Q: If an employee sustains an injury while on the job can they chose not to file it with workers compensation?
I have an employee that was injured on the job but are refusing to allow the employer to file with workers compensation stating it was a preexisting condition and they are instead filing the claim with their own insurance. Can an employee turn down workers comp? Does this place additional liability on the company knowing the injury occurred while on the job?
A: The injured worker is not required to file a workers' compensation (WC) claim, and the employer does not have the authority to do so on the worker's behalf. There is no additional liability for the employer if no claim is filed, and the worker actually has up to one year from the date of the accident or knowledge of the injury to file a WC claim, so there is some uncertainty during that period of time. The worker should simply be informed that Arizona WC law recognizes aggravation injuries, when an accident or work activity worsens a pre-existing medical condition. The worker is entitled to medical and wage loss-disability benefits during any period of time that the aggravation continues and, depending on the nature of the pre-existing medical condition and the severity of the injury, that aggravation and benefits entitlement may be permanent.
We do not typically represent employers, but we are available to provide consultation and advice, at an hourly attorney fee. Please feel free to contact me at 602-687-9211 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your WC insurance company, for more information. Thank you
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