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Workers' Compensation

 

Work Related Injuries

Our clients’ workers’ compensation cases are varied and include industrial injuries, occupational disease claims, rejected claims, time loss claims, loss of earning power claims, and pursuit of acceptance of conditions related to the original industrial injury or occupational disease. Eggerman Law Firm will review the details of each case to make certain that all workers compensation benefits are being paid correctly. We also address all other issues related to a claim, which might include termination of time loss compensation, payment of loss-of-earning-power benefits, payment of permanent partial disability awards, aggravation or worsening of related conditions, and total permanent disability (pension) benefits.

We handle your workers compensation insurance claims in a team-oriented setting and with great attention to detail. In work injury cases, timing is crucial, and this includes your decision to retain an attorney.

During your initial consultation via telephone or at our office, we will review with you the pertinent background information about your claim, preliminarily identify the problems on your claim, and advise you of your rights under the Industrial Insurance laws and inform you on how you might best benefit from a workers’ compensation lawyer. Our goal is to make certain that your rights are protected and that you receive all of your benefits under the Workers’ Compensation laws of the State of Washington in a timely manner.

What are the time limits for filing an industrial injury or an occupational disease claim?

An industrial injury claim – In most cases must be filed with the Department of Labor & Industries or self-insured employer within one year of the date of the injury or the claim will be rejected. The sooner you file the claim the better.

An occupational disease claim – These must be filed within two years of when your doctor advises you in writing that your work produced your symptomatic physical condition and that you should file a claim. It is best to file the claim as soon as you and your doctor determine that your physical condition is related to the work you are or have performed in the past.

For hearing loss claims – The claim must be filed within two years of last exposure to work-related noise. If the claim is filed after that two-year deadline, you will only be entitled to medical treatment and hearing aids, but no permanent partial disability award for occupational hearing loss.

It is usually best to file any claims as soon as possible.

What determines the amount of compensation I receive in my workers’ compensation insurance claim?

The amount of time loss compensation you receive is established by statute, and is determined by your wages at the time of injury. You are paid a percentage of those wages (60%, up to a maximum set by workers compensation law) with additional percentages for spouse and dependents, all subject to a maximum rate equal to 100% of the average monthly wage of all employment in this state. Compensation for permanent physical or mental impairment is paid pursuant to a statutory schedule of benefits in effect on the date of your injury or when your occupational condition arises. Many compensation issues are driven by the opinion of your doctor.

What do I do if my claim is rejected or the Department denies benefits on my claim?

All Department orders must contain the following language: This order shall become final within sixty days from the date the order is communicated to the parties unless a written request for reconsideration is filed with the Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, or an appeal is filed with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, Olympia. Any decision made by the Department of Labor & Industries by formal written order will become final within 60 days of the date of receipt, unless protested in writing to the Department of Labor & Industries or appealed in writing to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.

Always review each order to be certain that you agree with it. If you do not, then either file a request for reconsideration, or appeal, within the time limit or contact our office. If you are ever unclear about an order, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for clarification.

How long am I entitled to receive treatment for my injuries?

The law provides that medical treatment is covered until the conditions resulting from your injuries are judged by medical opinion to have become medically fixed and stable. The Department or employer is entitled to submit you to periodic medical evaluations to determine whether or not further treatment will likely improve your condition. Disputes frequently arise over treatment issues because of conflicting medical opinions, a workers’ compensation lawyer in the claim can often help to resolve such conflicts.

How do I make a request for reconsideration or appeal an unfavorable order from the Department of Labor & Industries?

If you receive a denial or rejection order from the Department, you should contact our office as soon as possible so that we can review your claim and take appropriate action within the protest or appeal period. Taking an appeal to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals before speaking with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney may lead to delays in benefits or difficulty in finding an attorney to take your appeal. In many instances, a further protest to a higher level adjudicator at the Department of Labor & Industries can expedite payment of benefits without the necessity of an appeal.

Can I sue my employer or my co-worker for causing the injury?

The Washington State Workers’ Compensation laws are no fault, meaning you have the right to benefits even if you are at fault for the injury. The law generally prohibits any lawsuit against your employer or coworker, with the very limited exception of deliberately caused injuries. Please contact our office for a further explanation.

Can I sue someone else for causing my injury on the job?

Yes. If a third party, other than your employer or coworker, causes the injury, then a third-party action can be brought against the negligent person or company. Examples are a car accident caused by someone else, injury by defective products or machinery manufactured by a company other than your employer, or injury by a general or subcontractor on a construction site. Any lawsuit would need to be brought within the time provided by law. The Eggerman Law Firm has experience in each of these types of third party lawsuits.

You can receive your benefits under your workers’ compensation claim while pursuing a third-party action. The Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer will have a lien on any third-party recovery, with allowance for attorney fees and costs in bringing the third-party action.

The Eggerman Law Firm is experienced in all of the above legal areas and can discuss your case with you to determine if there is a third-party component to your case that you should pursue.

If you have workers’ compensation questions, please contact us at 425-828-9509 or email eggermanlaw@isomedia.com Our initial consultation in this practice area is usually at no charge.

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