Representing Victims Of Workplace Accidents

The workers' compensation system in Washington was designed and implemented to protect injured workers and give them the security of knowing they would receive medical care and wage replacement benefits when injured on the job.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen this way. You may have to fight for proper medical treatment. You may be told that you need to return to work when you really cannot. Because of the way the system has evolved, injured employees sometimes feel that no one cares.

At the Seattle law office of Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., our attorneys care. We know the details of Washington workers' comp and use that knowledge to ensure that our clients are treated fairly and get the benefits to which they are entitled.

To learn how we can help you, call us at 844-ELK-WEST (844-355-9378) for a free consultation.

How workers' compensation works in Washington

The system is funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees (employees contribute through payroll deduction). Most workplaces are covered by the system, with the exception of sole proprietorships without employees. These types of operations can purchase insurance to cover the owner if he or she is injured. Additionally, some employers are self-insured. They have to follow all the rules established by the state's labor and industry department, but they fund their insurance differently and handle employees' claims directly. About one-third of Washington employers are self-insured.

Benefits available under Washington workers' comp

Workers' compensation provides the following benefits for workers injured on the job — regardless of who was at fault:

  • Medical benefits include doctor and other provider visits (you must use an in-network health care provider after the first visit to be covered).
  • Drug coverage is provided only for those medications related to your injury that are on the approved state list.
  • Wage replacement benefits are between 60 and 75 percent of what you earned while working. This is called time-loss compensation. Note that this does not cover the first three days of missed work. A doctor must certify that you are unable to work.
  • Personal property replacement covers glasses and contact lenses, clothing, shoes and boots, and personal protective equipment, such as a hard hat, vest or other items that are not your employer's property.
  • Travel costs to see a health care provider may be reimbursed under certain circumstances.
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits may be awarded if your accident resulted in a permanent impairment. You can still work while receiving PPD benefits — the award is based on the level of impairment as certified by a doctor and agreed to by workers' compensation. These benefits will be paid even if you are able to return to work.
  • Monthly pensions may be available to those who become blind, lose the use of (or lose altogether) both legs, both arms, or an arm and a leg. If the state finds that your injury prevents you from ever working again in any capacity, you may receive a full disability pension.

Other benefits may apply in certain situations. A workers' compensation lawyer can advise you. One thing an injured worker should know: There is no compensation available from workers' comp for pain and suffering resulting from a workplace accident. Also, there is no provision for employees whose injury was caused by negligence or recklessness on the part of the employer.

Beyond workers' comp: Other resources after an injury

At Elk & Elk, we have seen that many workers do not know that under certain circumstances, they can file a lawsuit if their injuries were caused by a third party — someone or a company other than the employer. In addition to helping injured clients obtain full and fair workers' compensation benefits, we can help them file a lawsuit against the negligent third party to obtain additional compensation. Examples of this type of claim include workers who were injured while driving for the employer by another driver who was not an employee, a worker who was injured because of a defective tool or other product, or a worker injured at a work site not owned by the employer, such as a construction site.

Call us for a free consultation if you were injured on the job

If you were injured while working, you owe it to yourself to learn about the workers' compensation system and your rights and options. Call 844-ELK-WEST (844-355-9378) or contact us online for a free initial consultation.