Workers’ Compensation FAQs

1. What kinds of job injuries do Worker's Compensation claims cover?

  • Sudden impact injuries - Slips and falls, lifting injuries, severed or crushed limbs, etc., due to work-related activities;
  • Occupational diseases - Toxic exposures, deafness, blindness, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other long-term condition due to work-related activities; and
  • Psychiatric conditions - Emotional distress due to work-related activities.

2. Can I choose my own health care providers for treatment?

  • Yes, as long as he/she is in the Department of Labor & Industries' approved network of providers.

3. Can I change health care providers if I want to?

  • Yes, as long as he/she is in the Department of Labor & Industries' approved network of providers.

4. Will I be evaluated by my employer or the Department of Labor & Industries' experts?

  • Yes. They have the right by law to have you seen by their doctors, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and any of their other experts.

5. Will I have an income while my claim is open?

  • Yes. As long as you are unable to work due to your work condition, you could qualify for what is called Time Loss Compensation. This is income in an amount that is based on your normal pay rate. Generally, this is paid every two weeks.

6. What kinds of awards may be available to me when my claim is closed?

  • If it is determined that you are eligible for a Permanent Partial Disability, then you will be awarded a lump sum in an amount determined by the Department of Labor & Industries. You will be cleared to go back to work subject to any restrictions that apply to you and your condition.
  • If it is determined that you are unable to work at all and are therefore eligible for a Total Permanent Disability, then you will be awarded a monthly pension that is payable to you through your lifetime. Survivor benefits for your spouse may be paid to him/her if you predecease him/her.
  • There may be incidental awards along the way.

7. Will my employer and the Department of Labor & Industries be looking out for me?

  • No, they will not because this is an adversarial process which means that you have to fight for your rights. Neither your employer nor the Department of Labor & Industries will do this for you. In fact, your employer will aggressively oppose any award to you. The Department of Labor & Industries is a neutral participant in the process and so it will not be in your corner.

8. Do I need an attorney?

  • Yes, because the whole claim process is very complicated, difficult, and long. You most likely will not know the who, what, when, where, and how of the numerous tasks that will need to be done. An attorney can help you with all of this and the inevitable frustration.

9. How and when do I have to pay my attorney?

  • Worker's compensation cases are contingent: the attorney gets paid at the successful end of the claim from the granted award to the claimant.

10. When should I get an attorney?

  • As soon as possible because the more time that an attorney has to handle your claim then the greater the chances of success.