Arizona Shelves Workers Comp Bill Until 2015 Session
A bill in Arizona that proposed to prohibit workers from filing workers comp lawsuits if they were denied workers comp payments has been shelved for one year, until 2015.
The proposed bill, HB 2455, passed the House Committee on Insurance and Retirement 4-3, and will advance to the Rules Committee. HB 2455 proposes to give exclusive jurisdiction of bad faith claims against workers comp companies to the Industrial Commission of Arizona. If the Industrial Commission determines that the workers comp insurance company denied an injured worker’s claim in bad faith, then the commission can award the employee up to $5,000 for personal losses, and $10,000 maximum to the state.
However, the bill began to stall in the legislature. Supporters of the legislation decided to shelve the workers comp bill due to extreme opposition from workers comp lawyers, the firefighters union, and others.
Currently, the Arizona State Industrial Commission decides workers comp claims. A ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court in the 1990’s allows workers to sue if they believe they have been unfairly denied workers comp coverage for on-the-job injuries, or if the workers comp claims have been delayed in bad faith.
Opponents of the bill are concerned regarding the limitation to any employee, whether public or private sector. Constitutional attorney Richard Langerman insists that all employees must have legal recourse to recoup their losses in any bad faith insurance suit.
“If they delay your payments and you lose your home, they don’t have to pay for the economic harm they caused you,” Langerman said about how HB 2455 would affect workers.
Employer Denies Worker’s Comp Benefits for Non-Legal Reasons
Your employer may not want to accept your work injury, especially if your injury is difficult to prove and requires you to seek legal assistance. Some job-related injuries employers may initially deny are from repetitive injuries, stress, mental conditions, and environmental conditions such as claims of toxic exposure.
Workers’ Comp Benefits Can Be Denied if Your Employer Claims:
- You intentionally injured yourself. This means the injuries were self-inflicted and will not be covered by workers’ compensation.
- Your work accident occurred while you were carrying out a serious crime.
- You weren’t on the job (or operating on behalf of your job) when the injury occurred. Ex. An accident while driving home from work would not be considered a job-related injury.
- Your work injury was a direct result of violating company policy.
- Your accident resulted from intoxication.
- You refuse a medical evaluation for the insurance company.
- You refuse recommended medical treatment.
- You did not notify your employer about your injury within 90 days of your accident.
However, sometimes employers attempt to deny workers comp coverage out of concern for rising insurance rates or financial impact on the company or its image. These are bad faith reasons to deny a workers comp claim.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina
The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.