Costco is one of the largest employers in Washington. Founded in Seattle in 1983, the company reports that it now has more than 225,000 employees around the globe.
If you or your family member was injured while working at a Costco location in Washington state, it is imperative that you know how to take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights and financial interests. Here, our Seattle workers’ compensation attorneys highlight the most important things injured Costco employees need to know.
Costco is a Self-Insured Employer
Pursuant to Washington state law, employers have a duty to provide no-fault workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. A company can either offer coverage directly through the state, or, alternatively, they can obtain coverage on their own. This is known as being ‘self-insured.’ As noted by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), Costco has been a self-insured employer since January of 2001.
Costco uses a third-party administrator to manage their workers’ compensation claims. The claims manager does not work for the State of Washington, as is the case with state fund claims. The claims manager works for the third-party administrator at the direction of the employer. As a result of this arrangement, self-insured claims are typically more complex than state fund claims and present additional issues and challenges that do not exist with state fund claims.
Four Steps to Take to Protect Your Rights
In many cases, injured workers commit errors that result in difficulties with medical treatment, time loss benefits, vocational retraining benefits, and permanent partial disability awards. Among other things, injured Costco workers should be prepared to:
- Report Your Injuries: Injured workers have a duty to report their accident without delay. If you were hurt while working at Costo, you should tell your immediate supervisor right away. Your supervisor or a member of the human resources department at the company should then provide you with an official workers’ compensation claim form. If you did not receive such a form, you should ask for it.
- Get Professional Medical Attention: Job-related injuries require professional medical evaluation. First and foremost, getting medical treatment is important to protect your health and well-being. Injured Costco workers will not be able to bring a workers’ comp claim unless they have seen a physician.
- File a Workers’ Comp Claim: To get benefits, you must file a workers’ comp claim. Reporting your accident to Costco is not the same as filing a claim. As a general rule, you have one year from the date of your work accident to submit a claim. If you fail to take action within that time frame, you may be denied your right to obtain benefits.
- Be Ready to Take Legal Action: Hopefully, your full benefits will be paid by Costco’s insurer without any unreasonable delay. Unfortunately, some injured workers struggle to get their workers’ comp benefits. If your claim was denied or underpaid, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Seattle workers’ compensation attorney. Do not allow an adverse order to become final without filing a protest or appeal.
Injured Costco Workers Deserve Full and Fair Workers’ Compensation Benefits
A major work injury can cause serious disruption to a Costco employee and her or his family. Under Washington state law, injured workers should receive coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical costs, lost wages (in the form of time loss benefits), and any permanent impairments or disabilities. As explained by Labor & Industries (L&I), self-insured employers are responsible for handling their own claims.
If an injured Costco worker receives a claim denial or adverse decision, he or she must file a written protest of that decision within 60 days. The best advice is to call a Washington workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible after receiving a claim denial. Your lawyer will be able to review the unique circumstances of your case, build a strong, well-supported appeal, and help you take action to get all the benefits that you are owed.
Get Help From Our Seattle, WA Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
At The Walthew Law Firm, our top-rated Washington workers’ compensation attorneys are committed, tireless advocates for injured workers. We have handled work injury claims in Washington for more than 90 years. If you or your family member was hurt while working at Costco, we are available to help.
To arrange a free, strictly confidential review of your workers’ comp claim, please contact our law firm right away. With law office locations in Seattle and Everett, we represent injured workers throughout Washington, including in Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline, Tukwila, Issaquah, Woodinville, Lynnwood, and Silverdale.