In Russell, the applicant sustained an alleged occupational injury to her right elbow as of January 26, 2018. This was the date the applicant saw a physician and received a corticosteroid injection in her elbow. The applicant testified at hearing that at this appointment, the physician told her that her elbow condition was work-related due to repetitive motion. The applicant then decided to “take care of it” herself and did not file a claim for compensation until she was told she needed surgery. The application filed her claim on March 7, 2019 – more than one year after the date of injury claimed. The ALJ found that the applicant knew or should have known she had an industrial injury no later than January 26, 2018 and only had until January 26, 2019 to file a claim. Because the applicant did not meet this deadline, the ALJ found the Industrial Commission of Arizona (“ICA”) did not have jurisdiction to decide if the claim was compensable.
The applicant then appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals (the “Court“) and argued that in January 2018, she could not file a claim because her injury was just tendonitis and a claim would have been inappropriate. The Court disagreed and affirmed the ALJ’s order.
A.R.S. § 23-1061(A) provides, in the absence of certain exceptions, an applicant has one year to file a worker’s compensation claim. The applicant here did not allege the existence of any exception. This statutory time limit applies to acute and gradual injuries alike. Nelson v. Indus. Comm’n, 134 Ariz. 369, 371 (1982). The year begins to run when the injury occurs or accrues. A.R.S. § 23-1061(A). An injury accrues “when the injury becomes manifest or when the claimant knows or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should know that the claimant has sustained a compensable injury.” Id. The ICA and the courts do not have jurisdiction to hear untimely filed claims. Id.
The Court concluded that the ALJ correctly found that the applicant knee her injury was related to her work activities as of January 26, 2018 and the March 2019 claim was clearly outside the one year filing deadline.
Russell v. Indus. Comm’n of Ariz., 2021 WL 244405 (Jan. 26, 2021).