors or leave the state, and determines the amount of permanent compensation an injured worker receives. 

Chad T. Snow is a workers compensation attorney in Arizona with offices in Phoenix and Tucson.  He can be reached through his website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are You Confused About Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim in Arizona?

You should never be reluctant to report an injury that you suffered while on the job. In fact, Arizona's Workers' Compensation Law requires that workers who sustain an on-the-job injury "forthwith report" their injury to their employer. "Forthwith" means that as soon as you realize you have an injury that may be related to your work, you must report it to a supervisor or manager immediately.

Arizona's "no fault" system means that it does not matter how or why you were seriously injured. No one can be blamed for your accident. Even if you placed yourself in harm's way during a work day and were hurt because of it, this aspect of your case is irrelevant under state law.

Still, you should report your work injury to your employer as soon as possible. Failure to "forthwith report" an on-the-job injury can result in the insurance company denying liability for your injuries.

Inform Your Employer of Your Serious Injury — Then Inform Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Another reason it is important to report your injury and file an Arizona workers' compensation claim as soon as possible: It generally takes about 30 days to receive an initial determination of the insurance carrier's acceptance or denial of a claim. Your claim may be filed directly with the Industrial Commission of Arizona, or your attending physician or hospital will do so. They are required to report any industrial accidents to our state's Industrial Commission.Once your serious injury has been reported, we can start the hard work of investigating the details of your accident and strive for the results you need.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What is the Industrial Commission of Arizona?

The Industrial Commission of Arizona is a state administrative agency that oversees work injuries, occupational safety, labor rights, and several other functions related to labor.  The Commission is led by five "commissioners" appointed by the governor to staggered five year terms.  The Director of the ICA, currently Laura McGrory, is responsible for the day to day operations of the Commission. 

With regard to administration of workers compensation claims, the Commission has several important Divisions. 

1.  The Special Fund Division is responsible for processing all claims by injured workers against non-insured employers.  The Special Fund also provides vocational rehabilitation in some cases and indemnifies carriers in second injury cases.
2.  The Claims Division - handles various claims processing functions such as determining Average Monthly Wage, ruling on Petitions for Change of Doctor, and Findings and Awards in cases of Permanent Disability.  Claims Division can be reached at (602) 542-4661
3.  Administrative Law Judge Division - ALJ's decide contested cases dealing with the Workers Compensation Act (and OSHA citations also).   ALJ Division can be reached at (602) 542-5241

Chad T. Snow is an attorney with Snow, Carpio, and Weekley who handles exclusively workers compensation claims in Arizona.  He has offices in Phoenix and Tucson and can be found at the Industrial Commission just about every day.  He has handled over 5,000 hearings at the ICA.  He can be reached at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000.