How Much is Your L&I Claim Worth?
Thousands of people are injured while working in Washington every year. Every one of these people suddenly face very difficult financial, medical, psychological and emotional situations. One of the first questions injured workers ask themselves is how much an L&I claim is worth.
The answer to that question depends on the specifics of the injury, but the bottom line is that people who aren’t familiar with L&I claims should seek the input of experienced professionals who do. How much one person’s L&I claim is worth may be entirely different than another injured worker if even the slightest difference in facts or other circumstances exists.
There are several factors at play in estimating the value of an L&I claim, depending on how many dependents you have, the type of injury and the level of severity of that injury.
Wage replacement, disability settlements and pensions
Typically, L&I provides monetary awards to replace wages while you’re recovering and/or due to disability resulting from the injury. The more serious your injury, the greater the recovery to which you are entitled.
Time Loss Compensation
L&I or your self-insured employer is required to pay you for the time you miss work due to your injury. The pay rate for time loss compensation is 60-75% of your regular wages up to a certain amount. The exact percentage depends on how many dependents you have.
Permanent Partial Disability
Do you have a serious injury that can’t be improved with further medical treatment? Permanent partial disability (PPD) injury awards are based on the type of injury and the level of severity of that injury, measured by a “category rating.” What L&I doesn’t tell you is that the claim manager assigned to your case has a lot of discretion to set the applicable category rating. And the difference in the amount you will receive for your injury increases exponentially as the category rating increases.
Permanent Total Disability Pensions
If you are severely injured and unable to return to work at all, you may be entitled to an L&I permanent disability pension. A pension is 60-75% (up to a cap) of your wage rate just prior to your injury. This amount is paid twice monthly for life. Pensions are hotly contested. If you are eligible for one, your claim is expensive for the state (or your self-insured employer) to fund. In other words, your claim has value, and as such you should expect to fight hard for it.
Your L&I Claim Is Worth More If You Also Have An Employment Law Claim
In addition to your workers’ comp claim, you may also be able to file an employment law claim or a third party claim, which can increase your overall compensation exponentially.
What Is An Employment Law Claim?
Many injured workers with open L&I claims find that their employer has taken, or plans to take an adverse action against them because they file an L&I claim, or they are out of work. You can file a lawsuit against your employer for a number of reasons, including retaliation, wrongful termination, disability discrimination, or unpaid wages. An attorney that is experienced in both L&I law and employment law can prosecute your L&I claim while simultaneously filing a federal or state law claim for the violation of your employment 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 at the fault of someone else’s actions or negligence, you may be entitled additional compensation through a third party L&I claim, which combines your L&I claim with a personal injury claim using the same facts. Examples of liable third parties:
- The driver of a car that hit you while you were working.
- The manufacturer of a defective product that injured you while at work.
- The property owner who failed to maintain the building where you were working when you were injured.
- The owner of the animal that bit you while on the job.
Unlike workers’ comp payments, there is no limit to the amount of compensation an injured worker may seek in third party damages. When analyzing how much your L&I claim is worth, every possible outlet for potential recovery should be included in that analysis. This is yet another reason to speak with an experienced L&I attorney if you’ve been injured on the job, as there could be multiple liable third parties that should help make you as whole as possible as you fight to get back on your feet.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Maximize My Claim?
After years of litigating third party cases, we’ve recovered millions for our clients in situations where they were hurt while delivering packages, tripped over ill-placed parcels in a doorway, were involved in an auto collision, or were hurt by a faulty safety strap, platform, or rigging.
To maximize your total award for all of your claims, we highly recommend hiring the same firm. Our team of attorneys is experienced in litigating injury law claims, employment claims and L&I claims and we understand how to leverage each claim in state (or federal) court and before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals in order to maximize the value of all of your claims.
If you have been injured in the workplace and wondering how much your L&I claim is worth, you have nothing to lose by seeking the advice of attorneys who understand what it takes to maximize recoveries and who will tell you what you need to hear, rather thanwhat you may want to hear. If you’re facing this difficult situation, contact our firm today to schedule an initial consultation and discover your options