L&I Attorneys - Labor & Industries in Washington - Washington Law Center (2024)

The injured worker has both rights and responsibilities. The responsibilities generally include following medical treatment recommendations and complying with requests made by the Department of Labor and Industries or Self-Insured Employers to return documentation or submit to examinations by (so-called) “Independent Medical Examiners.”

If the injured worker follows the rules, the following benefits may be obtained:

Injury Compensation Known as “Time-Loss”
Workers can expect to receive between 60% and 75% of their pre-injury wages, including the value of health insurance and other benefits during periods when the injured worker cannot return to full duty and the injured worker’s employer declines to accommodate medical restrictions. Workers’ compensation payments should start within 14 days of first medical treatment if an injured worker misses time from work due to the work-related injury. Thereafter, payment will be made every two weeks until the injured worker is rehabilitated and returns to work. If the worker cannot return to work without vocational retraining, this may be provided. If the injured worker would likely not benefit even from vocational retraining, an injury pension is then appropriate.

Medical Benefits
The injured worker receives 100% of causally-related and medically-necessary prosthetics, assistive devices, medical treatments and prescription drugs so long as these comport with Department of Labor and Industries’ published policies and standards. For instance, standard treatments are almost always available, whereas experimental therapies are normally denied (with exceptions). Medical providers may not properly bill an injured worker for ANY portion of medical treatment (the injured worker cannot be asked to make a “co-pay”). Even some travel expenses may be recoverable if the travel is to and from specific types of medical treatments or examinations.

Death Benefits
A lump sum of money and a provision for burial expenses are available if a worker dies, either immediately as a result of a work-related injury or even as a consequence of that injury. For instance, if the worker develops a fatal complication from surgery necessitated by a work-injury, the death is deemed to be consequential (therefore “compensable”). Survivors may receive on-going payments equal to a percentage of the decedent’s past income, increasing with direct relation to the number of children the deceased worker leaves behind.

Permanent Partial Disability
A permanent partial disability payment can be made in most Washington workers’ compensation cases where there has been a serious injury requiring more than a few days of recovery. If you’ve been denied a “PPD” payment at the time your claim is being closed, which should only happen once you’ve reached Maximum Medical Improvement (“MMI”), contact us immediately so that we can fight for the permanent disability benefits you deserve. Thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars may be available but will be forfeited if you do not timely fight for your rights as the Department of Labor and Industries or Self-Insured Employer is moving to close your claim.

Temporary Disability Payments
The worker receives benefits known as “time-loss” benefits during virtually all periods in which the worker has restrictions which are not accommodated by the employer of injury. These disability benefits continue until claim closure unless certain technical defenses apply. Among these technical defenses may be certain types of “discharge with cause” (e.g., being fired), voluntary withdrawal from the labor market (quitting a job for any reason not clearly related to following medical instructions resulting from the work-related injury) or being non-cooperative with necessary treatments, other rehabilitation efforts, or the Department of Labor and Industries’ orders to attend an Independent Medical Examination.

Change of Condition
If the injured worker’s circ*mstances change, such as if their employer of injury terminates their employment or health insurance benefits, or if there is otherwise a need for a new surgery subsequent to a period of prior rehabilitation, then the injured worker must be paid additional L&I benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation
Approximately $14,000 is set aside for tuition costs related to qualified retraining efforts. Workers’ are also paid time-loss benefits during up to two years’ worth of vocational retraining. Workers who do not wish to be retrained, for whatever reason, may instead elect something known as “Option 2,” which allows the worker to receive six (6) additional months of time-loss benefits and return to request more limited retraining budgets within the subsequent five years.

Injury Pensions
When an injured worker cannot return to work, even with the assistance of vocational retraining, due to a combination of the worker’s injuries, age, limited skills and other factors, then an injury pension is appropriate. An injury pension pays the injured worker time-loss benefits for the rest of the injured worker’s life, even including the years which are beyond full retirement age under the Social Security Act. Injury pensions very often result only after significant litigation, including jury trial, since these create a very large liability for the defense interests in an injury claim.

Video transcript: Injured Workers in Washington State

PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY SPENCER PARR: At Washington Law Center, we know our injured workers, we know the jobs that they do, and we understand how they’re injured. We’ve seen these cases time and time again across hundreds, sometimes literally thousands, of injured-workers cases over the many years we’ve been doing this.

For example, truckers. Truckers are injured in all kinds of ways. They get into car accidents because a car is driving crazy. They are professional drivers and this other car is darting in and out with no respect for how long it takes a truck to maneuver or to stop. They get into other types of accidents because the roads are just naturally dangerous. They have injuries when they’re loading freight, when they’re tying down, when they’re doing changes of tires, when equipment fails. They get injured walking across parking lots or in freight yards where there’s rough and uneven surfaces that cause them to slip and fall.

If you’re injured in any blue collar work particularly, at Washington Law Center we know the kind of injury you have suffered because we’ve represented those cases before. Call our experienced trial attorneys today. We can help fight for you.

L&I Attorneys - Labor & Industries in Washington - Washington Law Center (2024)
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