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(206) 442-9106

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Workers’ Compensation Required for Taxi and Limo Businesses in 2012

Effective Jan. 1, 2012, all for-hire drivers in Washington will be required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Under Washington law, “for-hire vehicles” include taxis, cabulances, and limousines.

In Washington State, workers’ compensation insurance coverage is offered through L&I (the Department of Labor & Industries).

This new mandate regarding for-hire drivers was passed in the 2011 Washington Legislature’s House Bill 1367.

What do taxi drivers need to know about L&I claims?

Washington residents who are either owner-operators, or who own a “for-hire vehicle” driven by an employee are responsible for paying workers compensation insurance premiums and reporting workplace injuries directly to L&I.  The 2012 base premium rate has been set at 55 cents/hour.

Do I have to pay workers’ compensation premiums?

Yes. Businesses or self-employed drivers who fail to pay L&I premiums will have their for-hire certificates suspended – and potentially revoked – by the Department of Licensing.

Why do I have to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

Carrying workers compensation insurance will allow drivers of for-hire vehicles to file L&I claims and receive approved medical care and wage compensation if they are injured on the job or develop a work-related illness.  This coverage will also give vehicle owners protection from potential lawsuits by drivers who sustain an injury while operating that vehicle.

How do I sign up for Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

L&I is the agency that establishes workers’ compensation accounts for businesses.  Employers can expect a package in the mail including:

  • A Certificate of Coverage for each vehicle you own (this must be carried in each separate vehicle-for-hire).
  • Guidelines for how to report a workplace injury to L&I.
  • A schedule of your insurance rates.

Businesses that have not received these materials by January 31, 2012, should immediately contact L&I manager Ethan Shaefer at 360-902-4620, or ethan.shaefer@Lni.wa.gov.  You are also advised to consult an L&I attorney if you have a denied L&I claim or other disputes involving a workers compensation claim.

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Emery Reddy