Seattle Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Please note that our services specifically address situations involving physical injuries, neglect, and abuse experienced by elderly individuals in nursing homes and other care facilities.
We do not handle cases related to financial exploitation or poor housing conditions where someone might be taking advantage of an elderly person.
Washington Labor & Industries Attorneys in Seattle
Experiencing a worksite injury is never easy. Fortunately, Washington has a comprehensive worker's comp system that helps cover some of the losses that injured workers experience.
However, the system can be troublesome for many employees who attempt to collect their benefits. Bureaucratic issues regularly frustrate injured workers applying for compensation. But those who hire labor and industries attorneys can avoid many of these problems and get their benefits faster.
Lehmbecker Law has L&I attorneys ready to help you get the resources you are entitled to.
How Workers’ Compensation Law Works in Washington?
The workers' comp system in Washington is designed to streamline the process of providing benefits to injured workers. Injured employees are not required to prove negligence on the part of their employer or anyone else. They simply must demonstrate that they were injured while on the job.
Additionally, injured workers must comply with numerous administrative rules when seeking benefits. Running afoul of these regulations can lead to a denial or reduction of benefits. Sadly, the complexity of the workers' comp system, which is also called industrial insurance, results in many injured workers suffering unnecessary delays and losing out on valuable compensation.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents
The ways in which a workplace accident can occur are almost innumerable. However, data from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) show that a few types of accidents are more common than others.
The most common causes of workplace accidents in Washington include:
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents;
- Struck-by-object accidents;
- Injuries caused by repetitive motion;
- Heatstroke and heat exhaustion;
- Illnesses caused by exposure to toxic substances;
- Transportation accidents;
- Workplace violence;
- Witnessing or being exposed to a traumatic or stressful event.
In most cases, the cause of an accident is not relevant to a workers' compensation claim. However, if the negligence of a third party was involved in the accident, the worker may be able to seek compensation from that negligent third party as well as file a workers' comp claim.
Types of Work-Related Injuries
In Washington state, all types of injuries occur on the job, and no industry or sector of the workforce is immune from them. Some industries are more dangerous than others and thus have higher incidences of serious injuries. However, serious injuries can occur in even the safest industry or sector.
Some of the most common workplace injuries in Washington include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Traumatic injuries to the back and neck;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Broken and crushed bones;
- Wounds, such as lacerations and abrasions;
- Burns and other injuries to the skin;
- Tendinitis and similar types of injuries;
- Respiratory system injuries and diseases;
- Nerve damage and injuries;
- Visual and auditory injuries;
- Injuries and diseases of the organs.
Although many injuries occur during a single incident, others develop over time, such as illnesses due to toxin exposure.
Who Is at Fault When an On-the-Job Injury Occurs?
In most workplace injuries, the question of fault does not play a role in the compensation process, but it used to. Prior to the passage of the 1911 Workers' Compensation Act, employees could sue their employers for their role in causing workplace injuries.
Today, however, employees can no longer file lawsuits against their employers, even when an employer's negligence is to blame for an accident. Instead, the workers' compensation system automatically kicks in and provides workers with medical treatment and partial replacement of their lost wages.
The reason the system is set up this way is to streamline claims and keep business and industry flowing at a healthy pace. With the number of on-the-job injuries that occur every day, it would be detrimental to the economy as a whole to allow each injured employee to sue their employer for damages.
The only drawback for employees is that they may not seek full compensation for lost wages with a workers' comp claim, nor can they seek other types of compensation typically available in personal injury lawsuits, such as pain and suffering.
What Benefits and Damages Can an Injured Worker Recover?
Injured workers can recover a variety of benefits after suffering a workplace injury or contracting an occupational disease while on the job.
Depending on a worker's specific situation, they may be entitled to:
- Medical treatment benefits, including hospital stays and direct medical care;
- Vocational training services to learn new skills;
- Lost wage replacement of 60% to 75% of their previous salary, up to the current state-mandated maximum;
- Prescription medication reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses;
- Reimbursement for travel to healthcare professionals over 15 miles away;
- Reimbursement for property damaged during a workplace injury;
- Disability benefits for a permanent partial disability (PPD);
- Pension for workers whose doctors certify that they have a permanent total disability (PTD), which typically includes catastrophic injuries like the loss of the use of both legs, arms, or eyes;
- Structured settlement payout, which sees the injured worker receive cash payments on a periodic basis in place of monthly workers' comp benefit payments.
To access these benefits, the worker's employer must already have workers' compensation coverage or self-insured coverage in place, and the worker's claim must be accepted as being valid.
Can You Make a Claim for Pain & Suffering in Addition to Your L&I Claim?
If you have suffered a workplace injury, in addition to filing a Workers’ Compensation claim with the state of Washington Department of Labor and Industries, you should explore whether you can also open a private insurance claim.
- If a work injury is caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer or a co-employee, you have a right to bring a private insurance claim in addition to your Workers’ Compensation claim.
Common situations where this applies are auto accidents during work, construction site accidents, injuries to or caused by a temporary worker, injuries caused by dangerous equipment such as on a farm or in a factory, or injuries occurring while visiting another company’s premises.
- A private insurance claim will often pay much more in compensation than just a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Workers’ Compensation claim benefits are limited by workers' compensation laws. They typically pay only a portion of your lost wages (e.g., 60%). They generally do not pay benefits for future medical bills or loss of earnings. And they do not include any compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, or loss of quality of life. Under a private insurance claim, you can recover all of these items. The compensation is often many times more than you would receive from just filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- Always seek the advice of an attorney experienced in both Workers’ Compensation and private insurance claims.
Whenever you’ve been injured on the job, you should always have your case reviewed by a highly-rated law firm that handles both Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury cases, to ensure that you are not missing out on any compensation and benefits. Lehmbecker Law has been practicing in both these areas since 1986 and offers a Free Consultation and Case Evaluation. Call us at 425-333-2598 to schedule your in-person or remote appointment.
Statute of Limitations for Workplace Injuries in Washington State
A statute of limitations is the allotted time that a person has to take a certain type of legal action, such as filing a claim or a lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations has elapsed for a particular legal action, an individual is no longer able to benefit from that action.
Workers' compensation claims in Washington have a statute of limitations of one year for injuries. For occupational diseases or hearing loss, the time limit is two years from the date a healthcare professional informs you of your condition. Once you file a claim, the statute of limitations stops running, and your claim for compensation is safe from expiring.
Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Seattle, WA?
Although the workers' compensation system in Washington is meant to benefit employees, injured workers frequently have trouble when attempting to recover compensation. They face significant frustrations, delays, and financial setbacks at a time when they need the benefits the most.
With a workers' compensation attorney in Seattle helping them, injured workers are better positioned to get the full benefits they are entitled to when they need them. This gives injured workers the peace of mind that they need during this difficult time.
Why Choose Lehmbecker Law Firm for Your On-the-Job Injury Case?
Lehmbecker Law Firm has spent nearly four decades fighting for the rights of injured workers throughout Washington state. Our attorneys bring their extensive experiences to bear on every case they handle.
When you choose Lehmbecker Law, you get a firm with:
- Multiple millions of dollars of compensation recovered for clients;
- Extensive experience representing injured workers in workers' comp claims
- Seasoned trial attorneys who are not afraid to take a case to court;
- Contingency-fee pricing, which means no upfront costs for clients.
Call today for a free consultation.
Call for a Free Consultation with Our Seattle Work Injuries Lawyer
If you have been injured on the job, call our office today for a free consultation with a Seattle workers' compensation attorney from our team.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Worker’s Compensation Law Firm in Seattle
Workplace injury? We'll get you the compensation you deserve! Contact us for a free consultation.
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Contact Your Local Workers Comp Lawyer in Seattle Today
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, contact your local workers' comp lawyer in Seattle today for a complimentary consultation and case review.
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Seattle Workers’ Compensation FAQs
Do I qualify for Seattle workers’ compensation recovery?
While there are some exceptions, most workers qualify for compensation. If you have been injured at your workplace while engaged in the work that you normally do, you likely qualify for workers' compensation recovery.
What’s the difference between L&I And self-insured workers’ compensation In Washington state?
Labor and Industries (L&I) is the state agency responsible for administering workers' compensation benefits in Washington. L&I covers most employers in the state. Self-insured workers' compensation, on the other hand, refers to employers who meet specific requirements and are granted the authority to self-insure their workers' compensation claims, assuming the financial responsibility themselves instead of purchasing coverage through L&I.
What if my Seattle workers’ compensation claim is denied or my benefits are not sufficient?
Workers have the right to protest or appeal decisions regarding their benefits. However, they must act quickly. The L&I must receive your written protest within 60 days of the decision, or the decision will be final. For vocational benefits, the time frame is 15 days.