Court weighs in on waiting period for temporary compensation entitlement

Bell v. Industrial Commission, Court of Appeals, Division One, Published Opinion, Filed 1/30/14.

The issue in this appeal was whether the “waiting period” for payment of temporary total disability benefits established by A.R.S. § 23-1062(B) was satisfied.  The Applicant was injured on Feb. 24, 2010.  She was not placed on an off-work status and returned to work.  On various occasions over the next 17 months, she missed some time from work attending medical appointments, which she claimed accumulated to more than seven (7) days. She utilized her sick leave and vacation time. On July 8, 2011, she was placed on an off-work status so that she could have surgery. She requested a hearing contending she was due indemnity benefits from her date of injury through July 7, 2011. The administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled she was not entitled to indemnity benefits because her injury did not cause “total disability for more than seven days” as required by A.R.S. § 23-1062(B).

On appeal, all parties agreed that A.R.S. §23-1062(B) was the controlling statute. Two issues were addressed by the Court of Appeals.  First, the Court held the seven-day “waiting period” for eligibility of indemnity benefits must be satisfied by temporary total disability rather than temporary partial disability.  Second, it held the waiting period must be satisfied by temporary total disability on consecutive days.

The outcome of this case may have been different had the parties not stipulated regarding the controlling statute. Therefore, its application is quite limited. If you have questions, please contact your legal liaison.

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