Every employee in Washington state deserves safe and fair conditions in the workplace. Unfortunately, job-related injuries remain a serious problem in our region. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) reports that more than 28,000 workers’ comp claims were filed in the state in 2018 alone. If you were hurt on the job, it is crucial that you understand your rights.
At The Walthew Law Firm, we are committed to advocating for the rights and interests of workers. We want to ensure that every employee has the information that they need to get the proper medical care and maximum available compensation. Here, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of employee rights after a work injury in Washington.
- You Have the Right to Medical Treatment
First and foremost, you have the right to see a doctor. Not only is seeing a medical professional important for protecting your health, but it is also necessary in the workers’ compensation claims process. You will not be able to get workers’ compensation benefits unless you have seen a doctor.
After a job-related accident, injured workers should schedule an appointment with a physician immediately. If it is an emergency, you need to get to the nearest hospital right away. Do not wait to set up an appointment. When you get to the doctor’s office, be sure to let them know that you were hurt while at work. Your doctor will help ensure that your treatment is documented properly.
- You Have the Right to File a Workers’ Comp Claim
Immediately after an accident, you should report your injuries to your immediate supervisor. Washington requires injured workers to notify their employer without unreasonable delay. Failure to do so could cause you problems in the claims process.
After telling your employer about your injuries, you should be given access to the appropriate workers’ comp claims forms. If not, ask your manager or the human resources department for the form. Remember, you have a right to file a claim. Never let an employer dissuade you from seeking medical and financial support.
- You Have the Right to Choose Your Own Doctor
Injured workers deserve a doctor who they are comfortable with and who they trust to provide them with attentive, high-quality medical care. Your employer should not control your relationship with your doctor.
In Washington, injured workers have the right to choose their own doctor. Though, when looking for a doctor, you should make sure that the treating physician is a member of the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Provider Network.
- You Have the Right to Return to Work After Being Medically Cleared
When you are medically able to return to your position, you have the right to do so. You cannot be removed simply because you got hurt on the job. Washington law strictly prohibits employers from taking adverse action (retaliating) against employees who file a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, it still happens in some cases. If you were fired, laid off, or harassed and you believe that it was because you were hurt on the job, call a lawyer right away.
- You Have the Right to Appeal an Adverse Decision
The workers’ compensation claims process is complicated. It is not always easy for injured workers to get access to the full and fair benefits that they deserve. If you received an adverse decision on your workers’ comp claim, you have the right to file an appeal.
It is strongly recommended that you work with an experienced Seattle, WA work injury attorney when appealing a workers’ comp denial. Your lawyer will be able to help you build a compelling, successful claim.
- You Have the Right to Be Represented By a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
Finally, it is important for injured workers to know that they can obtain professional legal representation during any stage in the process. You do not have to wait until a claim is denied or you are considering taking your case to court. If you were hurt on the job in Washington, you have the right to be represented by an experienced attorney.
At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers fight aggressively to protect the rights of injured workers. We have helped clients secure full and fair workers’ comp benefits for more than eight decades, and we are eager to answer any questions you may have. To set up a free, fully confidential consultation with our L&I attorneys in Washington State, please contact us today. From our law offices in Seattle and Everett, we handle work injury claims in Tacoma, Bellevue, and throughout Washington state.