Tacoma Auto Accident Attorneys

Meet Jordan P. Costello

Jordan P. Costello,
Associate Attorney

Jordan P. Costello graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 2020 and was admitted to the WA State Bar in October 2020. Jordan worked as a Law Clerk at The Walthew Law Firm, gaining extensive knowledge and experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury litigation. He also worked at Seattle University’s Immigration and Human Rights Clinics and interned in a firm in Alaska, helping with immigration defense cases.

Prior to law school, as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, Jordan spent his summers working at The Walthew Law Firm. He also worked with an international non-profit organization, IRC, in the Washington, D.C. area.

Jordan currently lives in Seattle. He is an avid Seattle sports fan and enjoys volunteering on the weekends.

Learn about the Walthew Difference

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury — Plaintiff
  • Workers’ Compensation

Professional Associations and

  • Washington State Bar Association, Member


  • Seattle University School of
    Law, 2020

Past Employment Positions

  • The Walthew Law Firm
  • International non-profit organization – Washington D.C.





In Washington State, all employers are mandated to have workers’ compensation insurance that provides medical coverage and wage replacement benefits to help injured workers recover and return to their job. Also, in the unfortunate event that an injured worker sustained injuries that are so severe that they are not able to return to their job, workers’ compensation insurance covers services called vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation service is designed to retrain injured workers and help them learn skills needed to transition into a less physically demanding job.

In this article, our Seattle workers’ compensation attorney gives an overview of Washington’s vocational rehabilitation process.

What is Vocational Rehabilitation?

In Washington, an injured worker who is not able to perform their job of injury may be found eligible for vocational rehabilitation services that can help them be retrained in a new job. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) explains that vocational retraining is a program meant for injured workers who may need to transition to a new career. Oftentimes, this involves the injured worker attending a vocational school or program to learn new work skills.

Washington State Law: Vocational Rehabilitation Services (RCW 51.32.095)

Vocational rehabilitation is a multi-part process that falls under RCW 51.32.095. Before a worker enters the process, L&I or a self-insured employer must first determine that an injured worker is not able to return to their job of injury with their employer due to their physical or mental condition. While there are some differences from case to case, vocational rehabilitation in Washington typically involves the following:

● Comprehensive Ability to Work Assessment: An injured worker is assessed based on their age, education, work history, transferable skills or lack thereof, and current physical and mental health conditions, to determine if they are reasonably employable in a new job.
● Plan Development: Once an assessment has been completed and an injured worker is found eligible for job retraining, a plan must be developed with an authorized vocational provider to help the injured worker transition back into the workforce. A worker should not enter vocational rehabilitation until a well-structured and suitable plan is in place.
● Vocational Rehabilitation: Finally, a worker must go through the vocational retraining plan. The core goal of the vocational process in Washington State is to help the injured worker obtain the skills that they need to transfer to a new career. As the injured worker goes through the retraining program, their progress will be monitored, and their concerns must be addressed.

Vocational rehabilitation services can be a good option for injured workers as it provides retraining and new skills for the injured workers to reenter the workforce and make a living. However, there can also be downsides, including the possibility that L&I could try to have an injured worker retrain for a far lower-paying job. All injured workers must know that they have rights when it comes to retraining, and an experienced Seattle workers’ compensation attorney can help them ensure that they are in the proper program to meet their retraining goals.

Get Help From Our Seattle Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers have the skills and experience to help injured workers navigate all aspects of the vocational process. Contact us right away for a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation. From our Seattle office and Everett office, we provide workers’ compensation services throughout Washington State.



Were you hurt on the job in Washington? You are not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Western Information Office reports that there were 78,200 nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses reported in Washington in 2020 alone. Every employee in Washington—including part-time—is entitled to workers’ compensation insurance coverage. You can and should file a claim for benefits. In this article, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer provides a detailed overview of the different types of benefits that are available in workers’ compensation claims in Washington.

An Overview of the Different Types of Workers’ Compensation (WC) Benefits in Washington

Medical Care (Proper and Necessary)

In Washington, workers’ compensation insurance ensures that injured workers have the right to receive medical care so long as it is “proper and necessary.” In effect, “proper and necessary” means medical care that is related to the injured worker’s injury or illness and intended to be diagnostic, rehabilitative, or curative so that the worker can have ongoing treatment and recover.


Temporary Disability Benefits (Time Loss Benefits) 

You may hear temporary disability benefits referred to as time loss benefits or wage replacement benefits. These benefits provide injured workers with financial support for the time that they are required to miss work to recover from their injury or illness. In Washington, time loss benefits are generally between 60 and 75 percent of a worker’s pre-injury wages, depending on key variables such as family status in addition to statutory minimum and maximum limits on benefits.


Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits

A serious work injury or occupational disease can leave a worker with a permanent disability. In Washington, permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits compensate workers who will never make a complete recovery. The amount of a worker’s PPD benefits is based largely on their disability rating from a doctor. A disability rating can be thought of as a medical assessment of the severity of your permanent impairment. The higher the rating, the more disabled you are deemed by the State of Washington and the greater the level of PPD benefits you will be entitled to receive.


Vocational Rehabilitation

A major goal of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide injured workers with the resources they need to make a full recovery and return to the workforce. In some circumstances, an injured worker’s physical or mental impairment could make it unreasonable, unsafe, or impossible for them to return to the previous job they were working. Vocational rehabilitation helps retrain injured workers to learn the skills and knowledge they need to transition to a new career or job.


Survivors’ Benefits

Was your family member killed on the job in Washington? Unfortunately, these workplace tragedies remain far too common. The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) reports that nearly 70 job-related fatalities are reported in the state each year.

When a worker dies on the job, their surviving family members have a right to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. Under Washington law (RCW 51.32.050), survivors’ benefits include immediate payment of up to 200 percent of the average monthly wage and ongoing payments of:

  • 60 percent of the deceased worker’s wages (surviving spouse, one child);
  • 62 percent of the deceased worker’s wages (surviving spouse, two children);
  • 64 percent of the deceased worker’s wages (surviving spouse, three children);
  • 66 percent of the deceased worker’s wages (surviving spouse, four children); or
  • 68 percent of the deceased worker’s wages (surviving spouse, five children).

Not Being Offered Full and Fair Workers’ Comp Benefits? An Attorney Can Help

Unfortunately, some injured workers struggle to get access to the full and fair workers’ comp benefits that they deserve under the law. You may even find your claim wrongfully denied by the Department or insurance company. At The Walthew Law Firm, we are committed to helping injured workers maximize their workers’ compensation benefits, including medical coverage, temporary disability, and, if applicable, permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. Our Washington work injury lawyers have professional skills and proven experience that injured workers can rely on.


Schedule a Free Consultation with a Seattle Workers’ Comp Lawyer Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ comp attorneys are experienced advocates for injured workers. If you have any questions or concerns about the types of WC benefits that you are entitled to receive, our team can help. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-commitment review of your case. We handle work injury claims in Seattle, King County, and throughout the surrounding region, including in Tacoma, Bellevue, Renton, Federal Way, and Kirkland.

Workers deserve safe conditions. Unfortunately, worker safety still has a long way to go. According to data from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), 693 workers were killed on the job in the state between 2010 and 2019. For a family, the loss of a loved one to a work-related fatality is devastating. Families deserve justice and the financial support they need.

At The Walthew Law Firm, we know workers’ compensation law. Our law firm is dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of injured workers and their families. If your family member was killed due to a work injury, it is imperative that you know your rights and options. Here, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers provide a detailed guide to workplace death claims in Washington.

Washington Law: Family Members Can File for Death Benefits through Workers’ Comp 

As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that eligible surviving family members can claim workers’ comp benefits if their loved one dies from a job-related injury in Washington. Under Washington state law (RCW 51.32.050), these workers’ comp benefits are referred to as death benefits. They are intended to compensate surviving family members for the loss of financial support that they would have otherwise received from the victim.

An Overview of Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in Washington

If your immediate family member was killed on the job in Washington, you have the right to file for financial support in the form of death benefits through the state’s workers’ compensation insurance system. Here are three key things families should understand about workers’ comp death benefits in Washington State:

  1. The Death Must Have Been Job-Related: Workers’ comp in Washington pays no-fault benefits to qualifying surviving family members. The fatal accident must have been work-related for benefits to be approved.
  2. Death Benefits are For Immediate Family/Dependents: The primary beneficiaries of workers’ compensation death benefits in Washington are immediate family members. Specifically, the surviving spouse and surviving minor children. Other dependents may also qualify.
  3. Death Benefits Come in Several Forms: Death benefits in Washington take several forms. An immediate one-time lump sum payment equivalent to the state’s average monthly wage should be issued. Reasonable funeral and burial expenses are covered. Most importantly, monthly survivor benefits—widow/widower pension—can be issued. These payments are similar to time loss. It is paid at 60 percent of a worker’s average monthly earnings. An increased level of benefits are available for those with surviving minor children. The rate of benefits is increased by 2 percent for each minor child the deceased worker had—up to a maximum of 5 children (70 percent of a worker’s average monthly wage).

Your Family Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Negligent Third Party

In Washington, a workers’ compensation claim is generally the sole legal remedy that an injured employee has against their employer. When a worker dies from job-related injuries, their family typically cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit against the victim’s employer. However, the surviving family members do have a right to file a wrongful death claim against a negligent third party. Examples of a negligent third party that may be a defendant in a fatal work accident claim include:

  • A driver or trucking company;
  • A property owner or developer;
  • A contractor or subcontractor; and
  • An equipment manufacturer (product liability).

While workers’ comp claims are no-fault legal actions—meaning no finding of fault is required for surviving family members to get death benefits—a third-party liability claim is based on fault. To hold a third party liable for a workplace fatality through a wrongful death lawsuit, the family must prove that the defendant’s negligence contributed to the accident. Through a third-party liability wrongful death claim, additional financial compensation may be available for the family—including for non-economic damages such as love, care, affection, companionship, and parental training. To learn more about your rights, contact our Washington third party liability attorney today.

Contact Our Washington Worker Fatality Attorneys Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers have the professional skills and legal experience to handle worker death claims. If your loved one was killed while on the job, we are here to help you navigate the claims process so that your family can get justice and the maximum benefits. For a free, strictly confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We serve Seattle, King County, and communities throughout Western Washington.

People working in construction site. Young men at work in new house inside apartment building. Latino manual worker helping injured co-worker after accident on dutyWorkplace injuries and illnesses remain a serious concern. According to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), more than 108,000 workers’ compensation claims were filed in the state in the 2021 Fiscal Year (FY).

Approximately 75 percent of workers’ compensation claims in Washington are filed through the state fund, and 25 percent are handled by self-insured employers.

Following a job-related injury, workers need to know how to navigate the claims process and potential settlement options. You may have heard about settling your claim with something called a Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement or “CRSA” (formally known as CRSSA – Claim Resolution Structured Settlement Agreement). We want to make sure you have the knowledge and resources you need to proceed. Here, our Seattle workers’ comp lawyer provides an in-depth guide to the key things that injured workers know about a CRSA settlement.

Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement (CRSA): Explained

In Washington, a CRSA is a method of resolving your claim by agreement of the parties in exchange for a payment to the injured worker. In effect, it is a contract between L&I or a self-insurer and an injured worker. Here are the basics:

  • What an Injured Worker Gets: With a CRSA, an injured worker will receive a monetary settlement in a lump sum, some form of structured payment, or a combination of both. There is no requirement in Washington that a worker has to take a lump sum or structured settlement as part of the CRSA, and workers have some flexibility in determining the best option for their situation. The amount paid out as part of a CRSA will depend on many different factors, including the severity of your injuries, your history of wages/earnings, your anticipated future medical costs, and your ability to negotiate.
  • What an Injured Worker Gives Up: You should not enter a CRSA without a full understanding of what you are giving up in the agreement. In exchange for entering a CRSA, an injured worker has to give up their workers’ compensation benefits, including time loss compensation, PPD benefits, and medical coverage. With a very narrow exception for medical-only benefits, a worker must also give up their right to reopen their claim.

In other words, a CRSA is effectively a final settlement in a workers’ compensation case. These agreements are strictly regulated by Washington State law (RCW 51.04.063). You have 30 days to revoke a CRSA once you enter it.

 Who is Eligible to Get a CRSA in Washington State?

Not every injured worker is eligible to see a CRSA settlement in Washington. Instead, there are specific standards that must be met. Most importantly, you will only be eligible for CRSA if:

  1. Your workers’ compensation claim is a minimum of 180 days; and
  2. You are at least 50 years of age.

Washington law does not allow younger workers (49 years of age or less) to get a CRSA.

 All Ongoing Payments Must Continue Until a CRSA Settlement is Finalized

Neither L&I nor a self-insured employer has the right to cut off your benefits because you started negotiating a CRSA settlement agreement. Under Washington State law (WAC 296-14A-030), the entity handling your claim must “pay benefits to which the worker is entitled during any settlement negotiation until the agreement is final.” Until you actually have an approved and finalized CRSA in hand, you are entitled to receive your ongoing benefits.

How a Washington Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help With a CRSA

CRSAs are complicated. It can be difficult for injured workers to get full and fair compensation through a Claim Resolution Settlement Agreement. If you are considering your option for resolving your workers’ compensation claim through a CRSA, it is imperative that you have skilled legal representation. You need to know that you are getting full value in exchange for what you are giving up as part of the agreement.

The Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers at The Walthew Law Firm have the professional skills, legal knowledge, and proven experience to help clients negotiate CRSAs. We can review your case and help you determine if a CRSA is a favorable option given your specific circumstances. If it is, then our Washington workers’ compensation attorneys can help you take action to get a CRSA that provides you with the maximum available benefits.

 Schedule a Free Consultation With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Seattle

At The Walthew Law Firm, we know the ins and outs of workers’ compensation claims. If you or a family member were hurt on the job and you have any questions about Claim Resolution Settlement Agreements (CRSAs), we are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We represent injured workers in Seattle, King County, and communities beyond.

disability benefits ppd vs ttdFollowing a serious work-related injury, you will need financial compensation to support yourself and your family. If you were forced to miss any time on the job and/or your doctors feel you have permanent impairment because of your work-related injury, you have the right to seek disability benefits including:

  • Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits; and/or
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.

At The Walthew Law Firm, we advocate for injured workers and their families. Our firm wants to make sure you know your rights. In this article, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers provide an in-depth guide to the most important things to know about disability benefits in Washington State.

Know the Different Types of Disability Benefits

Temporary Total Disability (TTD) Benefits 

Were you forced to take time off from work to recover from your injury? If so, you may be entitled to recover temporary total disability benefits or TTD benefits. These benefits are commonly referred to as time-loss. Paid out every two weeks to eligible workers in Washington, time-loss benefits are designed to make up for a portion of the wages that you miss out on while recovering from your work-related injury. Time loss is calculated as follows:

  • Single Worker: 60 percent of average weekly wages;
  • Married Worker: 65 percent of average weekly wages.

Parents of minor children receive an additional 2 percent for each child (up to 5 children). Also of note, Washington has statutory minimum and maximum time-loss benefits. For 2022, the maximum monthly time-loss benefit is now $8250.79. If you have any questions about time-loss benefits in Washington, our Seattle workers’ comp attorneys are ready to help.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) Benefits

Unfortunately, not all workers are able to make a full recovery from a work-related injury or occupational disease and can be left dealing with a permanent impairment. In Washington State, a worker who has a permanent impairment after a workplace accident has the right to seek permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits. You may also hear this commonly referred to as a PPD award. Here are three key things to know about PPD disability benefits in Washington:

  1. PPD Benefits Compensate a Permanent Impairment: Whereas time-loss benefits are only designed to compensate workers for time missed on the job, PPD benefits are meant to compensate them for a permanent disability or impairment.
  2. You Must Reach Maximum Medical Improvement: To obtain a PPD award in Washington, a worker must first reach maximum medical improvement. In effect, this means that a doctor determines that further treatment is unlikely to help you make an additional physical/mental recovery.
  3. Your PPD Awards Will Be Based Largely on Your Disability Rating: The value of PPD benefits is based largely on an individual’s disability rating. The more severe your disability is, the greater the PPD benefits you can generally recover through an award.

It is important to know that PPD disability claims are notoriously complex, and it is imperative that injured workers have the proper rating so that they are able to access the maximum available financial award. If you have any specific questions about recovering PPD benefits, contact our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers for immediate assistance.

Workers’ Comp Also Covers All ‘Proper and Necessary’ Medical Care

Disability benefits make up an important part of workers’ comp benefits in Washington. Beyond compensation for temporary or permanent disability, injured workers are also entitled to coverage for medical care. Under Washington law (WAC 296-20-01002), workers’ comp covers health care deemed to be “proper and necessary” to help the worker recover from their injuries.

How Our Washington Workers’ Comp Lawyers Can Help  

Navigating the workers’ comp claims process is never easy, especially if you have suffered a serious injury and are seeking substantial disability benefits. At The Walthew Law Firm, we go above and beyond to do what is right for injured workers and their families. Among other things, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers are prepared to:

  • Answer questions about the workers’ comp claims process;
  • Ensure that you get the proper medical care that you need;
  • Help you claim the maximum available TTD benefits; and
  • Negotiate for the maximum PPD settlement offer.

Call Our Seattle, WA Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ comp lawyers have fought for injured workers for more than 80 years. If you have any questions about recovering disability benefits after a work injury, we can help. Give us a call now or contact our law firm online to arrange your no cost, no obligation case assessment. From our office locations in Seattle and Everett, we advocate for the rights of injured workers throughout the whole region.

cost of living 2022Inflation, economic indicators, and other factors affect the cost of living in Washington State. These factors also impact workers’ compensation benefits. Time loss and pension benefits are intended to provide financial support for injured workers. Rising prices reduce the value of your benefits. To help alleviate this problem, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) implements a cost of living adjustment (COLA) in July of most years. The workers’ compensation cost of living adjustment for 2022 became effective on July 1 and will run through June 30, 2023.

As a result of the COLA increase, your time loss and pension benefits should increase. There is typically cause for concern if there is no increase in your benefits. You should consult with a Seattle workers’ compensation attorney who can explain the laws and take legal action as necessary to protect your rights.

There are four points you should be aware of about COLA under Washington State workers’ comp laws.

  1. COLA for 2022: Washington state officials are required to re-evaluate benefit amounts annually using the state average wage as a measurement. The COLA for 2022 is 7.5 percent. The basis for the higher amount is that the state average wage increased from $76,741 to $82,508.
  2. Workers’ Comp Benefits Affected by the 2022 COLA: You can expect changes to your benefits beginning July 1, 2022, although it may take a short period of time to see the adjustment in your time loss or pension payment. The adjustments include:
    • Time Loss: If you receive benefits for time-loss compensation, the amount is based upon a percentage of your wage at the time of injury. The percentage varies from 60 percent for a single worker to 75 percent for a married worker with five children at the time of injury. When the COLA increases, there will be a corresponding increase in your time loss rate. The time loss rate is capped at 120 percent of the state average wage. Starting July 1, the maximum monthly amount for time loss is $8,250.80.
    • L&I Pension Benefits: There are benefits for injured workers who cannot return to work, and you may be familiar with the term permanent total disability. COLA will affect the amounts for L&I pensions, including family members who receive benefits after a fatal workplace accident.
    • Loss of Earning Power (LEP): When your medical condition still allows you to work, though, with limitations, you receive LEP compensation for the difference in earnings. The loss must be greater than 5 percent to be eligible. In some cases, the COLA will affect the amount you receive for LEP benefits.
  1. Who Qualifies for Cost of Living 2022: Those receiving the benefits described above are eligible, though there is nothing you need to do to take advantage of COLA. However, you will not see changes if you were injured recently and are just starting to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The COLA increase does not apply the first year following an industrial injury.
  2. Disputes Over COLA: As mentioned, you should see a COLA increase in your workers’ comp benefits for time loss, L&I pension, or LEP compensation within the next month if you have not already received the increase. The Department will pay the increase back to July 1, 2022. If you believe there is an error in your COLA increase, it is important to reach out to an attorney. You are entitled to proper workers’ comp benefits, including amounts tied to COLA.

Set Up a Free Consultation with a Seattle Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

This information about the Cost of Living adjustment may be useful, but it is critical to work with experienced legal counsel if you have concerns about your workers’ comp benefits. For personalized details about COLA, please call The Walthew Law Firm or contact us online to schedule a no-cost case review. Our Washington workers’ comp attorneys serve injured workers in King County, Pierce County, Snohomish County, Kitsap County, and Pierce County from our offices in Seattle and Everett, WA.

On June 1, 2022, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) announced a  new workplace safety guidance that increases heat and wildfire smoke protections for outdoor workers.

Heat, Wildfire, and Smoke Protections for Outdoor Workers 2022

At The Walthew Law Firm, we are strong advocates for worker safety as we believe everyone deserves a safe, healthy workplace. In this article, our Seattle workers’ comp. attorneys provide an overview of the guidance and its new enhanced workplace safety protections for outdoor workers in Washington State.

The Safety Issue: Concerns About Heat and Washington Air Quality in Summer Months

The average summer high temperatures are rising in Washington. For example, in the summer of 2021, Hanford, WA, hit 120 degrees—the highest temperature ever recorded in our state. During the same heatwave, the City of Seattle hit its highest ever record temperature of 108 degrees. As climate change continues to affect the globe, environmental scientists believe that more heat and record temperatures are in store for the Pacific Northwest.

To make matters even more challenging for our region, there is also a growing risk of wildfires and wildfire smoke. As explained by the Department of Ecology for the State of Washington, “Because of climate change, more frequent and intense wildfires are likely to become the new normal” in the western United States. As a result, these more frequent and intense wildfires and wildfire smoke will pose serious safety risks to everyone, including outdoor workers.

What to Know About the Enhanced Heat and Wildfire Smoke Protections

With their newly issued guidance on heat and wildfire smoke protections, Washington workplace safety regulators are taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of outdoor workers this summer. In a news release, L&I assistant director Craig Blackwood explained, “the record-setting heat wave last summer underscored the importance of protecting outdoor workers.” Here are three key points from L&I’s new guidance:

  1. The Guidance Applies from June 15 through September 30: L&I is putting temporary (emergency) outdoor worker safety regulations on heat exposure, wildfire smoke, and worker training in place for the Summer of 2022. These regulations took effect on June 15, 2022, and will end on September 30, 2022.
  2. Outdoor Heat Rules are In Effect When the Temperature Hits 89 Degrees: Employers who have outdoor workers must follow both the existing and emergency heat exposure rules when the temperature hits 89 degrees. Combined, the existing and emergency outdoor heat safety rules require employers to provide: 1) A minimum of one quart per hour of cool water for employees to drink, 2) An area of shade that is sufficiently large enough and close enough to outdoor workers, 3) A minimum of 10 minutes for a cool-down break for every two hours of outdoor work, and 4) encouragement of workers to hydrate, stay cool, and take breaks.
  3. Wildfire Smoke Safety Rules are in Full Effect When Air Quality Index Reaches 101: The Air Quality Index (AQI) measures how healthy the air is to breathe—with a lower number being safer. In Washington, poor outdoor air quality is frequently driven by wildfire smoke. When the AQI reaches 69, employers in our state are encouraged to take action to protect workers. When the AQI reaches 101 (poor air quality) employers are required to take action to limit worker exposure to wildfire smoke to the maximum extent feasible, including providing respirators at no cost for voluntary use. In the extreme case that wildfire smoke particles exceed 555 micrograms per cubic meter or greater than an AQI of 500 (an extremely hazardous level), outdoor workers must be provided with and required to wear a protective respirator.

Employers Must Comply with Outdoor Heat Exposure Rules in Washington

All employers in Washington that employ outdoor workers are required to comply with the outdoor heat exposure and wildfire smoke workplace safety regulations. As a result, a wide range of different industries are affected, including construction workers, farmworkers, facilities maintenance workers, road crews, and anyone else whose job requires them to frequently work outdoors. For employees, it is normal to have questions about their rights and the workers’ comp claims process, especially after suffering a heat or smoke related medical issue. Our law firm can answer questions about workers’ comp in Washington.

Call Our Seattle, WA Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ comp attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of injured workers. If you or your loved one was injured or made ill while working outdoors due to heat or wildfire smoke, we can help. Call us now or send us a message to set up a no cost, no commitment initial review of your case. From our Seattle law office location, we advocate for the rights of injured workers throughout the region.

delivery injuriesAccording to a report from The Seattle Times, Amazon delivery drivers are injured at a disproportionately high rate, and that rate is increasing. A study published by the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC)—a labor rights organization—found that nearly 20 percent of delivery drivers working for Amazon were hurt on the job in 2021. That represents a nearly 40 percent increase from the previous year. Here, our Seattle workers’ compensations attorneys discuss the risk that Amazon delivery drivers face and explain your options if you are injured while working for the company.

Study: Amazon Delivery Drivers Put Under High Pressure, Injured at Disproportionate Rates

In its report, The Worst Mile, the SOC notes that Amazon has seen record revenues during the COVID-19 outbreak. The company strongly emphasizes fast delivery times and puts its entire team—from warehouse workers to delivery drivers—under high pressure to meet performance expectations. Sadly, there are serious concerns about worker safety at the company.

With nearly 1 in 5 Amazon delivery drivers hurt on the job in 2021, these workers are injured at higher rates than comparable workers at other companies. Alarmingly, the number of serious injuries for delivery drivers at Amazon also jumped significantly in 2021. In 2021, there was a 47 percent increase in serious delivery driver injuries from 2020.

The Most Common Amazon Delivery Driver Injuries

The SOC analyzes comprehensive workers’ compensation claims data from several states. In doing so, the nonprofit organization determined that Amazon delivery drivers are injured in a wide range of different ways. Here are the five most common types of Amazon delivery driver injuries in 2021:

  1. Slips, trips, and other fall accidents;
  2. Overexertion injuries (muscle strains);
  3. Dog bite injuries;
  4. Motor vehicle collisions; and
  5. Striking-an-object injuries.

Other Worker Safety Concerns at Amazon

Delivery drivers are not the only Amazon employees that are reportedly injured at disproportionate rates. Earlier this year, CNBC cited a study that found that Amazon warehouse workers are approximately two times more likely to be harmed on the job than warehouse workers at other companies. Many warehouses suffer muscle strains, back injuries, and other overexertion and repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). Notably, Amazon admitted that warehouse worker safety was a problem at the company. In its own report to shareholders, the company stated that a highly disproportionate share of warehouse workers are injured within their first six months on the job.

Washington Hit Amazon with Workplace Safety Fines Earlier this Year

Workplace safety regulators in Washington are taking notice of the issues at Amazon. As reported by Business Insider, the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) fined Amazon $60,000 for “knowingly putting workers at risk of injury.The specific violation occurred at one of the company’s fulfillment centers in Kent, WA. L&I determined that Amazon’s practice created an impermissible risk of work-related back injuries, shoulder injuries, wrist injuries, and knee injuries.

Injured as an Amazon Delivery Driver? Know Your Rights

In Washington State, all employers are required to provide no-fault workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Many delivery drivers are not employed directly by Amazon—instead, they are employed by the company’s so-called delivery service partners or DSPs. Still, your employer is required to provide you with workers’ compensation coverage. Here is what you need to know about your rights and options:

  • Workers’ Compensation Claim: Any injury should be immediately reported to your supervisor and/or employer. Get medical treatment and follow-up care. You can file a workers’ compensation claim regardless of fault as these are no-fault claims. Your workers’ compensation benefits will cover medical care that is “proper and necessary” as well as partial wage replacement.
  • Third Party Liability Claim: Amazon delivery drivers hurt on the job may also have a third party liability claim. If you were harmed because of the negligence of any party other than your employer—another driver, a dog owner, etc.—you can file a personal injury claim directly against that party. In Washington State, you can still file for workers’ compensation benefits even if you intend on pursuing a third party liability claim.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Seattle

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle work injury attorneys are committed to helping clients secure the maximum available financial compensation. If you or your loved one was hurt while working as a delivery driver for Amazon, we are here to help. Call us now or send us a message to arrange a no cost, no commitment initial consultation. With a law office in Seattle, we provide legal representation to injured workers in King County and throughout Western Washington.

Work Injury Claim DeniedWorkplace safety remains a serious concern. According to data cited by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 900,000 workers nationwide miss time on the job each year due to an occupational injury or an occupational illness. Workers’ compensation insurance provides financial protection to people hurt on the job.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get a workers’ compensation claim paid. You may be required to challenge a denial through an administrative appeal or even through superior court. While jury trials are relatively uncommon in workers’ compensation claims, they do happen. Here, our Seattle workers’ comp lawyers highlight the key things to know about superior court jury trials in Washington.

You Have the Right to Appeal a Workers’ Compensation Denial in Washington

If your workers’ comp claim was denied in Washington, you have the right to file an appeal. As explained by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), the workers’ compensation appeals process generally starts with an administrative appeal. You may appeal directly to the  Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA) within 60 days of the date of an adverse decision. The BIIA is a quasi-judicial body, independent from the Department of Labor & Industries, that decides workers’ compensation disputes. At the BIIA, you will present testimony, which may include lay witnesses, vocational witnesses, and medical witnesses. The Employer or the Department usually will also present testimony. An Industrial Appeals Judge considers all the evidence and issues a decision. 

Injured Workers Can Challenge an Adverse Decision from the BIAA in Superior Court

If you receive an unfavorable decision from the BIIA, you have the right to take your workers’ compensation claim to court to be decided by a judge or a jury. Indeed, any party that disagrees with any portion of the final order issued by the BIIA can file an appeal in superior court. In Washington State, a workers’ compensation trial should occur in either:

  • The superior court in the county where the worker lives; or
  • The superior court in the county where the injury happened.

A workers’ compensation case that makes it to superior court is a trial. Each side will have an opportunity to present their side of the case, though, there are some important limitations that you need to be aware of. With very limited exceptions, the superior court is restricted to reviewing the “claim record”—meaning the parties typically cannot introduce new evidence. The court will consider the same evidence that was presented to the BIIA, which is read to the judge or jury.

Deadline to Appeal to Superior Court: In Washington, injured workers have 30 days from the date a final order is entered in their workers’ comp claim to file an appeal to a superior court. If you fail to file your appeal in time, you could miss out on your opportunity to take your claim to court.

Understanding Workers’ Comp Trials: How a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help

Workers’ comp jury trials are complicated. To get a successful result on appeal, you must be prepared to present comprehensive supporting evidence. An experienced Seattle workers’ compensation lawyer will help you build a compelling case, which must be developed at the BIIA stage. Some of the key evidence in a workers’ compensation trial in Washington includes:

  • The personal testimony of the injured worker;
  • Supporting testimony from eyewitnesses;
  • Contemporaneous notes;
  • Medical records, including pre-work injury medical records;
  • Employment records; and
  • Any other evidence deemed relevant.

Every workers’ compensation appeal is different. It is imperative that you have a strong, experienced advocate by your side as early on as possible in the claims process. At The Walthew Law Firm, our Washington workers’ compensation appeals attorneys have extensive experience handling all aspects of work injury appeals, including before the BIIA and in superior court. 

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Seattle

At The Walthew Law Firm, our top Seattle workers’ compensation attorneys provide pragmatic, results-focused legal guidance and support to employees hurt on the job. If you have any questions about workers’ compensation superior court jury trials, we are here to help. Give us a phone call or use our online contact form for a no cost, completely confidential consultation. Our attorneys advocate for injured workers throughout Western Washington, including Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma.

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