Suffering a work-related illness or injury can leave you worrying about how you will pay your bills. Taking care of yourself and your family must continue even while you are unable to work. Fortunately, workers’ compensation payments exist to assist with medical bills and living expenses.
At Calbom & Schwab, we specialize in managing these claims and can schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Wenatchee workers’ compensation lawyers. Our team understands all aspects of the filing and claim management process in Washington State. We can guide you from start to finish.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage in Washington
Nearly every business in the state of Washington must provide workers’ compensation insurance under the Industrial Insurance Act. This insurance coverage is in place to protect workers if they become sick or are injured in a work-related incident. It also allows companies to meet their workers’ needs without having to face multiple lawsuits.
While these benefits are available to you as an employee, obtaining them can be frustrating. The process seems simple enough and, at first glance, only requires a few steps:
- Report your injury or illness to your supervisor right away, preferably in writing.
- Be seen by your company doctor so they can verify the extent of your injury or illness and confirm that it happened while you were working.
- Visit the L&I website or call the the Department of Labor and Industries or Self-Insurance administrator to begin your claim.
The time limit to file a claim for an on-the-job injury, the state of Washington allows up to one year from the date of that industrial injury. In the case of an occupational disease or illness, the worker must file an application within two years from the date the worker has written notice from a physician or licensed ARNP of the existence of the occupational disease and that a claim may be filed. The notice from the physician must also advise the worker that the worker has two years from the date of the notice in which to file a claim. A special rule applies to hearing loss cases due to noise exposure. In such cases, the worker has two years to file a claim from the date of the last injurious exposure arising from employment.
Filing a claim can become overwhelming for a multitude of reasons. As you are trying to recover and return to work, you should not have to worry about understanding a complicated insurance program just to pay your bills. Relying on a workers’ comp lawyer from Calbom & Schwab can take that burden off your shoulders.
How Our Work Injury Lawyers Strengthen Your Claim
At Calbom & Schwab, our workers’ compensation attorneys can take care of every step for you. We can assist you in filing your initial claim and keep a close eye on messages and documents you receive from L&I or the Self-Insured administrator. We can in the timely and accurate processing of your claim.
Your work injury attorney will act immediately if we feel your claim is in danger of being reduced, delayed, or denied. We are familiar with workers’ compensation law and the workers’ comp process, and we know how to fight back against an unfair denial. Our team of Labor and Industries attorneys will make every effort to obtain the benefits to which you are entitled under the facts and the law.
In cases where worker’s comp is not enough, and you have been hurt by a third party, we can begin filing a personal injury lawsuit to reclaim full compensation for all the ways your life has been affected. A contractor, vendor, visitor, or outside company can be held liable if they contributed to your illness or injury. A lawsuit may allow you to collect damages beyond what your workers’ comp benefits provide, reimbursing you for your pain and suffering.
Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries in Wenatchee
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will provide benefits for a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. The key factor is proving that any malady is related to your work or resulted from an on-the-job accident.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), you are most likely to experience one of the following injuries while performing your job:
- Injuries to your back, including sprains, tears, and strains
- Fractured or broken bones
- Abrasions, cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) that cause injury and pain in the wrists, tendons, and back
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Being caught under or caught between objects that can crush you
- Being struck by equipment, an object, or a vehicle
The Fatal Four injuries include electrocution, being crushed, being struck, and falling. These cause the majority of workplace deaths but can also leave you with devastating damage that may permanently disable you. The medical expenses to treat survivors of these accidents can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When Is an Injury Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
As mentioned earlier, if you can demonstrate that your illness or injury is the result of exposure or an accident while working, you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some conditions that can alter that coverage. If you fail to observe safety protocols or violate established rules, you may not be able to file a claim successfully.
Some examples of these nullifying conditions include:
- Causing an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Self-inflicting your injury or exposure
- Engaging in unlawful or hazardous actions
- You or the person who caused the injury not being on company time when the event happened
- Failing to use safety equipment, follow policies, or use correct energy lockout procedures
- Causing intentional harm, such as assault or fighting
If you are hurt by another worker under any of these conditions, your claim will likely be denied. Your next option is to speak with a Labor and Industries lawyer to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against all persons or entities responsible for the harm you suffered. Even if you receive workers’ comp benefits, you can still benefit from the guidance of an L&I attorney in Wenatchee, WA, to determine if you should sue additional parties.
You can also discuss filing a third-party lawsuit against any contractor, visitor, vendor, or other entity who contributed to your injuries or illness. Many people work on job sites that are not direct employees of your employer. When they cause you harm, your workers’ compensation lawyer can investigate and file a case against them and their companies.
Wenatchee Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation insurance in Washington is meant to help you pay your costs and provide wage support while you recover. It predominantly covers your medical expenses and a percentage of your regular wages, so you can still make payments for your home, car, credit cards, and other bills. This allows you to focus more on healing.
If your claim is allowed, you may qualify for temporary disability benefits until you reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). If your injury or occupational disease does not allow you to return to your job, you may qualify for light-duty work or even permanent disability payments if you were severely injured.
The primary benefits workers’ compensation pays out include:
- Partial income replacement
- Payment of medical bills related to your injury or illness
- Travel costs for treatment
- Assistance with job retraining or educational programs if you cannot return to your old job
- Permanent disability payments or a pension if you cannot work at any job
- Death benefits for your survivors if your death was caused by your illness or injury
Your workers’ compensation attorney in Wenatchee from Calbom & Schwab will review your claim and documentation to ensure you do not miss any benefits you are entitled to receive. Our team can clearly explain the process so you feel confident in trusting us with your case.
What Does It Cost to Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney?
At Calbom & Schwab, we do not get paid unless you get paid. If you are already missing work from an injury, you may be worried that you cannot afford to hire an attorney to assist you with your workers’ compensation claim. No one wants to rack up more bills if they do not know when they will get back to receiving their full salary, but you should not have to face the red tape of filing claims alone.
At Calbom & Schwab, we know you need guidance from an experienced L&I lawyer without spending a fortune upfront. We offer all our clients a contingency fee structure where we collect a predetermined percentage of monetary benefits paid on your claim for which we were responsible for obtaining on your behalf. We do not ask you to pay a retainer or an hourly fee, so we do not get paid until you do.
Because we know that our skill and background can give your claim a stronger chance of success, we can afford to work hard to secure the benefits you deserve. We are committed to seeing you get the benefits to which you may be entitled based upon the facts and the law so that you can manage your bills for so long as you remain unable to work, even if that means you may never be able to do so because of your industrial injury or occupational disease.
Situations When a Workers’ Compensation Claim Might Be Denied
Although Workers’ Compensation benefits are intended to support workers during their recovery, the fact remains that the L&I system often fails the injured worker.
Because you are at the mercy of demands made by claims managers, you must carefully follow all the steps needed when you submit a claim. You should immediately report your injury or illness to your work-place manager, preferably in writing. You will need to follow every order the doctor gives and keep every appointment. If you fail to do these things, the claims manager may act fast to deny your benefits.
Even if you complete all the documents and follow all the rules, there are some instances where your claim may be denied. This is another scenario when the help of a qualified workers’ comp lawyer can be critical in determining if the provider has a valid reason or is trying to treat you unfairly.
Some common reasons your claim could be denied include:
- Your claim was not filed in time.
- You caused your injuries yourself.
- A pre-existing condition caused your injury or illness.
- You did not provide sufficient medical documentation or evidence.
- You violated your employer’s policies or conduct codes.
- You were not on the job when the incident occurred.
No matter what your circumstances are, your Calbom & Schwab workers’ compensation attorney will make every effort to salvage your claim. If you are still denied, we can examine the possibility of filing a third-party lawsuit.
Hiring Our Wenatchee Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for a Third-Party Lawsuit
In some cases, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits and still pursue a lawsuit against a third party who caused your injuries or illness. In situations where your claim is denied because someone hurt you intentionally or off-the-clock, you can initiate a personal injury claim to seek compensation directly from them.
Much like when we assist you with a workers’ comp claim, our team will manage all the legal complexities for you. We will investigate the circumstances of your accident to develop a powerful case to convince an insurance company or court. We negotiate with insurance companies for the maximum settlement available to you. Our team allows you the rest you need so you can recover fully.
Washington has contributory fault laws which mandate that multiple parties can share blame for an accident. When you sue someone, their attorney will likely try to turn the tables and allege that you contributed to your injury. We will build a strong narrative that shows you are the true victim, even if some fault lies with you. Our attorneys will always be honest with you throughout your case so you know what to expect.
Rely on Calbom & Schwab’s Wenatchee Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Your Case
When you are sick or injured due to a job-related incident, you should not have to stress about your workers’ compensation claim. Our team is ready to review your file and pursue the maximum benefits for you, appeal a denied claim, and fight back if any of your benefits are unfairly reduced or denied.
Calbom & Schwab is proud to assist our fellow citizens as the top choice for Wenatchee workers’ compensation lawyers. We provide free initial consultations, a Spanish-speaking staff, and over 60 years of compassionate legal representation.
Contact a Wenatchee workers’ compensation attorney from our office to learn more about how we can help you with your claim. Call us or use our easy online form to schedule your free case evaluation today.