An L&I attorney will make sure your worker’s compensation claim is accepted and you get the correct benefits for your injury.
Unfortunately, dealing with the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) of Washington can be very stressful and time-consuming — many workers give up with the many obstacles they must face.
But, with an attorney, you can get through this process scot-free. Check out below 15 reasons why you need an attorney:
#1 Your employer is asking you to go to their doctor
A company-referred doctor is usually a red flag and can affect your worker’s compensation drastically.
Doctors your employer (either your boss or the HR department) recommends usually have their interests in mind, not yours. Unfortunately, many companies in areas where workplace injuries are frequent (such as construction) have ties with doctors that will downplay symptoms to decrease the compensation you deserve.
This is especially true of self-insured employers who use an insurance company instead of using L&I to provide workers’ compensation. These insurance companies aim to offer as low compensation as possible and have connections with doctors that will minimize the impact of your injuries.
So if your employer is insistent that you go to their doctor instead of letting you go to a health professional of your choice, be very wary. This might be the time to get the advice of a work injury lawyer.
#2 your employer wants you to get a desk job instead of filing for worker’s comp
To escape the premiums that need to be paid for L&I, many employers will “bribe” workers with a desk job or even a promotion so they don’t file for the workers’ compensation.
This can also be done to avoid a new hire and possibly be used to trick you later on. Stories of workers that were promised desk jobs and later on had to do intensive labor are unfortunately very common.
The thing is, worker’s compensation is a right you have as an injured worker. And when you sustain an injury, you should focus on healing instead of getting by with a desk job — or worse, being deceived into back-breaking labor later down the road.
Before you accept any promotion or desk job by your company, tell them that you’ll think about it. Then contact one of our L&I attorneys in Seattle to evaluate how you should handle this job offer and proceed with your worker’s compensation claim.
#3 Your L&I claim was rejected
This is where most people experience issues. They fill in their claim online, gather the medical documents but then receive a rejection letter. L&I didn’t deem your injury valid for compensation.
Many workers give up at this point. They think it’s no use going against the government to fight for their rights. But many claims are unlawfully rejected and we can evaluate your case for free to see what can be done.
Emery Reddy has been able to successfully reopen claims and get them paid out. Granted, it’s not always an easy process, so we recommend turning to our experienced team of attorneys sooner rather than later, to save yourself a lot of time, stress, and effort.
#4 You’re suffering from depression or burnout and need time off work
Depression, burnout, and other mental health issues aren’t taken very seriously by L&I or even Independent Medical Examination (IME) doctors, unfortunately.
As a whole, society still discriminates against people that suffer from mental health conditions, which can affect your rights to proper worker’s compensation such as a physical injury would get.
You need to know that if you have any mental health issue caused by your workplace, you have the legal right to worker’s compensation. It’s an injury just like any other and deserves the correct medical treatment for recovery.
Our lawyers are fully understanding of mental health issues and will have your back to get the worker’s compensation you deserve under the Law.
We won’t ever downplay your symptoms or feelings and will help you every step of the way to mental well-being.
#5 You’re having difficulties gathering evidence of your injury
For a successful claim, you’ll need evidence that your injury was sustained in the workplace. And many workers say they don’t have evidence — but that’s because they can’t identify what counts as evidence.
There are many pieces of data you can use as evidence in court and if you’re having difficulty gathering the right evidence, our worker’s compensation lawyers can help.
Sometimes to prove your claim you’ll need to ask your employer for certain documents, such as work hour reports, phone calls, etc.
By law, they need to send you those documents, but some employers can give you a tough time by stalling or never sending you the necessary documents and prevent you from filing your claim.
A lawyer can pressure your employer into handing in those documents in a timely manner.
#6 You don’t know if you’re eligible for a pension or a settlement
The rules for each L&I benefit you can get are complicated to understand and you might end up filling out your application incorrectly, or get less compensation than you’re entitled to.
In the case of worker’s compensation in Washington state, you can get either a pension, which is paid monthly for the rest of your life, or a settlement — a lump sum to cover medical expenses and wage losses.
There’s also Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), which is a one-time payment for a disability you got from work.
All these benefits can seem confusing and perhaps you don’t know which one you can get for your injury. Our lawyers will help identify the compensation you deserve for your health problem.
#7 The IME interview was fishy
The IME doctors can sometimes be rude and file a report that is unfavorable for you. Why this happens is a mystery, but some doctors like to simply complicate your access to workers’ compensation.
If you feel that the doctor was dismissive of your injury, didn’t listen to you, or even tried to downplay your injuries, that’s a red flag for problems down the road.
#8 You didn’t receive your benefits
Perhaps your claim was accepted, but you simply didn’t receive the money on the specified date.
If your employer is self-insured, that means you can earn compensation with a penalty for late fees. However, if it’s L&I that’s late, you should speak with a supervisor – our lawyers can help out.
#9 You aren’t receiving proper medical care
Some medical clinics unfortunately dismiss their L&I patients, favoring patients that are insured or paying out of pocket.
You deserve the proper level of treatment just like any other patient and the fact you’re on worker’s compensation shouldn’t affect that.
If you believe your medical clinic is treating you unfairly, a workers’ compensation lawyer should be on the case right away!
#10 Your injury was miscategorized
L&I has a rating system for injuries and depending on the rating you receive, the difference in the compensation can reach the 6-figures.
Sometimes, the doctor you file the claim with will diagnose you with a serious injury (6-figures compensation), but then the IME doctor downplays it to a smaller compensation as a less severe injury.
If you identify this miscategorization in the paperwork or think your injury was miscategorized, contact one of our lawyers immediately to appeal for you.
#11 Your attorney can work to find additional compensation
Most L&I attorneys only work with you and your employer to find an agreeable solution to compensation after a workplace injury.
What most people don’t realize, is that often there are additional claims from a third party that should be responsible for workers’ compensation as well.
For example, if an employee fell off a ladder and they were not properly secured, an attorney could look to see if there are additional claims for faulty equipment against the manufacturer of the ladder or the safety devices used to secure the worker
Emery Reddy works to find any and all third party claims to help you maximize your compensation and settlement amounts, contact an attorney today to get support for your claim. We’ve helped clients achieve larger settlements because we found third party claims that employees won’t find on their own.
#12 The insurance company of your employer is ignoring you
Unlike L&I, companies that are self-insured force you to work with their insurance staff.
And their job is to make your life miserable when filing a claim, in the hope that you’ll simply give up and let them keep their money.
Insurance companies have a vested interest in keeping their money, so if they aren’t being cooperative, a lawyer should intervene.
#13 There are errors in the L&I documents
Mistakes happen, and sometimes L&I will issue documents with a different rate than was agreed upon on the claim.
Or even mismatches in dates, times, your name or even your employer. You should never accept documents with errors by L&I since they can cause you headaches later on.
A lawyer is needed to appeal and rectify any mistakes.
#14 You got a lifelong disability from work
Patients that end up with a lifelong disability from their workplace usually have the toughest time making their claim.
That’s because these claims tend to involve the highest amount of compensation, and thus a lot of scrutiny from your employer, IME doctors, and L&I supervisors.
They’ll question incessantly if the disability is really from work and try to conjure up possible scenarios (such as playing soccer with your kid) that could have caused the injury instead.
Get the help of a lawyer to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
#15 You’re too stressed and fatigued from your injury to deal with all the paperwork
This is one of the main reasons you need a lawyer. You should focus on healing, not on filling stressful paperwork and wondering if the claim will be accepted.
Leave all the hard work and worry to legal professionals with over 15 years of experience in worker’s compensation. Call us now on the phone at the link below for a free case analysis: