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How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
In Washington, businesses that have at least one employee are usually required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage provides benefits for medical care, wage replacement, and other expenses if an employee is injured on the job.
If you suffer a workplace injury, you have the right to file one of these claims. Here are the steps that you need to take to file a workers’ compensation claim in Washington state.
Seek Medical Care
The very first step that you should take after a workplace accident is to seek emergency medical attention. Your medical records will serve as a valuable piece of evidence for your workers’ compensation claim; they help prove the nature and extent of your injury as well as the treatment that you require.
For your initial treatment, you can see any medical provider that you choose. However, you must see a doctor in the Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) network for follow-up care. L&I is the government agency responsible for administering workers’ compensation claims.
Report Your Accident to Your Employer
Next, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Once your employer received notice of your claim, he or she will provide you with a special Report of Accident form. You will need to complete this document and submit it to L&I.
After L&I receives your report, it will evaluate your case and determine whether you are eligible for benefits. The agency will then issue a decision. If you are approved, you will also receive information about the value of your medical and disability benefits.
Appeal the Claim, If Necessary
In some cases, L&I will deny your workers’ compensation claim. There are several reasons as to why you may be ineligible for benefits:
- The agency believes that your injury occurred due to a pre-existing condition and not because of your job.
- The agency does not believe that your injury occurred at work or while you were performing your duties.
- The agency believes that your injury occurred because of misconduct or unauthorized activities, like horseplay or violence.
If you disagree with L&I’s decision to deny your claim, or if the agency does not provide you with adequate compensation, you have the right to file an appeal. In these situations, you should consult with a Washington workers’ compensation lawyer to build your case for an appeal.
Speak to a Lawyer about Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be a complicated process. In these situations, you want to ensure that your best interests and rights are protected. Hiring a Washington workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate your claim and secure the benefits that you need to recover.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help you gather evidence, fill out the necessary paperwork, and advocate for your maximum possible settlement. If L&I denies your claim, your lawyer will represent you during your appeal and fight aggressively to overturn the agency’s decision.
As soon as possible following your workplace injury, seek medical care and save your records. Then, reach out to a Washington workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your next steps.