My question involves workers compensation law for the state of: Arizona
I fractured 2 vertebrae in a wreck at work while driving a company truck. I have no memory of the 15-30 minutes before the accident and fragments afterwards. I was not cited for the wreck. The airbag did not deploy.
For over a month, my employer has been saying that the question as to whether this is a "workers compensation" claim is still pending investigation. During this time, since leaving the hospital, I have been able to see a doctor but not a pain management specialist. I was sent to a pain doctor who refused to take me as a patient until the status of my claim was resolved. My pain has not been under control and I was told by my employer to wait. After a week, I started to "complain" that I needed help with my pain and was told by my employer, "you may not know this but you can not sue for pain and suffering in a workers comp case". I advised this person that my concern was getting treatment for my pain above all else. Now they tell me I can see a pain specialist in 2 weeks.
Now that i have taken a step back to think about the mess that I am in, I have to wonder:
What happens to all of the medical bills, if the company says this isn't workers comp?
I know that "pain and suffering" isn't included in any workers comp settlement but what about this period of time that the claim is being "investigated for cause"?
If all goes well with my recovery and, as I hope, I can return to work, what should I expect from my employer? I have a job that requires a strong back (heavy lifting) from what I have been told, even if everything goes ok, I will not return to 100% my pre-accident self. Also, as a result of the accident, I am almost an inch shorter. Do employees ,under similiar situations, receive any sort of settlement? It never crossed my mind before but now that I am in this situation, is being permanently shorter due to an accident considered disfigurement? I realize it doesnt matter to anyone else but I was not tall before the accident and now I am even shorter.
I have tried to ask my employer, their benefits reps, and my union reps what to expect but have had little luck. Can anyone tell me anything about being out of work, on workers comp in Arizona? Thanks