Some workplace injuries are more serious than others, putting you out of commission for a long time, or even permanently. What happens if you cannot return to work due to the injury you sustained on the job?
If you get hurt at work you need to tell your employer right away and start receiving medical care. It is also helpful to seek legal help early to know your rights. Workers’ comp attorneys know the best way to navigate the legal system and a good Phoenix workers compensation attorney can make the difference between a favorable outcome or an unsuccessful one.
Your doctor will evaluate you to determine the extent and seriousness of your injury. This will help determine if or when you are able to return to work.
If you are off of work for more than a week due to your injury, you should receive compensation for those lost wages. Your worker comp attorneys will tell you that these days do not have to be consecutive, but they should be backed up by your doctor. Again, getting expert legal help will make this claim process easier.
In the case that you are unable to work for two weeks or longer, you can claim lost wages for the first seven days of being off work. Your Phoenix workers compensation attorney can help you obtain this temporary compensation, which is 66 2/3% of your average monthly wage (often based on your earnings from the 30 days of work just before you were injured, but can, in appropriate instances be based upon a longer period).
In many cases, a doctor will determine that your condition will not improve, or will in fact worsen if you return to work. He or she will complete an assessment and decide if you have any permanent disabilities. If this is the result you may be eligible for permanent compensation.
In Arizona there are two types of permanent disabilities – scheduled and unscheduled. The question whether your injury is one or the other can be complex. Usually, injuries to an arm or leg or a part of either body part are treated as a scheduled injury. So is loss of sight in one eye, loss of hearing or facial disfigurement. These injuries are compensated based upon a schedule in the Arizona Workers’ Compensation Act. All injuries not on the schedule are treated as unscheduled. Further, based upon the Act and court decisions, scheduled disabilities can be converted to unscheduled injuries. Unscheduled injuries are compensated at the rate of 55% of an injured worker’s loss of earning capacity if there is a partial disability and 66-2/3% of the worker’s average monthly wage if totally disabled.
When your condition stabilizes your doctor should rate your permanent impairment. The rating is an important factor in determining the rate of your compensation for a scheduled injury. The doctor will usually use the American Medical Association Guide to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairments, however, this rating is not the end of the inquiry. There are arguments that can be made that the Guide doesn’t accurately assess permanent disability.
For unscheduled disabilities, factors such as work experience, work restrictions and job availability are considered. Also, some specific injuries and disabilities are deemed to be totally disabling.
If you believe you may not be able to return to your usual work, either temporarily or permanently, it is important to get assistance from a Phoenix workers compensation attorney. The legal help you receive can make a big difference in your case and your compensation.