Suing For Bad Faith in AZ Workers Comp Cases May Open Other Doors
To find out, we asked Charles Surrano, an Arizona attorney with 30 years experience and member of the Advocate Law Group network who specializes in bad faith litigation, and disability claims against insurance companies. According to Surrano, They dont know any better and often times the attorneys who practice in the arena of workers compensation dont understand bad faith or the Superior Court process. There are entirely different rules that apply to Superior Court versus the Industrial Commission. The attorneys who practice workers compensation for a living only know the rules that apply to the Industrial Commission.
They feel comfortable at the Industrial Commission and often dont feel comfortable practicing out of their element. So, a lot of these cases that have merit in terms of bad faith claims against insurance companies, never really make it out of the Industrial Commission because people either dont know any better or their attorneys are intimidated by the thought of practicing in a different venue.
Dos & Donts
What should an injured worker do if their insurance company wrongly denies a valid workers compensation claim? More importantly, what shouldnt they do? Surrano provided the following answers:
- File the claim in a timely manner or youre going to lose your claim for any benefits. So, the first thing they need to do is get a workers compensation attorney who practices in that area to help them with the actual claim.
- Think about whether you want your benefits to be derived from the workers compensation system, where they are severally limited by statute, or whether you want to explore the opportunity of a bad faith claim in Superior Court, where you have far more ample remedies and access to greater damages. You need to ask your workers compensation attorney, Do you know somebody who does bad faith? or Can we have a bad faith attorney help us on this case because I want to take it beyond the Industrial Commission?
- What you shouldnt do is nothing. Thats the easy answer. The worst thing you can do is nothing, especially in workers compensation cases because youre under very short time deadlines to file certain pleadings at the Industrial Commission.