Injured? What you need to know

Injured at work.

If you are injured at work or develop an occupational disease and your claim is accepted, workers' compensation (L&I or your self‑insured employer) pays for medical care directly related to your accident or illness. If you are unable to work following your injury, you may be eligible for a portion of your lost wages. Most important, L&I or your self‑insured employer may help coordinate a safe and timely return to work.

If your employer is self‑insured, your rights and benefit entitlement don't change, but who manages your claim and the process is different. Your employer, not L&I, handles your paperwork and pays for the claim.

About a third of all Washington employees work for self‑insured employers. Read A Guide to Industrial Insurance Benefits for Employees of Self-insured Businesses (F207‑085‑000) to better understand employee benefits.

Get first aid.

Many falls, cuts, and sprains can become serious injuries if they aren't treated right away. If it's a minor injury, get first aid at your workplace.

Did you know?

In Washington, all employers are required to have a first-aid kit at the workplace.

See a doctor if needed.

If you are injured at work and need treatment, go to the emergency room or health‑care provider of your choice and tell them you were injured at work. They will assist you in filing the workers' compensation claim.

Starting January 2013, if you need medical care after that first visit, you will need to see a provider in our network. If your regular doctor is not in our network, encourage them to join, or find one that is in our network.

Questions workers have

How do I file a workers' compensation claim?
  • Your health care provider will assist you in completing a Report of Accident at your first medical visit. You can also file an accident report online at FileFast.Lni.wa.gov or by phone at 1-877-561-FILE (3453).
  • If you work for a self insured employer, your employer will provide you with a Self Insurer Accident Report (SIF 2) and assist you in completing the form. Your health care provider submits the Provider's Initial Report (PIR) to the self-insured employer.
How can I find a health‑care provider near me?

Search online for a doctor or other health-care provider near you. When you find a provider, contact them to make sure they are accepting new patients.

What if my employer is self‑insured?

If your employer is self‑insured, file your claim directly with your employer. They will give you a Self‑Insurer Accident Report (SIF‑2). Fill out the form completely and return it to your employer or their representative. The doctor will complete a Physician's Initial Report (PIR) (F207‑028‑000) and mail it to your self‑insured employer's claim representative.

If you need further care, you must see a provider in the L&I network starting January 2013.

May I choose my doctor or seek a second opinion?

Yes. You may choose any doctor who is qualified to treat your injury, as long as they are in our network. They include: medical, osteopathic, chiropractic, naturopathic and podiatric, physicians, dentists, optometrists, physician assistants and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners. You also may get a second medical opinion if your claim manager approves it.

What if I don't think the injury is my employer's fault?

Washington is a no-fault state, so L&I will cover an allowable claim for a workplace injury regardless of who is at fault. This rule also applies to self‑insured employers.

What if I live or move out of Washington state?

Washington workers' compensation benefits do not change if you live outside Washington State. The right to receive treatment, time loss, vocational rehabilitation, permanent disability and other benefits remains intact. However, your responsibilities also continue. If you do not cooperate with these responsibilities your benefits may stop. You must:

Tell your employer

If you are injured on the job or diagnosed with an occupational disease, let your employer know right away. Employers need to know about injuries and be familiar with the situation when the L&I paperwork arrives so that they can help you plan your return to work.

Questions workers have

What if I can't do my job?

If you have work restrictions, your doctor will explain them on the Activity Prescription Form (F242‑385‑000). If you are unable to perform your regular job while you are recovering, your employer may be able to find you transitional or light-duty work within your medical restrictions. This can make it easier for you to get back to your original work and wages when you have recovered.

How will my injury affect my employer's costs?

Your employer's workers' compensation rates can be affected by the cost of an injury. This is one reason employers help injured workers return to paid work while they are still healing, if permitted by the doctor.

Self-insured employers pay all claims costs. About a third of all Washington employees work for self‑insured employers.

What if my employer wants me to see a company doctor?

You may see a company doctor if you wish, but you have the right to choose your own doctor.

What if my employer wants a company nurse or representative to accompany me to the doctor?

You have the right to choose your doctor and also to decide who, if anyone, you want to accompany you to the doctor. You have the right to decline to have the company nurse or any employer representative accompany you to the hospital, doctor, or any other medical visit. Your employer can't discriminate or retaliate against you. Contact L&I if you need assistance.

What if my employer says my company is self-insured?

If so, worker rights and benefits are the same. However, your employer, not L&I, handles your paperwork and pays for the claim.

If you disagree with how your self‑insured employer or their representative is managing your claim, contact Self‑Insurance at L&I to find your L&I claim manager so you can contact them directly.

About a third of all Washington employees work for self‑insured employers.

I'm afraid to report my injury because I don't want to get fired. What do I do?

You may contact L&I. Your employer may not discriminate or retaliate against you for filing a claim, for saying that you plan to file a claim, or for seeking workers' compensation benefits. If your employer has discouraged you from filing a claim, you may file a complaint (F262‑024‑000).

What happens if I move out of state when my employer has a job for me?

Your time loss benefits could stop if you decline a job approved by your doctor and offered by your Washington employer.

What if I was injured while working out of state?

A Washington worker can file a claim in Washington even if the injury occurs out of state. The claim won't be rejected because the injury happened out-of-state, even if your employer isn't paying premiums to Washington state. You may file claims in both Washington State and in the state or country in which you were injured, but any benefits you receive from another state will be credited against any benefits to which you may be eligible from L&I.

Did you know?

The sooner you are able to return to work after an injury, whether in a light‑duty or a modified job (with your doctor's OK), the more likely you are to recover and earn your pre-injury salary.

We will reimburse your employer 50% of the base wage they pay to you to do an approved light-duty job. We will also cover expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty job. More on eligibility and what your employer can get reimbursed for at www.StayAtWork.Lni.wa.gov.

Your employer needs to:

  • Make sure you receive prompt medical attention.
  • Complete the employer section of the accident report form.
  • Consider keeping you at work in a light-duty job, if medically approved. This can help maintain your salary, and speed your recovery, while keeping claim costs down for them. We will even pay your employer 50% of the base wage and reimburse them for some related costs. More about what we will pay for at www.StayAtWork.Lni.wa.gov.

Your doctor needs to:

  • Certify whether your injury is work-related.
  • Decide if you can return to work.
  • Help you file a claim. This is done on the accident report form that must have a signature of a medical doctor or an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). If your employer is self‑insured, you and your doctor will complete the Provider's Initial Report (PIR).
  • Recommend any further treatment you may need.

About a third of all Washington employees work for self‑insured employers.

Injured Out of State

A Washington worker can file a claim in Washington even if the injury occurs out of state. You may file a claim in both Washington State and in the state or country in which you were injured, but any benefits you receive from another state will be credited against any benefits to which you may be eligible from L&I.

Questions workers have

How do I know if I am a Washington worker?

You are considered a worker of whatever state your employer has a place of business, if you regularly work at or from that place of business.

  • If your employer has a place of business in Washington and you regularly work at or from that place of business, you are a Washington worker.
  • If your employer's place of business is in another state other than Washington and you regularly work at or from that place of business, you are considered a worker of the state that place of business is located, and you aren't a Washington worker.
What if I don't regularly work in a state my employer has a place of business?

If your employer doesn't have a place of business in the state where you work, you are considered a worker of the state you reside, if you work a substantial amount of your time in the state where you reside.

  • If your home is in Washington you work a substantial amount of your time in Washington, you are a Washington worker.
  • If you home is in another state and you work a substantial amount of your time in that state, then you are considered a worker in the state where you reside, and you aren't a Washington worker.
What if I don't work either in a state where my employer has a place of business nor in the state I reside, or what if I work outside the United States?

If your employer has no business location in the state you work, and you don't live in the state you work, then you will be a Washington worker only if your contract of hire was made in the state of Washington.

 More about workers' comp claims
 Claim information online in Claim & Account Center

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