Understanding Washington State Workers Compensation Laws

Washington is the United States’ largest exporter, contributing 5% of all U.S. exports, with primarily timber and aerospace products. As multiple job sites expand, so does the chance that an employee will receive an injury, this is why Washington places a requirement that employers must have workers’ compensation insurance. If you were hurt at work in Washington state, continue reading to discover the basics of Washington workers’ compensation laws.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of employer insurance that gives injured workers compensation for work-involved injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance protects employers as well as employees from the financial hardship caused by work-involved injury or occupational illness. In Washington, employees are given two options to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. The first is that employers may purchase their insurance through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. DLI handles claims and benefits out of an insurance pool known as the Washington State Fund, which is funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees.

The second option is that some employers can qualify for self-insurance if they enough financial stability (a minimum of $25 million in assets), effective accident prevention program, and effective administrative organization for workers’ compensation.  If an employer is self-insured, the rights and entitled benefits of an injured employee stays consistent, but who handles your claim does differ. Under the self-insurance, your employer, instead of the DLI, manages the paperwork and funds your claim.

Workers’ Compensation in Washington

The following table includes critical parts of Washington workers’ compensation laws, including important deadlines and forms of benefits from workers compensation attorney in Washington:

Important deadlines
  • 1 year of your injury date to file claim application with L&I or your self-insured employer
  • 2 years from the date of your doctor’s diagnosis for occupational disease claims
  • Medical Benefits: payments for expenses related to the injury or occupational disease
  • Wage Replacement: payments for loss of wage for missed work due to your injuries; this doesn’t cover all of your lost wages, only a fraction
  • Prescription Medication: payments for prescription medications necessary for treatment of accepted conditions under open claims
  • Travel Reimbursement: partial payments for travel expenses (traveling more than 15 miles to see a health care provider)
  • Property Reimbursement: payments for personal property lost or damaged during a workplace accident (limited to prescription eyeglasses or contacts, clothing, shoes or boots, and personal protective equipment)
  • Permanent Partial Disability: compensation for physical disability (you can still work, but your physical ability has been impaired)
  • Permanent Total Disability (Pensions): monthly pension if (1) the medical and vocational evidence finds that your injury prevents you from becoming gainfully employed or (2) you have lost, or lost the use of, both legs, both arms, an arm, and a leg, or your vision
Employer Obligation
  • Employers must provide workers’ compensation (also called industrial insurance) coverage for their employees and other eligible workers [Section 51.04.010]

Source: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/washington-law/washington-workers-compensation-laws.html