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The Workers Compensation Claims Process in Tacoma, WA

Workers Compensation Claims Process

Experienced Washington State Attorneys for Workers Comp Claims Guides Clients Through the Complexities of the Workers’ Compensation System in King County, Lewis County, Pierce County, Thurston County, and Throughout WA

Workers in Washington state who are injured on the job or develop an occupational disease may know that they might be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits during their recovery. But many workers who have never filed for benefits before may not know what is involved in the workers’ compensation claims process. When you need experienced guidance in filing for work injury benefits, turn to our Tacoma-based  attorneys for workers comp claims at Smith Duran Law.

Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in the workers’ compensation system. We know the consequences that injuries and illness can have on people’s lives. We have also seen the difficulty that too many workers have had trying to navigate the workers’ comp system on their own. When you have a workers’ compensation claim, let our Tacoma-based firm provide legal help and advocate on your behalf. We offer compassionate but tenacious legal representation aimed at securing the justice you deserve after suffering an injury or illness on the job. 

If you have questions about the workers’ compensation claims process in Tacoma or need legal help in recovering benefits for a work injury or occupational illness, contact Smith Duran Law for a free initial case evaluation to learn how our Washington state attorneys for workers comp claims can assist you.

What Are the Steps in the Workers Compensation Claims Process in Washington State?

A worker in Washington state who suffers a work injury or occupational disease must follow several steps in filing a workers’ compensation claim. These steps include:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible after you have been involved in a workplace accident, or after you begin experiencing symptoms of an occupational disease. Under Washington state workers’ compensation law, you have the right to seek emergency care or have a first visit with any provider of your choice and to have that care covered by medical benefits
  • Notify your employer promptly after being diagnosed with a work injury or occupational illness
  • Gather information that you will need to prepare your workers’ compensation claim, including details about how your injury or illness occurred, contact information for witnesses, your employer’s information, wage information, names and birthdates for your dependents, and the names of any providers that you have already seen for treatment
  • File a formal workers’ compensation claim with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, or directly with your employer if they are self-insured for workers’ compensation purposes. Filing with L&I can be done online or over the phone, or your treating doctor can file your claim for you if you complete a report of the accident at the doctor’s office. A workers’ compensation claim for a work injury must be filed within one year of the date of injury, while a workers’ comp claim for occupational disease must be filed within two years of the date that the disease was diagnosed and you were notified by a doctor that your disease was work-related
  • Respond to any requests from L&I or your self-insured employer for additional information to supplement your workers’ comp claim. Also, be sure to attend an independent medical examination if one is requested by L&I or your employer. If you fail to attend the IME or if you don’t provide additional requested information, your workers’ comp claim can be denied
  • Keep your information updated, including your mailing address and the names of your treating medical providers.
  • Accept any light-duty or part-time duty job offers from your employer, as long as your doctor approves you returning to work in that capacity. If you refuse work from your employer that you can do while still treating your work injury or occupational disease, your wage loss replacement benefits can be terminated.
  • If your claim is denied by L&I, you have 60 days to file a protest against L&I’s decision, or to take an appeal to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. You can also appeal to the BIIA within 60 days of L&I denying your protest of the initial L&I decision on your claim. 

Finally, you should also make time as early in the process as possible to speak with the qualified Washington state attorneys for workers comp claims at Smith Duran Law to get help with preparing your formal workers’ compensation claim paperwork and to represent your interests if you face obstacles getting your claim or benefits approved.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation to Discuss What The Experienced Washington State Attorneys for Workers Comp Claims at Our Firm Can Do to Make Getting the Benefits You Need to Go More Smoothly

After you have been hurt on the job or have been diagnosed with an occupational illness, you have legal rights under the workers’ compensation system. Contact Smith Duran Law for a free, no-obligation case review to discuss your legal options with our Washington state attorneys for workers comp claims.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Workers Compensation Claims Process in Washington

Can I file a workers’ compensation claim if I was injured outside of Washington state?

Yes. If you were injured in the course and scope of employment for an employer that maintains a place of business in Washington and you regularly work at or from that place of business in Washington, you may file a workers’ compensation claim even if your work injury took place outside of Washington. For example, if you were injured while traveling on a work trip, you may be entitled to claim workers’ comp benefits in Washington state.

What happens to my claim if I move out of Washington state?

If you move out of Washington state while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, your right to benefits does not terminate after your move. However, your claim will continue to be managed by L&I staff or by your self-insured employer. If you move out of Washington, you are required to immediately notify L&I or your self-insured employer of your new address. You are also responsible for securing new treating providers, who must be registered with L&I (even if they practice in a different state). If your provider is not registered, you can only be reimbursed for your out-of-pocket costs at L&I’s fee schedule rates.

  • Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

    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 pension.

  • Personal Injury Attorney

    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 personal injury attorney in Tacoma will evaluate your case.

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