L&I Settlement And Award Amounts In Washington
What Is An L&I Settlement Or Award?
To determine the value of your L&I settlement or award you first need to understand the different types of workers’ compensation offered in Washington State. L&I settlements and awards are paid out once the claim is closed, though the total settlement or award amount paid upon claim closure depends on the size. L&I settlement and award amounts vary widely and typically fall into three categories:
- 1. L&I Disability Pensions: a life-long benefit awarded to injured workers who will never be able to return to any gainful employment due to a severe or life-threatening injury.
- 2. Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) awards: a one-time sum paid to injured workers when their L&I claim is closed. The worker can re-enter the workforce following a PPD award.
- 3. Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement (CRSA): an L&I settlement option where all parties agree to close an injury claim for a specified amount. When agreeing to this settlement type, the injured worker exchanges all future benefits, except medical, for the payment.
L&I Disability Pensions
An L&I disability pension is a special category of pension only awarded to the most severely injured workers. If you are eligible for an L&I disability pension, you will receive a non-taxable payment every month for the rest of your life.
Under Washington law (WAC 296-14-150), gainful employment is defined as a regular occupation for income, salary, or wages. If your doctor or vocational counselor says you can never work again because of a job-related injury or illness, you may be eligible for L&I disability pension benefits.
How Do I Qualify For A Washington State L&I Disability Pension?
You may receive a monthly pension if you are certified as permanently and totally disabled, AND:
- The medical and vocational evidence finds that your injury prevents you from becoming gainfully employed, OR
- You have lost—or lose the use of—both legs, both arms, an arm and a leg, or your vision.
How Are L&I Disability Pensions Paid?
An L&I disability pension is a payment received once monthly for the rest of your life. The monthly dollar amount is roughly equal to your twice-monthly time-loss payment.
Time Loss Calculator
Your estimated time-loss compensation is
L&I disability pensions are hotly contested—less than 2% of all L&I claims end up settled in this manner. Because these claims are expensive to fund, it’s sometimes cheaper for the State or self-insured employer (SIE) to fight a claim rather than just pay it. In other words, your claim is valuable, and as such, you should expect to fight hard for it.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Awards
You may be rated for a PPD award before L&I closes your claim if you have completed treatment and are still able to work but have suffered a permanent loss of function. Additionally, an approved L&I doctor must provide L&I with a PPD rating as determined in the L&I workers’ comp settlement chart. Wage replacement and medical benefits will end after receiving your disability award unless the claim is reopened.
How Do I Qualify For A PPD Award?
Washington State law broadly defines PPD as a physical or mental impairment arising from an injury that is fixed, lasting, and stable, and can’t be improved with further medical treatment This criterion is also referred to as having reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
How Are L&I PPD Awards Paid?
PPD awards are based on the type of injury, the level of severity of the injury, and the date you were injured which is measured by a PPD rating. In general, the higher the rating, the bigger the payout. An experienced L&I lawyer and the right doctor are usually the winning combination for unlocking the maximum amount of L&I benefits to which you are entitled.
L&I PPD Awards Are Paid When Your L&I Claim Is Closed
- Small awards: If the award amount is less than three times the worker’s average monthly wage at the date of injury, L&I or the SIE will send a check for that amount at claim closure.
- Larger awards: If the award exceeds more than three times the State’s average monthly wage at the date of injury, L&I or the SIE will make a down payment of that amount. The balance of the award is paid once a month in installments equal to the worker’s monthly time-loss compensation (at the time of closure).
Permanent Partial Disability L&I Settlement Calculator
The Permanent Partial Disability L&I settlement calculator is the L&I Disability Awards Charts and is calculated as part of the claim closing process. Your final award amount is determined by converting the rating received from your Independent Medical Exam (IME) to settlement dollars. Use the Permanent Partial Disability Award Charts from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries to see the dollar figures.
Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement (CRSA)
A CRSA is an L&I settlement option where all parties agree to close an injury claim for a specified amount. When agreeing to this settlement type, the injured worker exchanges all future benefits, except medical, for the payment.
SIEs are more likely to use CRSAs. The most common reason for this is to save money and will, unfortunately, make it more difficult for you to get your compensation. The SIE will do everything in its power to deny it. However, they still need to follow L&I’s rules for self-insured companies. If you disagree with their decision, you have the right to appeal. Contact an experienced L&I lawyer for help as soon as possible to help with the claim process.
How Do I Qualify For A CRSA?
You must meet to receive a CRSA from the Washington State Department of L&I. Some of these criteria include:
- You must be over the age of 50.
- Your claim must be allowed and at least 180 days old.
How Are CRSAs Paid?
CRSAs are awarded in one lump sum when your L&I claim is closed.
How Much Is My L&I Settlement Worth?
In Washington State, the money awarded to a claimant is determined by numerous factors making it difficult to provide an accurate L&I settlement calculator. Factors that determine a settlement amount include the date the injury occurred, the severity of the injury, and the steps the injured worker takes to receive the compensation they need.
- Permanent Partial Disability awards: payment is typically based on the type and severity of the injury and whether an independent medical examination (IME) agrees or disagrees with the physician’s opinion. Washington State L&I updates injury payouts each year based on the cost of living adjustments (COLA); the date of your injury will influence your L&I award amount.
- The seriousness of your disability: During the course of your workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to complete one or more IMEs conducted by a doctor other than your primary provider. The purpose of this exam is for L&I to have indisputable facts as to why treatment is needed regarding your medical condition. Your injury is rated as a percentage in its category and given a value of 1–9. Typically, the higher the number, the more significant your injury is. Your PPD award is calculated from those numbers before your case is closed. The Permanent Partial Disability L&I settlement calculator is the L&I Disability Awards Charts.
- What you’ve done to help yourself: If you’re proactive regarding your injury claim and work hard to ensure your claim has the correct information, you could earn more in your settlement payout.
Your L&I Claim Is Worth More If You Also Have An Employment Law Claim
A significant number of L&I workers’ compensation claims often involve additional legal claims such as employment law or third-party claims. Many people file their claims without seeking representation from an L&I attorney and thus never discover that in addition to their L&I claim, they may be missing out on the ability to file an employment law claim or a third-party claim. Pursuing additional legal action with the help of an experienced labor and industries attorney has the potential to significantly increase a claim’s overall compensation.
What Is An Employment Law Claim?
Many injured workers find that their employer has taken, or plans to take, adverse action against them because they filed an L&I claim or they are out of work. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for several reasons, including retaliation, wrongful termination, disability discrimination, or unpaid wages. An L&I attorney who is experienced in both L&I workers’ compensation law and employment law can help you with your L&I claim while simultaneously filing a federal or state law claim for the violation of workers’ rights by your employer.
What Is A Third-Party Claim?
A third-party claim is one in which someone other than your employer or co-worker is responsible for your injury. If you have been injured on the job due to someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled to additional compensation through a third-party claim, which combines your L&I claim with a personal injury claim using the same facts.
Unlike workers’ compensation payments, there is no limit to the amount of compensation an injured worker may seek in third-party damages.
Who Is At Fault For A Workplace Injury?
L&I is a no-fault system, ensuring compensation for any workplace injury. However, if a third party is involved in causing the injury, you may be able to pursue legal action against them for additional compensation under third-party claims.
Can I Reopen My L&I Claim After Settlement?
If your workplace injury or occupational disease worsens, you and your doctor may apply to reopen your claim. There must be medical evidence from an L&I-approved provider stating that after your claim closed, the condition caused by the original workplace injury worsened and needs more medical attention.
The amount of time that you have to reopen your L&I claim depends on the benefits you are seeking:
- For medical treatment only, you may apply at any time.
- For both wage replacement benefits and medical treatment, apply within 7 years of the date your claim was first closed (10 years for eye injuries).
- If your claim has been closed for more than 7 years, you may apply for medical benefits. However, only the L&I Director may grant additional disability benefits such as wage replacement or disability awards for these claims.
Can I Protest My Settlement Amount?
L&I must receive a written protest within 60 calendar days of the date the decision was received (15 days for decisions about vocational benefits). The decision is final.
How Do I Know If I Have A Case?
The bottom line is that anyone who isn’t familiar with L&I claims should seek the input of experienced L&I attorneys who do.
After years of helping injured workers, Emery | Reddy, PLLC has recovered millions for our clients. Our team of Seattle L&I attorneys is experienced in litigating L&I claims, injury law claims, and employment violations. We understand how to leverage each claim in state (or federal) court and before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals to maximize the value of all of your claims.
Emery | Reddy Can Help You With Your L&I Claim
Emery | Reddy, PLLC is the only law firm in Washington State that is equipped to provide comprehensive representation on your case from every angle. Our Seattle L&I attorneys thoroughly assess every case to determine if our clients have additional claims, and at times this can extend far beyond the underlying workers’ compensation claim.
If you have been injured in the workplace call Emery | Reddy today to speak with our legal team for a free case review. Please remember to have your L&I claim number readily available.
Want More Information?
If you sustain a serious or life-changing injury and are no longer able to work, you could be entitled to a Washington State L&I disability pension.
The L&I workers’ compensation process is anything but straightforward. Find out the answers to your L&I workers’ comp questions today.
You may be rated for a permanent partial disability (PPD) award before L&I closes your claim if you have completed treatment and are still able to work, but you have suffered a permanent loss of function.
Meet The Team
The L&I attorneys at Emery | Reddy are passionate about helping workers with L&I claims and employment law issues. We Help Workers®: it’s our motto and what drives us every day.
We know how L&I and big companies think, and we understand the tactics they use. Our Seattle L&I attorneys use that knowledge coupled with over two decades of experience to help our clients get access to the L&I benefits to which they are legally entitled and hold employers accountable when they break the law.
With our law office location in Seattle, we serve communities throughout the region, including Vancouver, Bellevue, Everett, Olympia, Shoreline, Spokane, and Tacoma. If you’re struggling with an L&I claim, injury, or legal issue at work, please call us and see how Emery | Reddy can help you today.