Tacoma Auto Accident Attorneys

Washington State L&I Pension

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

Unfortunately, car crashes happen to even the safest of drivers. Insurance industry groups estimate that the average motorist will be in four to six traffic collisions during their lifetime. While any collision is stressful, a car accident is all the more complicated during adverse winter weather.

Winter Driving Accident TipsWinter weather accidents are a risk in western Washington. It is crucial that drivers know what to do after a crash and how to properly prepare for the winter driving season. In this article, our Seattle car accident lawyers highlight the key things you need to know about winter weather driving in Washington.

Know the Dangers of Winter Driving in Washington

It is no surprise that winter weather increases the risk of an accident. Winter is associated with the potential for slick roads, reduced visibility, and a greater percentage of nighttime driving. Unfortunately, while most people are broadly aware of the risks of driving in adverse winter weather, crashes remain a very serious public safety problem. According to a report from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), approximately 115,000 people are injured and 1,300 people are killed in winter weather-related accidents each year.

Washington drivers need to be ready for winter weather. The FHWA classifies the entire state as a ‘snowy region’—regions where adverse winter weather is likely to occur at least a few times per year. Although the City of Seattle only averages a few inches of snow annually, you do not have to travel far towards the Cascades to get to areas that receive enormous amounts of snow each year.

Six Steps to Take If You are Involved in a Winter Car Accident

Following a winter traffic collision, it is imperative that you know how to protect your health, your family, and your legal rights. There are some basic things to do to put yourself in the best position to recover from the collision. Here are six steps that you should take after a winter weather motor vehicle accident in Washington:

  1. Stop Your Vehicle: Under Washington law, all drivers are required to stop their vehicle and remain at the scene of a collision, except for emergency medical needs. You should get immediate medical care for any serious injuries.
  2. Call the Police: If someone was hurt or there was significant property damage, the crash should be reported to law enforcement. Call the police right away.
  3. Control the Scene: Winter weather collisions can be especially frightening. You need to get yourself and your family to safety. Whether that means staying somewhere warm or moving away from a slick stop where a moving vehicle could slide, safety should always come first.
  4. Exchange Information and Document the Crash: The more information you have, the easier it will be to bring a car accident injury claim. Beyond exchanging information with the other driver(s) involved in the wreck, make sure you take pictures of the crash and the road, and record any other relevant details.
  5. Seek Medical Care for Any Injuries: All car accident injuries should be evaluated by a doctor. Even if you do not require emergency care, make sure you get an examination. You cannot bring a car accident injury claim for compensation without medical records.
  6. Be Ready to Call a Lawyer: If you or your loved one was hurt in a crash, it is best to consult with a car accident attorney before giving a statement to an insurance adjuster—even if that representative is from your own insurer.

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for the Winter Driving Season

With winter driving in our region, careful preparations can make all of the difference. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) recommends that motorists take the following four precautions:

  1. Put together a winter weather road safety kit, including blankets, hand warmers, flashlights, and bottled water;
  2. Drive slower and leave additional distance between vehicles;
  3. Make sure you have the proper traction on your tires; and
  4. Check the road and weather conditions before starting your trip. When in doubt, do not drive.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Car Accident Attorney in Seattle

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Washington car accident injury lawyers fight aggressively to protect the rights and interests of our clients. If you or someone you know was hurt in a winter weather traffic collision, we are available to help. Contact our firm now for a free, no obligation initial consultation. We represent motor vehicle accident victims throughout Western Washington, including in Seattle, Tacoma, Renton, Lakewood, Bremerton, Marysville, and Lynnwood.

It has been a difficult year for public health in our region. The Washington State Department of Health reports that more than 227,000 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed as of December 25. Unfortunately, the virus continues to spread at higher rates—more cases were reported in Washington in November than in any other month of the pandemic.

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health problem in Washington, more and more people have questions about telehealth services. State officials have put some temporary regulations in place to facilitate virtual health services. Here, our Washington workers’ comp lawyers provide an overview of remote medical visits, COVID-19, and work injury claims.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is a broad term used to describe medical services through electronic and telecommunication technologies, including remote medical visits. Because Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) created regulations that allowed for telehealth visits.  Initially scheduled to end in July 2020, L&I extended authorization for telehealth visits through June 30, 2021.

What are the Benefits of Remote Medical Visits?

Remote medical visits offer significant potential benefits to injured workers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, while substantially reducing the risk of contracting the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), the benefits of telehealth services and remote medical visits include:

  • Lower risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus;
  • Quicker access to necessary medical services, particularly screening;   
  • Better monitoring of ongoing treatment and patient progress; and
  • Effective follow-up care for patients.

Remote Medical Visits and Your L&I Claim: Understanding the Basics

If you or your loved one was hurt on the job in Washington, you are entitled to all medical care that is proper and necessary. Under Washington’s workers’ comp laws, proper and necessary medical treatment can include remote medical visits and other types of telehealth services. To get remote medical care covered under workers’ compensation insurance in Washington, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The telehealth provider must be properly licensed and part of L&I’s Provider Network;
  2. The worker must have previously established care with the medical provider.  The worker can stay in his or her own home for the telehealth visit;
  3. The remote medical visit must include both audio and video; and
  4. The telehealth provider should submit the proper report/documentation authorizing the remote medical exam.

Additionally, the injured worker’s medical provider can complete, sign, and submit an Activity Prescription Form (APF) during a telehealth visit.  L&I updates its rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 and telehealth visits to protect injured workers.

Important: Emergency COVID-19 Regulations Allow In-Home Remote Medical Visits

Under pre-COVID rules, origination sites are medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. In normal times, a worker cannot use their own home as an origination site. However, the State of Washington has put temporary emergency regulations in place to allow injured workers to get remote medical services from their homes.

Remote IMEs

On July 29, 2020, the Department of Labor & Industries updated its official Temporary Record Review & Telehealth Independent Medical Exams (IME) Policy.  LNI wrote:

Labor and Industries (L&I) is temporarily allowing the delivery of independent medical exams (IME) via telehealth, and record reviews. This temporary telehealth policy helps limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while still allowing exams to occur.

This allows injured workers to use their own home for the purposes of an IME.  The policy is currently set to expire on June 30, 2021. At that point, Washington’s workers’ comp telehealth regulations will revert back to the pre-COVID-19 rules.

Know the Limits of Telehealth and Workers’ Comp in Washington

Injured workers should understand the limitations of remote medical visits and telehealth services. While remote medical visits can be a very useful tool, they may not be sufficient for full treatment and evaluation.  As mentioned above, remote medical visits are useful for follow-up appointments and psychotherapy services.

Get Help from Our Washington Workers’ Comp Attorneys Today

At The Walthew Law Firm, our workers’ compensation lawyers deliver reliable, effective legal services to clients. If you have any questions about remote medical visits, our attorneys are ready to answer your questions. We are fully prepared to help you during a virtual legal consultation. Contact us today to set up a free, completely confidential review of your legal case. With office locations in Seattle and Everett, our law firm represents injured workers throughout the wider Puget Sound region, including in Kirkland, Bellevue, Kent, Vashon Island, Federal Way, Tacoma, Buckley, and Olympia.

Washington State L&I Medical Care

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

Social media helps people connect and share their lives with friends and family members. No longer are popular sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter merely for young people. While just five percent of American adults were on social media in 2005, the Pew Research Center reports that nearly three quarters of people use at least one social media site. While use of these platforms is common and unproblematic for the most part, it is important for injured workers to understand that your social media posts could undermine your workers’ compensation claim.
social media At The Walthew Law Firm, our Seattle workers’ compensation lawyers are strong advocates for the rights and interests of injured workers and their families. Our legal team wants to ensure that everyone has the information that they need to protect themselves. Here, we explain the most important things that you should know about the risks associated with posting on social media while your work injury claim is in progress.

Social Media Posts Can Be Taken Out of Context and Used to Downplay Your Injuries

Social media posts are not automatically protected by law. Anything you choose to share on social media can be used as admissible evidence in a workers’ compensation case, a personal injury case, or other legal matters. This means your posts could potentially be seen by your employer, an insurance adjuster, or someone from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).
Unfortunately, a social media post can also be taken out of context and used to paint a misleading picture. As an example, imagine that you suffered a significant back injury on the job. You filed a workers’ compensation claim to receive medical care and time loss benefits. During your recovery, you post a picture of yourself smiling while taking a walk in the park on a bright sunny day.
A claims manager could try to use that post to argue that your injury is not “that bad.” After all, you are out there enjoying a nice day. Of course, that one social media post fails to show the whole picture—that a doctor recommended walking to help with your recovery or the pain you experienced on the ride over to the park. Nonetheless, it is best not to give L&I or your employer any excuse to deny your claim.

Enhanced Privacy Settings are Helpful—But They Offer No Guarantees

You do not want your social media account to undermine your workers’ compensation claim. A common question: Can I protect myself by changing my privacy settings? The answer is possibly—but even the strongest privacy settings are not a full guarantee of protection. Information that you share on the internet can spread—potentially to people who are not part of your friends’ and family’s network. If your workers’ comp claim goes to litigation, attorneys for L&I or your self-insured employer, through legally authorized discovery, can request a full and complete copy of all of your social media accounts, including all pictures and posts.

Best Practice: Limit Your Social Media Posts Until Your Claim is Resolved

With social media and workers’ compensation, the best practice is to exercise an abundance of caution. You do not want your social media posts to jeopardize your claim or your benefits. While your workers’ compensation claim is active, it is strongly recommended you limit your social media posts. This is especially important if your initial workers’ compensation claim was denied or you are otherwise in a dispute with L&I or your self-insured employer.
The bottom line: Remember, it is easy for social media content to get taken out of context. A post that you think is harmless could still cause problems. Do not let Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or any other social media platform lead to a potential fraud order or benefit denial in your workers’ compensation claim.

Contact Our Seattle, WA, Workers’ Comp Lawyers for Help With Your Case

At The Walthew Law Firm, our Washington workers’ compensation attorneys provide trustworthy, results-driven legal advocacy to injured workers and their families. If you have any questions about workers’ compensation and social media, we are more than ready to protect your rights. Contact us today for a free, completely confidential initial consultation. With legal offices in Seattle and Everett, we serve communities throughout the entire region, including Bellevue, Tacoma, Renton, Federal Way, Lakewood, Redmond, Bremerton, and Vashon Island.

Washington State Frequently Asked L&I Questions

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

An Overview of the L&I Claims Process

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

What’s Your L&I Claim Worth in Washington State?

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

Washington State L&I Benefits

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

Meet Caroline A. Golshan

Meet Caroline A. Golshan

Caroline Golshan graduated magna cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in 2020 and was admitted to the Washington State Bar in August 2020.

Caroline worked as a Rule 9 Law Clerk at The Walthew Law Firm and at Seattle University’s Workers’ Rights Clinic. She also served as a Lead Article Editor for the Seattle University Law Review, where she published her own work, The Modification of Washington’s Nondelegable Duty Doctrine in a Post-Afoa II State. Caroline was honored to receive a summer fellowship with the Washington State Association for Justice in 2019. Prior to law school, Caroline had 5 years’ experience working in law firms and gained exposure to multiple practice areas including personal injury, workers’ compensation, employment law, civil litigation, and family law.

Caroline lives in Seattle with her husband, Alex, and her French bulldog, Zoe.

Learn about the Walthew Difference

Watch videos on our areas of business

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Workers’ Compensation

Bar Admissions

  • Washington, 2020

Education

  • Seattle University School of Law, 2020

Honors and Awards

  • Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society member
  • CALI Award Recipient: Legal Writing I, Legal Writing II, & Contracts
  • Metzger Legal Writing Scholarship
  • Trustee Scholarship
  • Year End Achievement Scholarship

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Washington State Association for Justice, Eagle Member
  • King County Bar Association

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller

Our Attorneys

Patrick C.
Cook

Michael J.
Costello

Attorney Caroline Golshan

Caroline A.
Golshan

Kathleen K.
Kindred

Thomas A.
Thompson

Jonathan K.
Winemiller