Representation by a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Increase Benefits or Settlement Amount
Nobody goes to work expecting to be injured on the job. But the fact of the matter is that industrial injuries affect thousands of families every year. In 2016 alone, more than 21,000 claims were denied, according to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. When you suffer an injury at work and then have to fight for the benefits you deserve, it places a severe and unjust financial toll on you and your family.
At the Tacoma law offices of The Walthew Law Firm, we have more than 90 years of experience handling Workers’ Compensation claims. We understand that the Department of Labor & Industries and self-insured employers don’t always pay benefits on time, underpay benefits, or deny claims altogether. Let us help you receive the compensation that you need and deserve.
Fighting Against Workers’ Compensation Claim Denials
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a Workers’ Compensation claim to be denied. The Department of Labor & Industries or self-insured employers often reject claims by saying that the injury did not happen at work or that they are not responsible for a certain medical condition because it is unrelated to the industrial injury.
Far too often we have seen relationships between dedicated, hard-working employees and their employer take a turn for the worst after a work injury. Just when you need your employer’s support the most, your employer treats you like a cost liability.
An experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney knows that employers have office managers, human resource directors, risk managers, and nurse case manages whose sole jobs are to try and minimize the employer’s costs associated with a work injury. Our attorneys have a long and successful track record of fighting the largest employers and the Department of Labor & Industries to get the benefits that they owe you.
Your Tacoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You Navigate the Complex System of Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation involves a complex set of statutes, regulations, rules and case law that govern the benefits an injured worker is entitled to receive. Understanding the claims process and getting the benefits you deserve can be difficult. The Department of Labor and Industries; self-insured employers and retro groups know the rules and use the system to try to deny your claim or pay less than what you deserve.
The attorneys, paralegals, and staff at The Walthew Law Firm have the knowledge and experience to evaluate your claim and pursue all of the benefits owed to you. We regularly interact with the Department of Labor & Industries, self-insured employers, claims managers, nurse case managers, doctors, vocational counselors and everyone else involved with a claim.
When is the Best time to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
If you have been injured on the job, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. We have met too many injured workers who wait until their claim is closed to contact an attorney to find out what their rights are. Some work-related injury claims are processed with no difficulty, and an attorney is not necessary. If your claim is allowed and time-loss compensation is paid promptly using the correct wage information, you may not need an attorney.
Take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney so that you can have peace of mind to focus on your medical treatment.
The attorneys of The Walthew Law Firm understand a client’s immediate need for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Wages may have stopped, and workers need compensation immediately to pay for groceries, gas, mortgage payments, and all of their other normal day-to-day expenditures.
Workers’ Compensation benefits include:
- Time-loss compensation (temporary total disability);
- Loss-of-earning power;
- Vocational training to help the injured employee find work in a new field;
- Structured settlement;
- Permanent partial disability (PPD); and
- Lifetime pension (total permanent disability).
Workers’ Compensation Video
Permanent Partial Disability vs. Lifetime Pension
When the Department of Labor & Industries or self-insured employer determines you’re your medical condition is “fixed and stable,” meaning no treatment will improve your condition, claim closure is usually next. If you have returned to work, then a doctor rates permanent partial disability (PPD) and the claim is closed based on the PPD rating. Written protest to claim closure and proof of a higher rating of PPD must be submitted to the Department of Labor & Industries within 60 days of receipt of the closure order. The attorneys at The Walthew Law Firm have extensive experience with seeking increased PPD ratings and PPD settlements.
If you cannot return to work because of a job injury, you may be entitled to a pension. To qualify for a pension, you will need vocational and medical evaluations that determine that your injury prevents you from ever becoming gainfully employed. A total disability, lifetime pension is based on your age, education, work history, pre-existing disabling conditions, and the physical limitations of the industrial injury. Rather than trying to live on a relatively small PPD award, a lifetime pension can provide financial security.
Let the knowledge and experience of the Tacoma Workers’ Compensation attorneys at The Walthew Law Firm work for you. Don’t accept claim closure as the final say in your Workers’ Comp claim. It may be premature and an incorrect decision on the part of the claims manager.
Common Workplace Injuries and Occupational Diseases
Whether you are suffering from a broken bone or a repetitive injury or disease that resulted in days off work, you deserve to be compensated for your injury’s impact on your ability to work.
Common workplace injuries include the following:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI);
- Fractured hand, foot, toes, or fingers;
- Knee injuries;
- Shoulder injuries;
- Elbow or wrist injuries;
- Chronic overuse injury, such as damage to tendons, muscles, or joints;
- Strains and sprains;
- Chronic neck pain;
- Chronic back pain; and
- Hearing loss.
Typical occupational diseases include:
- Lung disorders from occupational exposures such as Baker’s Lung, asbestosis, and occupational asthma;
- Joint injuries from repetitive use of vibratory tools such as jackhammers;
- Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NINL); and
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a common nerve entrapment syndrome.
Suing a Third Party – Injuries Caused by Someone Other Than Your Employer or a Co-worker
You cannot sue your employer or co-workers when a work-related injury or disease occurs. You can, however, sue another company or someone not working for your employer if that company or person is responsible for your injury.
When the injury was the fault of someone other than a co-worker or your employer, this is called a “third party.” For example, a careless or distracted driver swerving through a construction zone could be held liable for damages they cause to a construction worker. The construction worker could collect Workers’ Compensation benefits and file a lawsuit or claim against the driver.
You can choose to initiate legal action against a third party on your own or with the help of an attorney. If you receive a Third Party Election Form from the Department of Labor and Industries that says you may be able to take legal action against someone other than your employer, you should discuss your rights with an experienced third party attorney before you elect to have the Department of Labor and Industries pursue it.
Contact a Tacoma Workers’ Compensation Attorney Immediately
Recovering benefits through L & I is usually harder than it should be. Our attorneys will make sure that your rights are protected and that you receive the medical attention and wage replacement benefits that are owed to you. Reach out to The Walthew Law Firm to talk to one of our experienced Tacoma Workers’ Compensation attorneys today.
Our clients are saying:
“I just wanted to reiterate how excited we are for how everything worked out in this fight for a lifetime pension. We are very grateful for all the hard work you and Patrick have put in working on this case for such a long time and being able to prevail! That you very much again!”
“Words cannot express how grateful we are for your help in our L&I case. I am confident we could not have secured better representation.”
“I want to let you know that I truly appreciate all the efforts you put into ensuring that I received what is due to me. I really thank you for your thoughtfulness, care and kind words.”
“There are no words to express my gratitude for all the help you have given me during this part of my journey over the many years. The Walthew Law Firm lawyers and office people are the very best.”
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Seattle, WA 98124-1645
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Everett, WA 98201