Seattle L&I And Workers’ Comp Washington State Attorneys

Seattle L&I And Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

At Emery | Reddy, we know how difficult it can be for work injury victims and their families during this time. We are committed to supporting our clients throughout the legal process in order to provide the peace of mind necessary for a full recovery. Contact our award-winning Seattle L&I attorneys today to learn more.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to injured workers. In Washington state, it is handled by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), a state agency that oversees distributing workers’ compensation benefits to employees who are injured at work or contract an illness from their job. Virtually all workers in Washington state have workers’ compensation coverage.

Does Washington State Have Workers’ Compensation?

Washington state law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation coverage. This law is under the program of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

Workers’ Compensation 101: Know Your Rights Video Explainers

Workers Compensation 101: Know Your Rights FAQ

By law, most employers in Washington state must acquire workers’ compensation for their employees from L&I. However, some exceptions exist, such as self-insured employers or part of a larger self-insurance program

How Does Workers’ Comp Work in Washington State?

To be eligible to file for workers’ comp in Washington state, an employee must report any job-related injury or illness to their employer within thirty days. The employer should then report to the L&I within five days. After reviewing the claim, L&I will determine if the employee is eligible.

The process of Workers’ Comp in Washington state is as follows:

  1. Report the injury or illness: you must report the incident to your employer within 30 days.
  2. Seek medical attention: when seeking medical attention, ask your employer if they have any affiliated healthcare providers you must use.
  3. File a claim: your employer must file the claim with the L&I within five days. If they fail to do so, you may file yourself directly.
  4. Review: L&I will investigate the claim and may request additional information and documentation to determine your eligibility.
  5. Receive Benefits: if approved, you will receive compensation such as, but not limited to, coverage for your medical treatment.
  6. Vocational Rehabilitation: this may help you return to work or find new employment if you cannot return to your previous job due to your injury or illness.

Workers’ compensation in Washington state has some unique features compared to other states, such as it is one of a few that offer time-loss benefits to employees who miss work due to exposure to an infectious disease.

How Much Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance In Washington State?

The cost of a worker’s compensation claim in Washington state depends on several factors, such as the size and nature of the business, the industry, the risk involved in the job, and the employer’s claim history.

Workers’ compensation will give you a percentage of your average weekly wage. To compute how much you may receive, divide your salary from the previous year by the number of days worked and multiply it by 260 (the number of days a full-time employee would work in a year). Lastly, divide the product by the total number of weeks in a year, 52, to get your average weekly wage.

If you earned $50,000 the previous year, working 242 days, that will come up to $206.62 daily wage. Multiplying that by 260 days will produce $53,718.05. Then, the weekly average after dividing by 52 will be $1,033.05.

Visit our L&I Settlement Calculator to learn more about the computation of workers’ compensation claims and wage replacement settlements.

Workers’ Comp Washington State Coverage

Workers’ compensation coverage is a type of insurance that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their job. Several types of benefits are part of the workers’ compensation coverage.

  1. Medical care: workers’ compensation will cover any necessary medical care and expenses resulting from the injury or illness.
  2. Wage replacement: during time away from work due to an injury or sickness, workers’ compensation will offer a partial wage replacement.
  3. Job retraining: If an employee cannot return to their prior position due to an injury or illness, workers’ compensation may offer retraining in a particular occupation to assist the employee in adjusting to a new position.
  4. Permanent Partial Disability settlements: any permanent partial disability incurred may be covered under workers’ compensation.
  5. Death benefits: workers’ compensation may be able to cover a worker’s dependents’ costs if they pass away due to an occupational illness or accident.

Workers’ Compensation Requirements In Washington

  1. Coverage: all employers in Washington state must provide workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer cannot acquire coverage through private insurance, a state fund offered by the L&I can provide coverage for their employees.
  2. Reporting requirements: employers should report any work-related injury or illness to L&I within five days of the incident to avoid penalties and fines.
  3. Premiums: employers are responsible for paying their workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
  4. Exemptions: some workers, such as sole proprietors and partners, are exempt from workers’ compensation insurance requirements. However, they should still provide coverage for the employees that they hire.
  5. Non-compliance: employers can be fined, penalized, or even face legal action if they fail to comply with Washington state’s workers’ compensation requirements. Why Do Employers Fight Workers’ Comp Claims?

Small Business Insurance Liability

Small businesses can purchase different insurance policies to protect themselves from financial losses resulting from lawsuits, damages, and other liabilities. Aside from workers’ compensation insurance, small business owners can also consider purchasing other insurance policies from private insurance.

  1. General liability insurance: general liability insurance covers lawsuits and claims related to bodily injury, property damage, and advertising injury.
  2. Professional liability insurance: errors and omissions insurance covers lawsuits and claims related to professional negligence.
  3. Cyber liability insurance: this type of insurance covers losses caused by cyber-attacks, data breaches, and other cyber risks.

Do You Need Workers’ Comp If You Are Self-Employed?

Self-employed individuals and sole proprietors without employees are not required to purchase workers’ comp in Washington state. However, you can still purchase workers’ compensation for yourself to get coverage for medical expenses and lost income.

Any employee you hire, including part-time employees, is entitled to workers’ compensation. Independent contractors are an exception since they are not considered employees. However, employers should be careful not to misclassify employees as independent contractors, or they may face penalties and fines for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance. Refer to the criteria outlined in the Washington State Industrial Insurance Act to determine if an employee is correctly classified as an independent contractor.

Do Washington Workers’ Comp Protect Against Lawsuits?

Workers’ compensation insurance covers most work-related injuries and illnesses. However, there are instances wherein an employee or their family may still file a lawsuit against the employer, such as if they were found to have acted intentionally to harm the employee.

Employer Liability Insurance

Employer liability insurance covers legal expenses and damages related to employee lawsuits for injuries or illnesses not covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation insurance already includes employer liability insurance. However, employers can purchase additional employer liability coverage.

Stop-Gap Coverage

In some states, workers’ compensation is provided by a state-run fund rather than private insurance companies. These states may not offer the same coverage as private workers’ compensation insurance. They can expose the employer to lawsuits related to injuries and illnesses not covered by the state fund.

Stop-gap coverage provides coverage for situations not covered by the state fund. The coverage usually includes legal defense costs and damages. Stop-gap coverage is necessary for employees working in states with state-run workers’ compensation funds.

What’s The Difference Between L&I And Self-Insured Workers’ Compensation in Washington State?

For the majority of employers in Washington state, workers’ compensation claims are administered through the Washington state workers’ comp program (L&I). The remaining 30% of employers are self-insured, meaning they provide workers’ comp benefits directly to their employees.

Injured At Work? What You Need To Know

When workers in Washington state are injured on the job or afflicted by certain occupational diseases due to their work environment, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. In most cases, if it is determined that the injury or illness occurred as a result of the worker’s job, career, or work-related functions or activities, the claim is accepted and the worker is entitled to various benefits.

Watch this video to learn more about the workers’ comp claim process

Emery Reddy Workers' Compensation Basics Video

Workers’ Compensation Claims

You can file a claim online through the L&I website, by calling their office at (877) 561-3453, or at your doctor’s office.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A variety of workers’ comp benefits are available to help cover lost wages and pay for medical bills while workers recover from an on-the-job injury or occupational illness.

The following is a partial list of L&I benefits:

Independent Medical Examinations

You may be required to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) with a doctor hired by the state as part of your claim. The purported reason for an IME is to get an expert opinion on your work injury from a doctor other than your primary provider. However, IME doctors often misdiagnose a patient or mischaracterize a workplace injury as preexisting, which can result in a denied claim.

Why Choose Emery Reddy As Your Washington Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Even the most straightforward workers’ comp claims can hit roadblocks navigating the bureaucracy of the system. A workers’ compensation claim can be denied for almost any reason. And once the claim is denied, it takes experience and persistence to get L&I to reverse the initial denial. Emery | Reddy’s Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers have years of experience litigating claims and recovering millions for our clients.

How to Begin a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you are injured at work in Washington, you have three options to start the claim process:

  • File by phone at (877) 561-3453.
  • File Online.
  • File at your doctor’s office.

To file a claim, you will need help from your doctor. Your doctor will need to complete each of the following tasks:

  • Confirm that your injury is, in fact, work-related.
  • Determine your ability to return to work.
  • Complete the Accident Report form.

Commitment To Compassion

For many injured workers, the suffering continues long after experiencing the initial trauma. In addition to the physical pain, injured workers face mounting medical costs, lost wages, and emotional stress.

Let us help lighten the financial burden by representing your workers’ comp claim in Washington state. Call Emery | Reddy today for a free case review! We can help you receive full benefits to cover the cost of your injury. Please remember to have your L&I claim number readily available.

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