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Colburn Law

Bellevue Workers Compensation Attorney

Construction worker holding injured back

If you suffer an accident on the job in Bellevue, you will face a number of challenges you are likely not prepared for. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may have to stop working for weeks or even months to recover and have to handle thousands of dollars in medical expenses. When you return to work, you may not able to perform the same functions – and in some cases, you may not be able to return to work at all.

Washington state law allows you to collect benefits for these injuries under the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) workers’ compensation program. However, filing a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult while recovering from an injury – and Colburn Law can help.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Under Washington state law, employers must provide a form of workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. Workers’ compensation helps protect all people involved in a company from the financial burden of an unexpected workplace accident or illness.

Employers have two options to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.

  • Employers can purchase their insurance through L&I directly. L&I is the governing board that manages workers’ compensation claims and disburses benefits through the Washington State Fund. Your employer may take a portion of your paycheck as a premium for workers’ compensation insurance, which goes into the Washington State Fund.
  • Employers can self-insure their employees if they satisfy certain criteria. They must have at least $25 million in assets, an administrative body to cover workers’ compensation claims, and an accident prevention program.

Why Choose Colburn Law for a Workers Comp Claim?

Since the opening of our firm, Colburn Law has worked tirelessly to help residents of Bellevue, Seattle, and the surrounding areas seek the compensation they need after a workplace accident. Our clients choose us for our dedication, years of experience, and familiarity with the workers’ compensation process.

  • We understand how difficult it can be to seek help after an accident. Our attorney will gladly meet with you at your home, hospital room, or another convenient place to discuss your case and learn your story.
  • Our firm values honest, open, and direct communication through the entire workers’ compensation process. We will work closely with you each step of the way, and you will communicate directly with our attorney, Greg Colburn.
  • Greg Colburn knows firsthand how an injury can affect your life. In 2002, he suffered severe injuries due to negligence on the part of a roofing subcontractor. After being wheelchair-bound for two years and undergoing countless treatments, Greg dedicated his life to helping other injured people seek the compensation they need to recover.

Is Washington a Monopolistic State for Workers’ Comp?

There are two types of state laws when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance: monopolistic and competitive markets. Monopolistic states require employers to purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a specific government-operated insurance fund, while competitive market states allow for the purchase of private insurance.

Four states operate under a monopolistic workers’ compensation insurance: Ohio, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Washington. Washington’s governing board for workers’ compensation insurance is the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). Workers receive benefits out of the Washington State Fund.

Common Types of Workplace Injuries

Workplace injuries range in severity, from overexertion when typing or lifting heavy objects to spinal cord injuries when falling from a construction site. You may experience minor cuts and bruises, or grapple with lifelong impairments as a result of an accident at work.

Some of the most common types of workplace injuries include the following.

  • Closed head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones, fractures, and sprains
  • Repetitive stress injuries, usually as a result of a desk job
  • Burns, cuts, and scrapes
  • Amputation of your extremities, such as hands, arms, legs, and feet
  • Herniated disks and other back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in Washington State?

The process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits will depend on whether or not your employer has L&I insurance. If your employer does not have L&I insurance, your company will have a unique workers’ compensation process. Contact your employer for more information on how to file a claim.

If your employer has L&I insurance, you will take the following steps to file your claim.

  • As soon as the injury occurs, report the incident to your employer and seek medical attention. You may have to go to a specific doctor determined by your employer, or you can go to one of your choosing.
  • While you are at the doctor’s office or hospital, inform the medical staff that you suffered an injury while working. They may provide an accident report for you to fill out. Save all pieces of documentation you receive during this process – they will serve as important evidence when you file your claim.
  • Next, you will have to file an accident report for your injury. You can file this report by requesting a form at the doctor’s office, online on the L&I website, or you can call L&I directly.
  • The doctor who treated you will determine whether or not you suffered your injury while working, or contracted your illness as a result of the job. If your doctor cannot certify that you suffered your injury or illness due to work, L&I likely will not approve your claim. You may appeal this decision.

Under the L&I process, you have one year from the date of your injury to file your workers’ compensation claim. If you are suffering from an occupational illness, you have two years from the date of your doctor’s diagnosis to file. It is important to follow these deadlines – if you file after this timeframe, L&I will deny your claim.

What Do You Do If Your Claim Is Rejected?

L&I does not approve all workers’ compensation claims, and your self-insured employer may deny your claim as well. In these situations, you have two options to overturn the decision.

  • You can protest the denial directly with your employer or with L&I. You have 60 days from the date you received the decision to send L&I or your employer a written protest. The Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals will then take over your claim and hold a hearing to assess its validity. If you do not send the protest within this timeframe, you will lose your right to appeal.
  • You can file an appeal with the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals directly. The Board will hold a hearing and determine whether or not you have a right to workers’ compensation benefits.

If the Board denies your claim again, you may also file a lawsuit to recover workers’ compensation benefits. In these situations, contact Colburn Law to assist you with the legal process.

Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation in Bellevue

An unexpected workplace injury or illness can cause significant damage to you and your family. With a successful workers’ compensation claim, you can collect the following benefits to help you recover from this incident.

  • You can claim medical expenses related to the treatment of your work-related injury or illness. These benefits can cover hospitalizations, surgeries, mobility equipment, and physical therapy appointments, depending on the circumstances of your accident.
  • If you have to travel over 15 miles to visit a health care provider, workers’ compensation can provide partial funding to help cover your transportation expenses.
  • You may need medication to treat your injuries or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits can provide payments to cover any prescription medication for certain accepted conditions.
  • During the course of your treatment, you may lose wages while you are away from work. You could receive a portion of these lost wages through a workers’ compensation claim.
  • You may experience damage to personal property during an accident at work. Workers’ compensation benefits will provide funding to replace the following items: prescription glasses, clothing, personal protective equipment, shoes, or contacts.

You can also claim a series of disability benefits, which vary based on the severity of your injury, the extent that your injury prevents you from working, and whether or not your disability is permanent.

  • You will receive temporary disability benefits if you are suffering from a condition that will temporarily prevent you from performing your normal job duties. Depending on the severity of your injury, you can receive between 60% and 75% of your average monthly wages under these benefits, up to a certain amount.
  • If you can work part-time or on a reduced-duty, you may not make as much as you normally do. In these situations, you can receive temporary partial disability benefits. You can receive up to 80% of the difference between your regular wages and your current wages.
  • You can receive permanent partial disability benefits if your injury is severe enough to disable you partially. The state of Washington calculates these benefits based on a schedule of losses that assign a dollar amount to different types of disabilities.
  • Permanent total disability benefits, also known as life pension, occur when your work-related injury causes a permanent and complete disability. You can receive benefits at the same rate as temporary total disability for as long as the disability lasts – in these situations, for the remainder of your life. Only certain disabilities qualify for this type of benefit, including the loss of extremities or the ability to see.

Under workers’ compensation insurance, you can claim the above benefits to help you recover from your workplace-related injury or illness. However, you will need to prove that you suffered the injury during the course of your job duties to qualify for this compensation. Contact Colburn Law to assist you with building your case.

Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The workers’ compensation process in Washington can be complex, and many people can face denials due to improperly filed paperwork, lost evidence, and more. As a result, they can’t receive the benefits they need to recover – but with an attorney, your chances of filing a successful claim can increase.

When you hire Colburn Law, you will have access to a firm with significant experience in helping Bellevue residents seek compensation through L&I and self-insured employers. We know how the process works and can guide you through it, step by step. In addition, our firm has a number of resources and experts we can utilize to build a compelling case in your favor.

Trust Colburn Law with Your Bellevue Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you are suffering from the aftermath of a work-related injury or illness in Bellevue, Colburn Law can help. We will walk you through the Washington workers’ compensation process, help you collect the evidence you need to prove your claim, and assist you with any appeals processes that may occur.

Contact Colburn Law today to schedule your free consultation at our offices.