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.