What Are Your Rights for a Work Injury?
For workers in Washington State who are injured on the job, there are a number of options available to help you stay afloat financially during this trying time.
While, at times, your options may seem complicated, help exists to ensure you can secure what is owed.
If you’ve recently suffered a work injury, use this blog to explore your options for financial compensation, as well as a how-to guide for submitting a Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) claim.
Read on to get answers to your most pressing questions and to learn more about your rights following a work injury.
What Benefits Am I Eligible For?
As discussed above, Washington State workers who are injured on a job site or contract an occupational disease are candidates for workers’ compensation. Regardless of legal documentation status, all injured workers are eligible.
If you’ve been injured on a worksite, you may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Compensation for associated medical expenses
- Partial compensation for lost wages due to recovery from your work injury
- Disability compensation for your work injury, whether partial or total
- Job counseling and vocational training
- Opportunities for transitional work as your recover from your injury
However, before you can begin claiming these benefits, you need to seek medical attention immediately, alerting your doctor that you were involved in a workplace incident.
You must also notify your employer and be sure to record the names of any individuals or coworkers who saw the accident occur. This notation can help you later down the line as you pursue your claim.
While you technically have an entire year to apply for workers’ compensation (and two years for a work-related illness), you should start your application as soon as possible to ensure you can begin receiving your benefits immediately.
How Do I File a Workers Compensation Claim?
As a general note, navigating an L&I claim can be very complicated and stressful. If you need assistance throughout the process, you can always contact an L&I lawyer who can help guide you through the red tape.
Below, we break down the process for starting a work injury claim.
1. Get Medical Attention Immediately
The first step to filing a claim is documentation, so make a trip to the doctor immediately and alert them that you sustained a work injury.
2. Notify Your Employer
To preemptively stop any bottlenecks throughout the claim process, notify your employer about injury as soon as possible.
3. File a Claim
You have three options for filing your claim: by phone (877-561-3453), online, or at your doctor’s office.
Your injury claim will be officially filed once your doctor submits the necessary paperwork.
5. Receiving your L&I Benefits
Your work injury benefits will cover your necessary treatments and benefits. If you’re eligible for wage replacements or other financial restitution, those fees will be covered, as well.
6. Return to Work
You’ll be eligible to return to work once your doctor has cleared you to do so. In some cases, you may no longer be able to complete the demands of your previous position and will be placed in another role.
7. Claim Closed
Your claim will be closed when your doctors certifies that your treatment is complete and when L&I no longer receives documentation regarding additional needed treatment.
Should I Contact a Lawyer About my Work Injury?
In an ideal world, you would never have to contact an attorney about your work injury claim.
Unfortunately, there are a number of instances where it will be incredibly beneficial to both you and your family to have a lawyer on your side.
Below is a list of common occurrences that could impact your financial benefits from your work injury and how the L&I attorneys at Emery Reddy can solve these roadblocks.
If Your Employer Demands You Use a Company Doctor
If this happens to you after reporting your injury, contact an L&I lawyer immediately. While you’re welcome to use a company doctor, it is illegal for employers to force this usage. A lawyer will help you navigate this component of the process.
If You’re Overwhelmed by L&I Paperwork
As we discussed earlier, submitting an L&I claim is a complex process. To ensure you claim your owed benefits, we suggest reaching out to an attorney if the process ever seems overwhelming.
If You Encounter Unexpected Challenges
Hiring a lawyer provides you with an instant advocate. If you run into any roadblocks or challenges that feel insurmountable or simply not right, reach out to an attorney immediately.
If Your Claim is Rejected
It is within your rights to petition your rejection through a written letter within sixty days of receipt. If your claim is rejected, we highly suggest contacting an L&I attorney who can help you navigate this complex process.
If You Need to Protest a Closed L&I Case
If your claim is closed before treatment is complete, protesting can be complicated. In this instance, it’s in your best interest to retain a lawyer with experience handling the ins and outs of the L&I process.
At Emery Reddy, our clients’ best interests are our best interests. With decades’ worth of successful L&I claims litigation, we’re standing by to help you manage your work injury claim, regardless of where you are in the process.
Contact us today to receive a free consultation.