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Workplace injuries are not uncommon. In most circumstances, individuals who sustain on-the-job injuries are able to receive workers’ compensation benefits that can include complete coverage of medical expenses as well as lost wages or disability. However, could an employer hold responsibility for a workplace injury?

In some circumstances, yes, an employer may be responsible for an injury. However, the workers’ compensation insurance system often prohibits individuals from filing claims directly against an employer. There are exceptions to this.

Is My Employer Responsible for My Injury?

Workers’ Compensation and the No-Fault System

The workers’ compensation insurance system in Arizona is a no-fault insurance system.

But what does this mean?

When an insurance system is “no-fault,” this means that individuals can receive compensation regardless of who caused the injury or illness. Even if a person is responsible for their own injury or illness in the workplace, they will still most likely be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Under the no-fault Arizona workers’ compensation insurance system, injured or ill employees will typically not be able to file a lawsuit against their employer to recover compensation for their losses. When they receive coverage of their medical bills and a portion of their lost wages through workers’ compensation, this is generally the extent of what they can recover. 

Pain and suffering damages are not available through the workers’ compensation insurance system.

When Could an Employer Hold Liability?

There are certainly times when an employer could hold liability for an injury, but that does not necessarily mean an employee will receive additional compensation for their injury or illness. As we mentioned, the no-fault insurance workers’ compensation system typically prevents an individual from filing a lawsuit against their employer. However, in the event the employer’s negligence led to the injury or illness occurring, an employee may be able to file a lawsuit against them in civil court.

A skilled workers’ compensation lawyer in Phoenix can examine the facts of your cases and the next steps moving forward. The role of an attorney in these situations will be to conduct a complete investigation into the claim in order to determine the extent of the employer’s negligence. Your lawyer can help uncover whether or not filing a civil personal injury lawsuit against the employer will be a viable option. 

Some examples of employer negligence can include:

  • Failing to provide adequate employee training
  • Failing to adequately maintain the work area or work tools
  • Overworking employees
  • Ignoring regulatory safety protocols
  • Allowing exposure to toxic chemicals or hazardous environments
  • Failing to control unsafe employee behaviors

Other Parties Could Also Hold Liability

There are situations where third parties could also hold liability for a workplace injury or illness. For example, if an employer regularly uses contractors or subcontractors, and the actions of those other contractors lead to a person sustaining A workplace injury or illness, the injury victim may be able to file a separate claim in civil court against the alleged negligent party.

Promptly Report Any Injury or Illness

Individuals who sustain workplace injuries or illnesses should report them to their employer as soon as possible. In the state of Arizona, workplace injuries should be reported to a supervisor or employer within 15 days. Prompt reporting of the injuries is required under the workers’ compensation law in Arizona, and failing to notify an employer of an injury or illness could result in a claim delay or denial.