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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) in Washington State?

A. It is a state agency which handles all on the job injuries in the State of Washington.

Q. How do I file an L&I claim?

A. Your employer can file a claim for you. Your doctor has the necessary forms. If you are taken to an emergency room, the hospital can file the claim.

Q. When should I file a claim?

A. Anytime you think you have an injury which requires medical care you should file a claim. A claim must be filed within 7 years from the date of injury.

Q. What is the function of my claims manager?

A. Every case is assigned to a claims manager who supervises what is done on your case.

Q. What is the function of a vocational counselor?

A. A vocational counselor helps to retrain an injured worker so the worker qualifies to do a different job. This happens when a worker can't return to his/her “old” job.

Q. What happens if I need surgery?

A. L&I will pay your medical bills for the surgery and after surgery medical treatment, e.g. physical therapy. L&I will pay for some of your prescriptions.

Q. How do I get paid if I can't work?

A. If your injuries prevent you from doing your job you are entitled to “time loss.” “Time loss” payments are made every two weeks and pays a portion of your lost wages.

Q. Can I choose my own doctor?

A. Yes. A worker may choose his/her own treating doctor and surgeon.

Q. What is an IME (Independent Medical Exam)?

A. It is an exam done by a doctor L&I chooses to write a report that the worker is not badly hurt. These reports are used to close a worker's claim without paying benefits.

Q. Can I file a Covid 19 claim?

A. Yes. Certain requirements must be met before the claim is allowed.

Q. What happens when a worker dies from his/her injuries?

A. When a worker dies, the money he/she was receiving can continue to certain beneficiaries, e.g. a surviving spouse.

Q. Why do injured workers hire attorneys?

A. My clients hire me 3-6 months after their injuries because they can no longer take the emotional distress caused by L&I. L&I fights workers every step of the way and when workers have had enough they hire me. It becomes my job to recover benefits my clients deserve under the law.

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