L&I and Workers' Compensation Claims Process
Emery Reddy’s Seattle workers’ compensation attorneys have decades of combined experience in handling L&I claims, and are here to guide you through the process. Here’s how the workers’ compensation claim process works in Washington state.
How to Start the Workers’ Comp Claims Process
Navigating an L&I claim can be extremely complex and time consuming, even when you’re not injured or sick.
Get Prompt Medical Attention
If you are injured at work and require medical treatment, visit the emergency room or a healthcare provider right away. Be sure to inform the physician that you sustained the injury on the job.
How to Choose a Workers’ Compensation Friendly Doctor
If your doctor is one of the many healthcare providers who will not handle workers’ compensation cases, our attorneys can help you find a qualified doctor who both treats L&I patients and understands the Workers’ Compensation/L&I system.
Did you visit a doctor or emergency room not covered by L&I when you were first injured? Not to worry – if your claim is approved, L&I will cover the initial visit even if it’s not one of their approved doctors.
Notify Your Employer About the Injury
Promptly alerting your employer of the injury will allow enough time for them to understand the situation and respond quickly upon receiving your L&I claim paperwork.
When to Contact Your L&I Attorney
If your employer demands that you use a company doctor, contact an L&I attorney immediately. While you may use a company doctor if you wish, Washington employers do not have the right to make such demands of injured employees. Your L&I attorney will protect both your right to see the doctor of your choice and your right to refuse to have a company representative or nurse escort you during medical visits.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Employees who are injured on the job can file an L&I claim online, by phone at (877) 561-3453, or at their doctor’s office.
The injury claim officially goes on file when the doctor submits the workers’ compensation paperwork to L&I. Paperwork varies depending on the type of L&I claim. An attorney will determine the nature of your claim, process the appropriate forms, and keep records of all paperwork. Any correspondence, phone calls, or other negotiations with L&I or your self-insured employer will also be the responsibility of your lawyer.
Important Claim Deadlines & Statute of Limitations
In Washington state, your workers’ compensation claim must be submitted within one year of your injury date. This time frame might be extended if your claim involves a lengthy diagnosis process for an occupational disease; you have two years from the date of your doctor’s diagnosis, to file your claim.
How to Handle Roadblocks or Unexpected Claim Complications
The best way to prevent any complications is to hire an experienced workers comp attorney at the start of the process. We will manage all the details of filing your claim, including any paperwork from your doctor. As an advocate for your best interests, your lawyer will see to it that your physician submits reports within required timeframes, and will check the status of your claim by following up to make sure that L&I processes your claim in a timely manner. To avoid any mix-ups that could delay your claim, an L&I lawyer can also assist you if any of your personal information changes.
Once your claim has been approved, you will receive a written order from L&I explaining your benefits.
Getting Your L&I Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits will cover your medical bills and treatments. If you are eligible for additional benefits, the L&I attorneys at Emery Reddy will help you proceed with seeking wage replacement, return-to-work help, pensions, or disability compensation if necessary.
Handling Rejected Claims
If your workers’ compensation claim is rejected for any reason, it is in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced L&I attorney to protest and appeal your denied injury claim. You may protest any L&I decision within 60 days of the date of the decision by writing a letter to your claim manager. If you disagree with the decision regarding your protest, you may appeal to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.
Returning to Work
Having been out of work due to an injury, an injured worker will only return to your job with a doctor’s medical clearance. If you are not deemed fit to fulfill your prior duties or responsibilities, your L&I attorney will help arrange for lighter work for you as you continue toward full recovery. Even so, employers will sometimes ask a returning employee to complete tasks that the doctor has prohibited. If you find yourself in this situation, call your lawyer right away and obtain a copy of your worker restriction form for future reference.
Close the Claim
An L&I claim closes when a physician certifies that further treatment will not improve a worker’s condition, when L&I does not have documentation that the employee requires further treatment, or when treatment is successful and complete.
Protest or Appeal a Closed L&I Claim
In some cases, a worker, doctor or employer may disagree with the L&I decision to close or reject a claim, and any of these parties may protest or appeal the L&I ruling. Our attorneys will manage the appeals process to ensure that any ruling is in your best interest as a worker.
How to Win an L&I Claim Case
It takes tenacity, intelligence and experience to win the maximum benefits and monetary award that you are entitled to under Washington state law. You need an experienced litigator in your corner. Our L&I attorneys come from a background of insurance defense litigation, complex and multi-party litigation, criminal prosecution, and federal plaintiff’s litigation. The courtroom is where we shine. You won’t find a firm anywhere in Washington state that is better at representing injured workers for their L&I claims.