L&I and Workers' Compensation Benefits
If you’ve been injured at work and have an accepted L&I workers’ comp claim, you have the right to a variety of L&I benefits to help pay for treatment costs and replace lost wages during the recovery period.
What Does Workers Compensation Pay For?
L&I has a range of workers’ compensation benefits at its disposal to help employees recover from a workplace injury or illness. The following is a partial list of L&I benefits:
Medical benefits will be available to you for as long as your claim is open, even if you have returned to work. Sometimes, workers who feel they have fully recovered will later find that they still need additional medical care for the same ongoing injury. In the event that your claim was closed prematurely and you need further compensation, our Seattle L&I attorneys can work to reopen your case to ensure that any additional medical bills will be covered, including disability benefits. Medical costs that are directly related to the injury or illness will be paid as long as the healthcare providers are in the L&I provider network.
Wage replacement compensation, also known as time loss compensation, is available to some workers who miss work due to injury or an occupational illness. In such cases, L&I will reimburse the worker for lost time and wages – typically between 60-75% of the workers’ earnings prior to the injury or illness up to a maximum cap. Each time loss compensation case is different depending on details like marital status and claimed dependents. Our expert L&I attorneys will guide you through these complex regulations, which include regular doctor certification of your health condition, so that you earn maximum compensation for lost wages due to L&I injury.
Loss of Earning Power Benefits
An injured worker can return to their 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 or part-time work for you as you continue toward full recovery. As a result, you may be eligible for loss of earning power payments (LEP), which can make up the difference between your current pay and the pay you were earning prior to your injury or illness.
Partial Disability Benefits
After their condition stabilizes, some workers find that they experience a degree of permanent loss of ability or function. Under such circumstances, you can apply for a permanent partial disability award, even if you are able to return to work. L&I will seek to determine the appropriate amount to compensate you, however, allowing L&I alone to decide what is fair may not be in your best interests. An attorney can be very helpful during this process.
Total Disability Benefits or L&I Pension
Workers over the age of 50 who cannot gain employment due to a work-related injury or illness are entitled to a pension. Like time loss compensation explained above, a pension covers between 60-75% of the workers’ wages prior to the injury. However, twice-monthly pension payments continue for the remainder of the worker’s life. Structured settlements are sometimes offered to workers instead of a pension. While they are open to negotiation, structured settlements are highly complex and benefit from the advice of an attorney.
Vocational services (job retraining) are available to injured workers who are unable to return to their existing profession. It is strongly advised that you talk to an L&I attorney before you start working with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC). VRCs and claim managers are skilled at finding ways to argue that you are healed or that you can return to the workforce in some other job – even if it’s a job you’ve never performed. A common tactic of VRC’s is to declare the injured worker able to return to work as a “cashier” even if the worker’s disability and lack of experience prevents him or her from doing the job.
Relatives of workers who have died from a workplace injury are also entitled to workers’ compensation. Benefits include survivor pensions, burial reimbursements or a lump-sum payment to the deceased worker’s spouse or domestic partner.
Contact Emery Reddy to assist in receiving the benefits you deserve.
Navigating an L&I claim can be overwhelming. There are many types of benefits available to injured workers, and understanding which course of action is best for you can be daunting. Don’t let the process scare you, though. Contact Emery Reddy’s team of experienced L&I attorneys to help you – with over 15 years of experience in workers compensation, injury law, and third party claims, we’ll examine your case in depth to make sure you get the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to and deserve.
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