Making Sense of Workers’ Compensation Law

Injuries and accidents are unfortunately common in the workplace, costing businesses billions of dollars every year. Workers pay an even higher personal price, suffering painful or debilitating injuries, permanent disabilities, and in some cases death. Your workplace has likely dealt with multiple workers’ compensation claims over the years; even those who have not yet gone through the process will probably face a workers’ compensation injury claim at some point in the future.

Making sense of workers’ compensation law in Washington State generally boils down to a few key things: businesses need to avoid expensive lawsuits that could hurt their bottom line or even shut them down. So when employees are injured, the Workers Compensation system – overseen and administered by the Department of Labor and Industries here in Washington State – acts as a kind of insurance policy against that outcome.  L&I pays for medical treatment and covers the costs of missed workdays so that workers don’t have to take their claims to court.

Workers’ compensation law was originally conceived as a “no fault” system, meaning that workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits no matter who is responsible for a job-related accident or injury. There are, however, some cases where this principle can be waived; for instance, if a worker injures herself due to drug or alcohol abuse, or if a worker intentionally inflicts and injury upon himself, he or she may be ineligible to file a claim. The precise number and nature of rules governing workers’ compensation law varies from state to state.

In many states, employees in particular lines of work are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This may include volunteers, domestic workers, contractors, farmers, consultants and others.  Oftentimes part-time employees do not qualify for benefits from work injuries either.  Workers are advised to consult with their employer and their attorney for full details, especially if they work in a dangerous position with a higher risk of workplace injury, occupational illness or death.

While the basic principles of this system may seem simple at first glance, the actual procedures for dealing with L&I and obtaining one’s full injury benefits and needed medical treatment can be overwhelming. Injured workers in Washington State must navigate through a complicated bureaucratic system where they are left to sort through hundreds of L&I regulations and forms, and locate the right contacts in the midst of thousands of administrators who are themselves bogged down by the complex demands of the process. Getting tangled up in the details of Workers’ Compensation statutes

lcan compromise your personal recovery and jeopardize your full financial compensation. The Washington L&I attorneys at Emery Reddy can give you the Workers Compensation expertise you need during every step of process, and help you receive the maximum benefits to which you are entitled in your L&I claim.

Emery Reddy