Washington Worker’s Compensation- Fast Facts
Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim in Washington:

If you are injured at work during working hours, over your lunch break, or while traveling for work, tell your employer as soon as possible. You must also inform your employer if your doctor diagnoses an occupational disease due to exposure to hazardous substances or an occupational medical condition like hearing loss.

Your doctor or medical professional will provide the medical information that supports your claim, so it's important to seek care immediately. Make sure you tell your doctor that your injury or illness is job-related. You may see the doctor of your choice.

The forms you file for workers' compensation depend on the insurance your employer provides. If your employer gets workers' compensation insurance through Washington State, you'll file a Washington State Fund Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease. If your employer is self-insured, you'll file a Self-Insurer Accident Report.

Washington is a no-fault state, so you may file a report regardless of who was at fault. After you complete the employee information on your report, your doctor adds information about your diagnosis, treatment, and the estimated number of days you'll be unable to work. Your doctor sends the original form within five days to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and a copy to your employer. Your employer fills out the employer section of the report and sends the copy to L&I. (If your employer is self-insured, your doctor sends the original to your employer.) You have one year from your injury date to file your report. If you have an occupational disease, you have two years from your diagnoses to file your report.

Washington Worker’s Compensation Benefits:
The workers' compensation system provides replacement income, medical expenses, and sometimes, vocational rehabilitation benefits -- that is, on-the-job training, schooling, or job placement assistance. The benefits paid through workers' compensation, however, are almost always relatively modest.

If you become temporarily unable to work, you'll usually receive two-thirds of your average wage up to a fixed ceiling. But because these payments are tax-free, if you received decent wages prior to your injury, you'll fare reasonably well in most states. You will be eligible for these wage-loss replacement benefits as soon as you've lost a few days of work because of an injury or illness that is covered by workers' compensation.

If you become permanently unable to do the work you were doing prior to the injury, or unable to do any work at all, you may be eligible to receive long-term or lump-sum benefits. The amount of the payment will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries. If you anticipate a permanent work disability, contact your local workers' compensation office as soon as possible; these benefits are rather complex and may take a while to process.

Washington Worker’s Compensation Waiting Period:
The waiting period for compensation benefits after injury is 3 days for temporary total disability.

Compensation is retroactive if disability continues for 14 days from the date of injury.

Choice of Physician: Employee makes the initial choice of physician.

Attorney Fees Permitted: 30%, statute

Washington Worker’s Compensation Contact Information:
Robert Malooly, Assistant Director
Department of Labor and Industries
Insurance Services Division
7273 Linderson Way, SW
Tumwater, WA 98501-5414
 (360) 902-5800  (360) 902-5800 or  1-800-547-8367  1-800-547-8367

NOTICE: These questions and answers concern Washington law only, and should not be construed nor relied upon as reflecting the law in other States, nor as giving legal advice. You are warned that circumstances often vary greatly and that, due to changing decisions and law, the answers to these questions may change over time and not be current, and you should consult an attorney in any specific case, and NOT rely on these questions and answers as giving anything other than general information.

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