All Proper and Necessary Medical Care
L&I benefits cover all medical care that is proper and necessary and related to the underlying workplace injury or occupational disease. Your medical bills should be paid for as part of your L&I benefits as long as your treatment is through an L&I approved provider. Notably, L&I benefits include coverage for rehabilitative treatments and therapies such as chiropractic, physical therapy, and limited massage therapy. Nothing should come before your health and your recovery.
You are entitled to get medical care from a physician who you trust. In Washington, injured workers have the right to choose their own doctor. Unfortunately, there are sometimes disputes over whether or not medical care is needed. If you are struggling to get your medical treatment covered as part of your L&I claim, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer can help.
Time Loss Compensation (Wage Replacement)
One of the most challenging things about being hurt on the job is that you might be required to miss time from work (and paychecks) in order to recover from your injuries. Your L&I benefits should provide financial coverage for wage replacement. Known as “time loss compensation,” those benefits are paid between 60 percent to 75 percent of your pre-injury wages—up to Washington’s maximum weekly benefit. Time loss is based on your date-of-injury wages from all jobs, your marital status, number of children, and other factors.
Vocational Retraining and Other Educational Services
In some cases, an injured worker may be able to return to the workplace, but not in their previous position. L&I benefits can provide coverage for vocational retraining and other similar educational services if you are medically unable to return to your job of injury, and you have no other transferrable skills. Vocational services are designed to help get an injured worker back to work as quickly as possible.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits
Unfortunately, a work injury or an occupational illness may cause a permanent impairment. In Washington, an injured worker may be eligible to receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits if they have completed treatment, but they suffered a permanent impairment as a result of the injury or occupational disease.
In other words, PPD benefits are an award for a physical or mental impairment that remains even though a claim is being closed. The value of a PPD award is based on the worker’s disability as rated by a doctor. The PPD award can be protested once the closing order is received if you believe the rating of impairment is low.
Loss of Earning Power (LEP) Benefits
Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to loss of earning power (LEP) benefits. LEP benefits, as explained here, are designed to protect workers who have lost wages because they are only able to work part time or at a lower-paying, light-duty position while they recover. LEP benefits are notoriously underutilized. If you have concerns about LEP benefits, our workers’ comp lawyers can help.
Permanent Total Disability Pension Payments
Lifetime pensions are available for workers who are not able to return to gainful employment due to their on-the-job injury or occupational condition. If, because of your work injuries or conditions, your age, education, work history, and pre-existing conditions, you are unable to return to work, you may be entitled to pension benefits through an L&I claim. Our attorneys have extensive experience in this area of workers’ comp law.
Widow and Dependent Benefits
There is nothing more painful than losing a loved one as a result of a work accident. If the worker’s death is directly attributable to the injury or occupational disease, then L&I provides burial benefits. If the deceased worker left a widow, children under 18 (age 23 if in an accredited school full-time), or other dependent, pension benefits can be paid. There are limitations to those benefits, however. Our Washington workers’ comp lawyers understand the challenges faced by family members and will work to protect your rights and help you recover the maximum available financial support.