How Much Does Washington State Workers’ Compensation Pay?
September 28, 2022
If you miss time from work while recovering from a work-related injury or illness in Washington State, the workers’ compensation system entitles you to receive a portion of your lost wages. These benefits are paid by the Department of Labor & Industries or by your self-insured employer. Under the workers’ comp system, benefits do not begin until you have missed at least three days from work following your injury, although you will be paid for those three days if you are still out of work on the 14th day following your injury.
Benefits for lost wages due to missed time from work are called “time-loss compensation” benefits. When you file a workers’ compensation claim with L&I or your self-insured employer and your treating physician gives L&I and your employer notice that you cannot work due to your work injury or occupational illness, you will become eligible for time-loss compensation after missing three days from work. The first benefit check will be mailed or wired to you within 14 days after L&I or your employer is given notice of your inability to work.
Benefit checks will be mailed or wired twice per month so long as your doctor continues to certify that you cannot work due to your work-related injury or illness. You will also need to sign a worker verification form and send it to your L&I claim manager or to your self-insured employer.
If you received mailed paper checks, the checks will expire and cannot be cashed after 180 days. Within two years of the issue date, you can request L&I to reissue the check. After two years, you will need to contact the Washington Department of Revenue to file an unclaimed property claim.
How Much Are Time-Loss Payments?
Time-loss compensation payments only provide you with a portion of your lost wages. You can expect to receive anywhere from 60 to 75 percent of your pre-injury/illness average weekly wage or income, depending on the number of dependents you have. In addition, time-loss payments are subject to minimum and maximum dollar amounts set annually by the state legislature. Therefore, high-income earners may have their benefits capped to the state maximum limit, while a part-time worker may end up receiving more than the typical 60 to 75 percent of average weekly wages.
Time-loss compensation is considered a disability benefit rather than earned income, so the benefits you receive while on workers’ comp are not subject to income taxation.
Loss of Earning Power Benefits
In addition to time-loss compensation benefits, the Washington State workers’ compensation system also offers loss of earning power benefits. These benefits may be available when an injured or ill worker is cleared by their doctor to perform light duty or part-time duty. If an employer can offer a worker a light-duty or part-time role within their medical restrictions, the worker is typically obligated to accept the modified role until they are medically cleared to return to their normal assignment.
If a worker normally worked full-time, or if the employer only has light-duty assignments that pay less than the worker’s typical wage, then a worker who returns to light-duty or part-time duty may be entitled to receive loss of earning power benefits if they have lost more than five percent of their average wages.
Contact a Rochester Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Workplace Injury Case in Washington State
Were you or a loved one injured due to a workplace accident in Washington State? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive workers’ comp attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Smith Duran, PS represent clients injured in Olympia, Lakewood, Auburn, and University Place. Call (360) 273-5941 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 10118 Highway 12 SW, Rochester, WA, 98579, as well as offices in Tacoma.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
The Department of Labor and Industries manages claims for injuries at work. You are entitled to money for lost wages, medical treatment, vocational retraining, loss of body function, and in some cases a pensionLEARN MORE
If your injury was caused by someone other than a co‑worker, an auto accident, or defective equipment, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Our attorney will evaluate your case.LEARN MORE