Our primary practice area is Washington workers’ compensation. Most workplace injuries and occupational diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome result in a claim for benefits under Washington’s Industrial Insurance Act.
Claims are filed by seeing a doctor and completing the necessary forms within specific time periods prescribed by law. Large employers are often “self-insured” but these employers must pay the same types of workers’ compensation benefits to their injured workers. These benefits include the following:
Medical treatment (whether diagnostic, curative, or rehabilitative) for the work related injury or occupational disease and any other related medical or psychiatric conditions.
“Timeloss compensation” or “loss of earning power” benefits for lost wages related to the injury or occupational disease.
Certain travel expenses related to the injury or occupational disease.
Vocational retraining if the injury or occupational disease results in the worker being unemployable.
A monetary award for “permanent partial disability” if the injury or occupational disease results in permanent impairment.
A lifetime pension if the injury or occupational disease results in the worker being permanently unable to return to the workforce.
Survivor’s benefits to the surviving spouse of a worker who dies from an industrial injury or occupational disease.
Structured settlements, sidebar settlements, interest for delayed timeloss compensation, attorney fees, and penalties against self-insured employers can also be pursued in certain situations.
Washington’s laws and regulations regarding workers’ compensation are complicated and injured workers often fail to receive benefits to which they are entitled.
Injured workers often receive letters or formal legal “orders” denying a claim, denying treatment, stopping benefits, or making some other type of adverse decision. These decisions can be confusing, are often wrong and they must be correctly disputed to prevent them from becoming final.
Physicians who treat injured workers are often unaware of what benefits are available under the law. Injured workers are often asked to attend “Independent Medical Examinations” by physicians who are biased and unfair to workers. These IME reports often result in workers’ compensation benefits being wrongly denied.
Social Security Disability
We also represent disabled individuals who have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. To qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, an individual must be unable to work, due to an injury or disease of any kind, for twelve continuous months. These benefits are often initially denied, making it necessary to request a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration.
Social Security rules are different than workers’ compensation rules but many people with workers’ compensation claims are also entitled to Social Security benefits. It is usually beneficial to pursue both claims in case one is unsuccessful. Having the same attorney handle both claims is beneficial because of the ways in which they affect one another. Attorney fees for Social Security claims are capped by federal law.