1. Seek Medical Attention
Injured workers need immediate medical attention. If you were hurt on the job or if you developed an occupational illness, you need to see a qualified medical provider as soon as possible. Your claim process will go more smoothly with the support of a qualified doctor. You deserve reliable, high-quality medical care from a trusted doctor.
Your L&I claim will not be allowed unless you seek medical care. It is a required part of the claims process. At your initial appointment, inform your medical provider that you suffered a work-related injury or developed a condition related to your work. You and your doctor will complete certain necessary claim forms that you need to file your claim.
2. Notify Your Supervisor/Employer
As emphasized by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), injured workers have a legal responsibility to notify their employer of an injury or occupational disease. You may inform your first-level boss, another supervisor, or a representative of your company’s HR department. Your employer likewise has a duty to report your injury to L&I. With full information, your company or organization, particularly large, self-insured employers, can help you with the L&I paperwork. It is illegal for your employer to discourage you from reporting your accident.
3. File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You need to make sure that your workers’ comp claim is filed properly. With the exception of a written report to a self-insured employer, reporting your work injury to your employer is not the same thing as filing an L&I claim. While your employer should help facilitate your claim, not all companies or organizations know how to do so.
File your worker’s compensation injury or occupational disease claim as soon as possible. Your workers’ comp claim cannot be processed by a claims manager until your doctor has submitted the relevant paperwork to L&I or your self-insured employer.
4. Await Approval of Your Workers’ Comp Benefits
Once your L&I claim is approved, you will get access to workers’ comp benefits to cover all claim-related, proper and necessary medical expenses. Of course, an L&I claim can cover more than just medical care. If your medical provider certifies your inability to work because of your injury or medical condition, you should receive time loss compensation. You may also be entitled to other benefits, including job-retraining services, permanent partial disability benefits, and pension benefits, depending on medical provider support. If L&I or a self-insured employer deny any of these benefits, you should consult with an attorney. Serious injury claims benefit from professional legal guidance and support.
5. Take Immediate Action to Protest or Appeal an Adverse Decision
Getting benefits paid in an L&I claim can be challenging. Even workers who are qualified for benefits sometimes run into problems in the claims process. If your L&I claim was rejected or if you received any other type of unfavorable decision, you must take immediate action to protect your rights. Call an experienced Seattle L&I claims attorney for help.
As confirmed by Washington’s Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, you have 60 days to file a protest or an appeal after receiving a decision from Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer. Do not wait to get started with the appeals process. Our workers’ compensation attorneys will review your case, explain your options, gather all necessary supplemental evidence, and take action to get you the full and fair L&I benefits that you deserve.