Worker’s Compensation

Have you been injured at work?  If so, you are entitled to:

An open labor and industries claim

After your injury you need to see a doctor.  Your doctor will fill out a Labor and Industries claim form for you.  Only a doctor can fill out this form.  You cannot have an attorney fill out the form, because a doctor must sign it.  Without a doctor’s signature, the form will be rejected.

After your doctor fills out the form, he or she will send it to the Department of Labor and Industries.  The Department will process the form and respond to you by letter, in the form of an Order.  You must wait for this response from the Department. The Order will accept or reject your claim.  If your claim is accepted, you can proceed to seek treatment from a doctor of your choice, if that doctor accepts Labor and Industries insurance, and if Labor and Industries agrees to accept and pay for the services of that doctor.

If your claim is rejected, you will need to protest the rejection before 60 days passes from the date that you received the Order.  If you have received such an order, we may be able to assist you.

Treatment by a doctor

You have the right to choose your own doctor.  Unfortunately, the Department of Labor and Industries has reserved itself the right to decide whether it will pay for your doctor.  If the Department rejects your doctor, you will have to find another one that the Department does not reject.  This is because if you stay with the doctor that the Department rejects, the Department will not pay your doctor’s bills, and your doctor will look to you for payment.

Time loss compensation benefits during times you cannot work

You have a right to receive time loss compensation benefits.  Time loss does not pay 100% of your wage at the time of injury.  Time loss pays 60% of your wage, plus 5% more if you are legally married, plus 2% more per child for up to five children.  You must prove that you have a wife and dependents. You are eligible to receive these benefits during times that your doctor certifies in writing that you cannot work, or during times when your doctor states you can work in a light duty capacity only, and your employer is not offering you light duty work.

A permanent partial disability or total disability award if you are permanently impaired

You may have a right to receive this compensation once your treatment is completed and you have returned to work.  If you lost 20% of the use of your arm, for example, you should be compensated for 20% of the value of your arm.  If you lost 100% of the ability to work, then you should receive a pension for the rest of your life.  Usually, the correct payment is not automatic, and we can assist you in making sure you receive the maximum benefit according to the law, and your particular situation.  Also, some attorneys charge attorney fees on pension benefits for the rest of your life.   You should only have to pay 15% of the pension reserve.  If the attorney’s contract does not specify that you will only pay 15% of the pension reserve, you will be paying up to 75% more than you should in pension fees.  Our contract specifies that you will only pay 15% of the pension reserve.

Vocational re-training when appropriate

If you cannot return to your job of injury, and your doctor says that you cannot return to any job you have had in the last 15 years, then you should qualify for retraining of some sort.  If you cannot speak English, you still qualify for vocational services, but your options are limited because there are many jobs that require fluency in English.  If you do not have work documents, you still qualify for vocational services, but your options are limited to schools that do not have a social security card requirement.

Free consultations are available in Seattle or Tacoma.  An appointment is required, click here to contact our office.


Was your injury caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer or a co-worker?

If so, you are entitled to bring a claim against the negligent party.  If the negligent party was your employer, or your co-worker under the direction of your employer, then you probably cannot bring a claim.  If the negligent party was anyone other than your employer, a third party, we can advise you as to whether you can bring a claim.  If no negligence was involved on the part of the third party, you cannot bring a claim.

Were you working at a construction site?

If so, you may be able to bring a claim against the General Contractor or other contractors whose negligent action caused your injury.  Certain Washington State Court Decisions state that the General Contractor is in charge of all safety on a job site.

Were you working for a temporary placement agency?

If so, you may be able to bring a claim against the job site where you were placed to work, if your injury was caused by the negligence of the persons who controlled the job site.  As long as your employer, the temporary agency, did not also control the job site, you may have an additional claim, which we will be able to investigate for you.