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Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for employees who are injured in an accident. This system was first developed in Germany in the late 19th century and became established in the United States in the early 20th century. Before workers’ compensation insurance became available in America, the only recourse for the large number of employees injured in industrial accidents was to sue their employer.
As companies usually had the law on their side, employees seldom received any compensation for injuries sustained at work. As a result, however, the government was forced to pay higher amounts of welfare to stricken workers, so it established a system that protected employers from lawsuits while ensuring workers received a payment. This system has survived and is implemented in some form in all 50 states.
Arizona Workers’ Compensation Insurance
As in all other states, workers’ comp is statutory in Arizona. This means the rights of the employers, employees, and other parties are determined by the Arizona Constitution. By law, all employers that have at least one “regular employed” individual must have workers’ comp insurance to cover employees who are injured or killed while at work. If an employer is not big enough to self-insure, it can purchase the insurance from a private insurer. In the event that an employer does not have workers’ comp insurance, injured employees of that company are protected by a special fund at the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA).
Workplace Accidents That Lead to Injury
Accidents happen at work, and if you are injured while on the job, workers’ comp should cover the full cost of your recovery. Common accidents at work include tripping, falling, or injury due to an incident with machinery. You may not be covered if your injuries are self-inflicted or if you have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If your work duties result in an illness or you become sick through exposure to unsafe conditions at your place of employment, you will be covered by workers’ comp.
If you die due to an injury at work or occupational illness, your family will receive benefits.
Workers’ comp pays for medical treatment, such as hospital bills and doctors’ appointments. This insurance also reimburses you for travel time and the wages you lose while visiting the doctor or staying in a hospital. If you die because of an illness or injury sustained at work, your surviving dependents will receive various death benefits to compensate for the loss of earnings and will also have up to $5,000 worth of funeral expenses covered.
There are also income replacement benefits available, depending on your injury or illness and its severity:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
These benefits are paid monthly at around 66 percent of your average monthly wage when you can’t work temporarily due to injury or illness.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits
These benefits are paid when you can’t do your old job because of illness or injury, but you can work reduced hours. You can expect to receive 66 percent of the difference between the wages received before and after the injury.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits
If you are unable to work again, you will receive 75 percent of your actual monthly wage.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits
If you can no longer do your old job but can perform some labor, you will receive half your old monthly wage.
If you work in any Arizona location, such as Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Chandler, or Phoenix, workers’ comp should protect you if a work injury or work illness occurs as a direct result of your employment activities. For more information on how you are covered, visit a San Tan Insurance agent at our Gilbert insurance brokerage, and look for affordable family insurance while you are there.