Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division
Andy Campbell, Chief Administrative Law Judge
Shelley Tolman, ALJ-in-Charge (Tucson)
|800 W Washington St, Phoenix AZ 85007||(602) 542-5241||(602) 542-4135|
|2675 East Broadway, Tucson AZ 85716||(520) 628-5188||(520) 628-5182|
These FAQs provide general information to help injured workers who are not represented by a lawyer. They are not intended to address every situation or every issue that may come up in the hearing process. This information should not be considered legal advice. There is an informational video entitled "A Guide to Workers' Compensation Hearings" on the Industrial Commission (hereafter "commission") website: https://www.azica.gov/alj-video-guide-page; or https://www.azica.gov/alj-video-guide-page-spanish (Spanish). The Industrial Commission website: https//www.azica.gov contains information and resources about the Commission, including information regarding Arizona’s Workers’ compensation system.
The Industrial Commission Ombudsman can provide information about the workers' compensation system and the hearing process. The Ombudsman does not give legal advice. The Ombudsman is located at the Commission offices in Phoenix. The phone number is: 602-542-4538. The Ombudsman’s office can be reached via email at [email protected], or [email protected]. A pamphlet with general information about Arizona workers’ compensation can be found here: https://www.azica.gov/claims-workers-compensation-general-information.
The defendants (the employer and insurance company) will have a lawyer. You can either hire a lawyer or represent yourself. Only a lawyer licensed in Arizona can give legal advice. A workers' compensation lawyer will be familiar with the laws, rules, and procedures, and can give you legal advice about how to present your case, what evidence you will need, what witnesses to call, and whether it is in your best interest to settle the case. For attorney referral services, see Frequently Used, Addresses, and Telephone Numbers below.
The State of Arizona does not appoint lawyers to represent injured workers. You cannot be represented by a spouse, family member, or friend. If you represent yourself, you will be expected to know the laws and rules that apply to your case.
If you are representing yourself, you need to become familiar with the laws and rules that apply to workers' compensation hearings. Arizona Workers' Compensation Laws are found in the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), §§ 23-101 through 23-1091; 23-1101 through 23-1105; and 23-1701 through 1703. They can be obtained online at https://www.azleg.gov/arsdetail/?title=23. The rules for hearings are in the Arizona Administrative Code (“A.C.C.”) R20-5-101 through R20-5-165; and R20-5-1301 through R20-5-1407. They can be obtained on line at https://apps.azsos.gov/public_services/Title_20/20-05.pdf and you can get copies of the laws and rules at the Commission offices in Phoenix or Tucson.
When a request for hearing is filed in your claim the Claims Division processes the request and then forwards your file electronically to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division, also known as the hearing division. The request for hearing is then referred to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A.R.S. § 23-941(C). The ALJ issues a Notice of Hearing with the date, time, and location of the hearing.
An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) is the judge who will decide your case. The ALJ will schedule the hearings, rule on motions, listen to testimony presented by you and any other witnesses, such as doctors or labor market consultants, review evidence, such as medical reports, apply the law to the facts of your case, and issue a written decision after the last hearing. ALJs are Arizona lawyers with at least five years' experience. They are appointed by the members of the Commission.
The initial hearing is usually scheduled about 90 days after the ALJ Division receives the file. This gives both sides time to prepare their cases. Most hearings are held by remote video conference through the Internet using the Google Meet application. The hearing will be recorded. The Notice of Hearing will provide information about how the hearing will be held, whether in person or through video conference, and will provide other information about the hearing. If a party does not have the equipment, technology, or means to participate in the hearing through Google Meet, the party must contact the ALJ Division at the phone number on the Notice of Hearing.
You should notify the ALJ what language you do understand as soon as possible. The Commission will hire an interpreter for the hearings. All written correspondence from the ALJ and the Commission will be in English.
You are required to notify the Claims Division, the ALJ, and the defendants if your address changes at any time during the hearing process. Filing a change of address with the post office does not meet this requirement. If you do not receive mail from the Commission because you have moved without notifying the ALJ, your case could be dismissed or you could lose valuable rights. A.A.C. R20-5-104. A change of address form is available by contacting the Claims Division or the Ombudsman.
Every case is different. Most cases require more than one hearing to complete. In many cases, at the initial hearing the ALJ will hear testimony from you and any non-expert witnesses. It may last 30 minutes, or less, or it could take several hours. Further hearings are held to take testimony from medical experts and/or labor market consultants. Scheduling further hearings depends on the availability of the experts. It can take weeks or even several months to get everyone scheduled.
Most hearings are held by remote video conference through the Internet using the Google Meet application. The hearing will be recorded. The Notice of Hearing will provide information about how the hearing will be held, whether in person or through video conference, and will provide other information about the hearing. If a party does not have the equipment, technology, or means to participate in the hearing through Google Meet, the party must contact the ALJ Division at the phone number on the Notice of Hearing.
Unless you are excused by the ALJ, you must attend all hearings. A.A.C. R20-5-149(A). The hearings are the only opportunity you have to question witnesses and present your case to the ALJ.
The ALJ may schedule a prehearing conference before the hearing to identify the issues, discuss possible witnesses, review procedures, and address other matters relevant to your case. A.A.C. R20-5-140. These conferences are routinely conducted via Google Meet, or telephone. If the conference is conducted telephonically, you must notify the ALJ of the telephone number at which you can be reached for the conference. If you fail to participate, the request for hearing could be dismissed.
Except in cases of emergency, all requests for changes in scheduling must be made in writing to the ALJ, with a copy to the defendants' lawyer. It may be uploaded via ICA Community, mailed or faxed to the ALJ Division (Phoenix: 602-542-4135 or Tucson: 520-628-5182). A.A.C. R20-5-156. You must say why you want the continuance (for example, to hire a lawyer or because you are ill), provide any paperwork that supports the request (such as a doctor's note), and explain how much time you need before the date of a rescheduled hearing. If you do not hear back from the ALJ, or your request is denied, you must participate in the hearing or prehearing conference as scheduled. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of the request for hearing.
If you decide you no longer want a hearing, you should inform the ALJ in writing as soon as possible by upload via ICA Community, fax, or mail.
Yes. You must give the defendants' lawyer a copy of anything you file with the ALJ. Uploading the document via ICA Community does not satisfy this requirement. You should indicate on your cover letter that you have sent a copy to defendants.
If you provide copies of medical records or other documents to defendants’ lawyer, do not assume that copies of those records are furnished to the ALJ. It is each party’s responsibility to determine the documents and records submitted in evidence and to file the records in evidence. You do not have to give copies of your correspondence with the defendants' lawyer to the ALJ.
Discovery is the process for exchanging information before the hearing. Discovery includes signing medical releases, attending depositions, and answering interrogatories. You are required to cooperate in the discovery process.
You are required to sign medical releases to allow the defendants to obtain medical records, tests, or other information from any doctor or health care provider who has seen or treated you in connection with your industrial injury. A.R.S. § 23-908(C); A.A.C. R20-5-131(G).
A deposition is an oral question-and-answer session. It is usually conducted at the lawyer's office, or by telephone. You must participate if you receive a Notice of Deposition. You can ask the defendants' lawyer to change the date or time, but the defendants' lawyer is not required to reset the deposition. Your answers will be under oath and recorded by a court reporter. The ALJ is not present. A.A.C. R20-5-142 and R20-5-143.
Interrogatories are written questions that you must answer in writing and under oath within ten days after they are served. The answers should be returned to the person who sent them (usually the defendants' lawyer), not the commission or the ALJ. A.A.C. R20-5-144.
If you believe the discovery request is improper, you can file a motion for protective order with the ALJ, asking to be excused. You must state your reasons for wanting to be excused, and send a copy of the motion to the defendants' lawyer. The ALJ will grant or deny the motion. If you are not excused and you fail to comply, the ALJ may impose sanctions, including dismissal of the request for hearing. A.A.C. R20-5-145; R20-5-157.
An IME is an examination with a doctor picked by the defendants. If you receive a Notice of IME, you must attend unless you are excused. You may file a motion for protective order, with a copy to the defendants' lawyer, stating your reason for wanting to be excused. You will not be excused because you do not like the doctor chosen by the defendants or because you believe your doctor has provided enough information to prove your claim. Failure to attend an IME can result in a request for hearing being dismissed and/or suspension of benefits. A.R.S. § 23-1026; A.A.C. R20-5-114.
The ALJ issues subpoenas for necessary witnesses. You may request subpoenas in writing for witnesses you want to testify at the hearing. Lay witnesses must be requested at least 10 days before the hearing (include their address). Medical witnesses must be requested at least 20 days before the hearing. The ALJ cannot make out-of-state witnesses participate in your hearing. A.A.C. R20-5-141.
The Commission does not charge a fee to issue subpoenas. The Commission pays medical witnesses requested by an injured worker a set fee for their participation. The party requesting a non-medical witness may be required to pay a witness fee and mileage.
No. It is your responsibility to obtain and file medical records that support your position. You must file them with the ALJ at least 25 days before the hearing. You must send copies to the defendants' lawyer. A.A.C. R20-5-155(A). Do not depend on the defendants' lawyer to submit your records.
You can file non-medical documents and records at least 15 days before the hearing. You must send copies to the defendants' lawyer. A.A.C. R20-5-155(B).
Most hearings are held remotely utilizing Google Meet. Hearings are sometimes held in person at hearing rooms at the Commission in Phoenix or Tucson. Outside of Phoenix and Tucson, hearings are held in hotels, government offices, or other facilities that have meeting rooms. The notice setting the hearing will set forth whether the hearing will be held remotely utilizing Google Meet, will be held in person at a specific location, or will be held in some other manner. You, the ALJ, and the defendants' lawyer will be present at the hearing. There may also be a representative of the employer, or the insurance carrier, who is allowed observe the hearings. Lay witnesses are usually asked to wait outside the hearing room, or to log out of the remote hearing, until they are called to testify.
The ALJ will start the initial hearing by introducing the case and identifying the issue(s). Since injured workers usually have the burden of proof, you will go first at the hearing The ALJ may ask you some preliminary questions. The defendants' lawyer can cross-examine you and your witnesses. You will have the opportunity to cross-examine defense witnesses.
Medical witness testimony is normally taken utilizing Google Meet, with the medical professional appearing telephonically or via videoconference. The parties normally appear remotely utilizing Google Meet and may be permitted to participate telephonically. You should review the notice setting the hearing and check with the ALJ's office if you are not sure whether you need to attend the hearing in person.
The hearing is your only opportunity to present evidence and prove your case. Bring any notes or papers you think you might need. You should think about what questions you want to ask and write them down before the hearing. Usually, after the last hearing, you will not be allowed to call additional witnesses or submit any additional documents or evidence into the record.
No. The hearing will be recorded digitally. The recording is uploaded into the ALJ record, normally within 2-3 business days after the hearing is held. The recording becomes part of your file. The Commission is required to order transcripts of hearings held if a party files a request for review. A.R.S. § 23-943(C). If a request for review is filed, a transcript is ordered and the transcript becomes part of your file.
The ALJ will issue a written decision (Decision Upon Hearing) usually within 30-60 days after the submission of the case. The submission of the case may be the day of the last hearing, or the date any post-hearing memoranda are submitted. A copy of the decision will be mailed to your address of record. A.R.S. § 23-942.
There is a paragraph at the end of the decision that sets forth your rights. You have 30 days after the date the decision is mailed to you to file a Request for Review. The ALJ will consider your request and the defendants' response, and then issue a written Decision Upon Review. If no interested party files a timely Request for Review, the Decision Upon Hearing becomes final. A.R.S. § 23-942(D).
There is a paragraph at the end of the decision that sets forth your rights and gives the address of the Arizona Court of Appeals. You have 30 days after the decision upon review is mailed to you to file a Petition for Special Action with the Court of Appeals. If you do not file a timely petition, the Decision Upon Review becomes final. A.R.S. § 23-943(H).
Frequently Used Addresses, Telephone Numbers, and Links to Resources
Industrial Commission of Arizona
Website homepage: http://www.azica.gov
Click here for information on Workers' Compensation.
Click here to see the video "A Guide to Workers' Compensation Hearings."
|Industrial Commission (Phoenix)
PO Box 19070
Phoenix AZ 85005-9070
Fax No.: 602-542-4135
|Industrial Commission (Tucson)
2675 E. Broadway Blvd
Tucson AZ 85716-5303
Fax No.: 520-628-5182
Industrial Commission Ombudsman’s Office
800 W Washington St
Phoenix AZ 85007-2903
Toll-Free Outside Maricopa County:
Maricopa County Lawyers Referral
Pima County Lawyers Referral
State Bar of Arizona (Phoenix)
4201 North 24th St. - Suite 200
Phoenix AZ 85016-6288
Toll-Free Outside Maricopa County:
State Bar of Arizona (Southern Office)
320 S. Convent Ave
Tucson AZ 85701-2215
Workers’ Compensation Specialists
State Bar Website: www.azbar.org
For Workers' Comp Specialists, click here
Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One
1501 W. Washington St
Phoenix AZ 85007-3235
Arizona Court of Appeals, Division Two
State Office Building
400 W. Congress St
Tucson AZ 85701-1352
The Industrial Commission complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Should you or anyone you are requesting for the hearing need special accommodation, contact the presiding ALJ’s office immediately.