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from our blog


August 26, 2014

Better Health Care Provided to AZ Workers

Recent reports indicate Arizona is one of the best employers concerning employee health benefits to workers. Workers in Arizona pay a smaller share of their overall bill compared to the majority of state workers anywhere else in the country. According to analysts, Arizona regularly conducts surveys to compare their benefits on the national stage. The […]

 

Businesses Trying to Outlaw Workers’ Compensation Bad Faith Cases

There is trouble brewing in Arizona for anyone injured on the job and who will be filing a workers’ compensation claim. You may lose your right to hold your workers’ compensation insurer accountable for unfair treatment.

Consumer rights attorneys, the insurance industry, and special business interest groups are currently locked in a heated battle in the Arizona Legislature over the insurance industry’s attempt to outlaw workers’ compensation bad faith lawsuits.

According to the bill, HB 2455 (which only applies to private-sector employees), the workers’ compensation laws would be changed to where mistreated workers would no longer be allowed to sue insurance companies that act in bad faith in civil court, but rather, all cases would have to be presented to the Arizona Industrial Commission instead.

Businesses and insurance companies are pushing very hard for this to pass to avoid accoutability for citizens suffering life-altering trauma due to the bad faith conduct of workers’ compensation insurers. If it does pass, mistreated Arizona workers will be left with no recourse and insurance companies will suffer small fines for egregious, unfair conduct. In other words, it will encourage bad faith conduct similar to what currently exists under ERISA.

According to Garrick Taylor, Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry vice president, “we strongly support (the bill). We believe bad-faith claims in workers’ compensation cases are best handled at the Industrial Commission, not in trial courts.”

Attorneys and citizens’ rights groups disagree almost unanimously, saying that these laws will prevent those with legitimate claims and serious health issues from suing workers’ compensation insurance companies for denial of benefits, which will make the situation worse for any injured worker with a serious claim and an unfair workers compensation insurer.

It is unknown whether this bill will pass, but anyone with an interest in the field of workers’ compensation ought to keep an ear to the ground. This has the potential to change a major portion of Arizona workers’ rights laws and to affect every Arizona worker.

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