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Your Rights Filing a Workers Compensation Claim - Washington

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 This page provides answers to the following questions:

  1. I had an accident at work. How do I file a workers compensation claim in DC?
  2. Should my employer have workers compensation insurance? How do I know I am covered?
  3. What are the conditions that enable me or prevent me from claiming benefits under my state's law?
  4. What benefits might I be eligible to recieve?
  5. How much time do I have to file my claim? What are the stages of the claim process? What should I expect?
  6. If I'm not happy with the determination, how do I appeal?

Washington State Department of Labor & Industries – Workers’ Compensation

1. I had an accident at work. How do I file a workers compensation claim in my state?

If you are claiming an injury, you must file a claim with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer within 1 year.

If you are claiming an occupational disease, you must file a claim with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer within 2 years.

2. Should my employer have workers compensation insurance? How do I know I am covered?

Employers must have workers compensation insurance in Washington. However, there are several exceptions:

  • A domestic worker in a private home.
  • A person employed to do gardening, maintenance, repair, or similar work at an employer’s private home.
  • A person who is not a regular employee of the trade, business, or profession of the employer and is not working at the employer’s private home.
  • A person working only in return for aid or sustenance from a religious or charitable organization.
  • A child under age 18 employed by a parent in agricultural activities on the family farm.
  • A horse-racing jockey who is participating in a racing meet.
  • An employee whose work activity is covered through the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act, Longshorsemen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, Jones Act, or Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters Compensation Plan.
  • Musicians or entertainers, if
    • The employer’s primary business is other than entertainment.
    • They don’t also work for the employer’s primary business.
    • They don’t perform on a regular and ongoing basis for the employer.
  • Newspaper carriers or venders who distribute newspapers to residences, businesses, or on the street, and freelance journalists or photo journalists who are paid solely by piece work and use their own equipment.
  • An insurance provider.
  • A cosmetologist, beautician, or barber who rents or leases booth space.
  • K-12 students working without wages as part of a public school program.

3. What are the conditions that enable me or prevent me from claiming benefits under my state’s law?

The injury must not have been deliberate. Additionally, you must not have intended to commit a felony while receiving the injury. The injury also must not have been caused by the deliberate intent of a beneficiary.

4. What benefits might I be eligible to receive?

You might be eligible for medical benefits, wage replacement, prescription medications, travel reimbursement, property reimbursement, and permanent partial disability. More information can be found at the Department of Labor and Industries.

5. How much time do I have to file my claim? What are the stages of the claim process? What should I expect?

If you are claiming an injury, you must file a claim with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer within 1 year.

If you are claiming an occupational disease, you must file a claim with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer within 2 years.

You will receive your first benefit check within 14 of with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer receiving a report from your doctor. The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries will also send you a claim arrival card, a first payment letter, informational pamphlets, and legal documents.

6. If I’m not happy with the determination, how do I appeal?

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries must receive your written protest within 60 days of the date you received the decision (15 days for decisions about vocational benefits.) The written protest may be sent online or by letter. You may then appeal the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries’ decision to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.