Q: I was fired, rehired, had an OJI. The company says the rehire was a clerical error. Do I have to pay back for the OJI?
I had an agreement to return to work and not arbitrate original termination. I was injured when I returned, requiring surgery. Now the company says it was a clerical error that brought me back. I require another surgery, but the company says I never ACTUALLY returned to work. I was paid OJI indemnity payments, and medical bills. Do I have to pay the state back? Secondly, do I now have a personal injury claim for the injury I received when I went back to work?
A: Workers' compensation (WC) benefits in Arizona include payment for time lost from work and medical treatment related to an injury. The injury generally is, or should be, covered if you were doing something that benefitted the employer, in or related to the business of the employer, and at a time and in a place where the employer's work was usually done. I do not understand what you mean that you returned to work after being fired and then rehired, the second part of which the company now says was a mistake - a lawyer would need to know the specifics of the company where you were doing the work, your actual job and work assignment, and how you were injured. The fact that the insurance company apparently paid work injury benefits suggests there was no question you were working for the employer company [no information given to the insurance company by the "employer" that would have allowed the claim to be denied], regardless of what they now claim was an error bringing you back (for example, how would you have gotten into the job site if you were not rehired). I would not expect the insurance company to demand refunds for benefits paid but if there is a valid reason to deny the claim that was unknown to the insurance company when they paid you and your doctors before, they may legally be able to deny benefits going forward. Again, the details are important and you should contact an attorney for a more direct discussion.
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