Injured? What you need to know

File a claim.

You can file an accident report for a work place injury or exposure at your doctor's office, on our website, or by calling L&I during business hours at 1-877-561-3453. If you complete the accident report at your doctor's office, the doctor files the form for you. Note: If you work for a self-insured employer, you obtain and file the accident report with your employer. Contact your personnel department for help.

Complete all required paperwork.

Your paperwork will depend on the type of injury or occupational disease you are claiming. Read it carefully, respond promptly, and keep copies of everything. Always put your claim number on your paperwork and have it handy when you call L&I or your self-insured employer.

Questions workers have

How do I file a claim?

Want to streamline your L&I claim? File online.

Can't file online? File by phone: 1-877-561-FILE.

If you work for a self-insured employer, file your claim directly with them.

What is the deadline for filing a claim with L&I for an on-the-job injury?

L&I or your self-insured employer must receive your claim application within one year of your injury date to file a claim. We must receive it within two years from the date of your doctor's diagnosis for occupational disease claims.

I don't have online access. Can I file by phone?

Yes. You can file by phone at 1-877-561-FILE.

What information goes on the accident report?

Information about your injury, employer, wages, diagnosis, treatment and other background information. (Note: The report is called the Report of Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease. If your employer is self-insured, it is called the Self Insurer Accident Report (SIF-2). Your doctor may complete the Physicians Initial Report. If your injury limits your ability to work, your doctor will also complete an Activity Prescription Form (F242‑385‑000).)

If you're an apprentice, you should look at What to Do If Injured as an Apprentice on the job or during training.

What L&I paperwork can I expect in the mail?
What paperwork can I expect to receive from my self‑insured employer?
How long will it take to find out if my claim has been accepted?

Your doctor has five days to send the report to L&I or your self-insured employer. L&I's or your self-insured employer's processing time will vary, depending on the type of claim. If you are eligible for wage-replacement benefits, and no further information is needed, L&I or your self-insured employer sends the first benefit check within 14 days of receiving the report.

Can I get help understanding the claim process?

If you are still confused by the claim process, you can call Project HELP at 1-800-255-9752. They are a cooperative effort between L&I and the Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), and can provide you with one-on-one counseling to help you navigate the claims process.

Project HELP can assist you with both self-insured and state fund claims.

Updating information: How do I let L&I or my self-insured employer know if my address, doctor, or other information changes?

Please let us know right away, so your claim isn't delayed. Address changes at L&I must be made in writing via fax or mail and include your claim number and authorizing signature. You can also update your information in the Claim & Account Center . If your employer is self‑insured, send a written notification to both L&I and your employer or their third-party administrator (TPA).

For doctor changes, let us know online at www.TransferCare.Lni.wa.gov or use the Case Transfer Card (F245‑037‑000).

What if I live or move out of state?
  • Your rights, benefits, and responsibilities for your claim will remain the same. Washington laws will always apply to your claim regardless of where you live.
  • Many doctors and health-care providers in other states don't accept workers' compensation cases. Find a Doctor in your area.
  • All health care providers who treat you must have a provider account with Washington L&I in order to be paid. This includes pharmacies, hospitals, therapists, doctors, clinics and all other providers.
  • Out of state providers may need to use the L&I Web site to get needed forms to file your claim as well as billing forms for their services.
  • A Washington worker can file a claim in Washington even if the injury occurs out of 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. Notify L&I if you filed a claim in another state or country.

Did you know?

Clearly filling out the accident report form and explaining your injury will reduce delays and help ensure you get all the benefits to which you are entitled.

Know how to check the status of your claim

We know that as an injured worker you probably want to check on the progress of your claim as decisions about eligibility and benefits are made.

Note that online claim files for self-insured employers have limited information available including:

  • Documents received by L&I.
  • Contact information for your employer and your L&I claim manager.

Contact your self-insured employer for a complete copy of your file.

Find out if you work for a self-insured employer. About a third of all Washington employees do.

Questions workers have

How can I get claim information over the phone?
  • Call 800-831-5227 for a fast, automated update on the status of your claim in English or Spanish (en Español).
  • Call 800-547-8367 for a customer service representative. Spanish (en Español) speaking staff or translation service available.
  • Call 360-902-5797 for hearing/speech impaired TDD service.
  • For self-insured claims, contact your self-insured employer or their claim representative. If you disagree with how your self-insured employer or their representative is managing your claim, contact Self-Insurance at L&I.
May I call my claim manager?

Your claim manager's phone number is located on all correspondence. You may also contact your local L&I office and ask for a "48-hour phone referral." Your claim manager should call you within 48 hours.

For self-insured claims management questions, contact your employer or their claim representative.

How do I authorize someone else to access my claim information?
  • Complete the Authorization to Release Claim Information form (F101‑010‑000), sign it, and mail to your claim manager.
  • Give an authorized delegate access to your claim information online. You may choose to authorize other people to have online access to your claim. These may include family members, union representatives or anyone you choose. These authorized delegates will need to complete their own registration for the Claim & Account Center as an Authorized Delegate and request access to your information. You will then be notified by email and you will need to log onto the Claim & Account Center and click on 'My Profile' to act on their request. They won't get access until you approve them.
Updating information: How do I let L&I know if my address, doctor or other information changes?

Cooperate with any requests for an independent medical exam

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Sometimes, a claim manager will authorize an independent medical exam for an injured worker. This means another doctor will be evaluating your medical condition.

Questions workers have

What is the purpose of Independent Medical Examinations?

These exams (called "IMEs") are performed when:

  • L&I needs to know the extent of any impairment you may have.
  • L&I has a question about your treatment, or its duration.
  • You are asking to have your claim allowed, reopened or closed.
  • You want a reconsideration of an L&I decision or are appealing — and we need more information.
  • Your doctor, employer or claim manager has asked for an evaluation of your condition.
Who conducts Independent Medical Examinations?

Doctors or panels of doctors who regularly give impartial medical opinions about a worker's condition or medical treatment. A claim manager will request it for you, if needed.

Who pays for Independent Medical Examinations?

L&I pays for the cost of the exam, as well as any expenses you may have traveling to the exam or missing work.

How can I make comments about my IME?

An IME Comments Form (F245‑053‑000) is available online or you may call 1‑888‑784‑8059 to request a comment form. You can specify your preferred language.

What if I live or move out of state?
  • You may have to return to Washington for an independent medical examination. If needed, L&I or your self-insured employer will pay for your transportation, lodging, meals, and wage replacement for lost wages to attend the exam.

Did you know?

If you do not attend your scheduled Independent Medical Exam, you may be charged a no-show fee. Also, you may jeopardize any benefits you are receiving.

Understand your rights as an injured worker

Workers who are injured on the job and file a claim with L&I have rights to:

  • Protection against discrimination for filing a claim.
  • Protest L&I decisions.
  • Change doctors.
  • Take legal action against a "third-party" (someone not their employer) who may be responsible for the injury.

Questions workers have

Can my employer fire me for filing a claim?

Your employer may not discriminate against you simply because you filed a claim. However, your employer may fire you and replace you with another worker if no one else can do your job and no light-duty jobs are available - or if your injury happened because you violated a safety rule.

What if I think my injury was the fault of a third party?

Washington's workers' compensation is "no-fault" insurance. Workers are covered regardless of what caused the on-the-job injury. However, if it was caused by the failure of a machine, product or someone who is not your coworker, you have the right to sue such a "third party."

May I change doctors or seek a second medical opinion after my claim is filed?

You may change doctors as long as your claim manager approves it. Use the online Transfer of Care or by completing a Case Transfer card. If you wish to get a second medical opinion — about your treatment or upcoming surgery, for example — call your claim manager for approval.

If the accident was my fault, are my medical bills covered?

Yes. You may receive benefits regardless of who was at fault.

If my claim is closed and my injury worsens, may I apply to reopen my claim?

Yes. You and your doctor may apply to reopen your claim if there is objective medical evidence (physical evidence your doctor can measure) that your medical condition is a result of the same injury and that it has worsened since the claim closed.

What if I disagree with an L&I decision and want to protest?

If you disagree with an L&I decision as your claim is being processed, you, your employer and your doctor all have the right to protest. Read protest instructions.

What if I disagree with a decision made by my self‑insured employer?

Dispute a decision your self-insured employer has made on your claim by writing to the Self-Insurance Section at L&I.

Can I get help understanding the claim process?

If you are still confused by the claim process, you can call Project HELP at 1-800-255-9752. They are a cooperative effort between L&I and the Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), and can provide you with one-on-one counseling to help you navigate the claims process.

Project HELP can assist you with both self-insured and state fund claims.

What if I live or move out of state?
  • Your rights, benefits, and responsibilities for your claim will remain the same. Washington laws will always apply to your claim regardless of where you live.
  • Many doctors and health-care providers in other states don't accept workers' compensation cases. Find a Doctor in your area.

Take advantage of light-duty job options and Stay at Work

Some injuries are so severe you cannot go back to work at your regular job right away. However, most L&I claims are for back and muscle strains or injuries to the hands and feet. In these cases, you can ask your employer for a different duty or fewer hours while you recover, as long as your doctor approves it.

We will reimburse your employer 50% of your base wage, as well as expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty job, because we know that getting back to work in a light-duty job can help you recover faster. More on eligibility at www.StayAtWork.Lni.wa.gov.

Questions workers have

What are some examples of light-duty work?
  • Working shorter hours.
  • Performing transitional work. For example, performing some of your original duties, or different duties with lighter physical demands.
  • Performing a different job temporarily.
  • Working in a modified job. For example, making adjustments to the job or work site to meet your physical limitations, or providing tools, equipment or appliances that allow you to work while recovering.
Am I required to accept any job my employer offers me?

If your employer offers you a job that your doctor approves, you must take the job in order to continue receiving benefits. However, you are not required to accept any job that would violate your doctors restrictions.

What if I don't earn as much doing a light-duty or reduced-hours job?

You may apply for Loss of Earning Power benefits through L&I. This program will help supplement your salary while you are working, if your claim is still open.

How do I benefit from trying to work while recovering from an injury?

Time-loss benefits help workers who miss more than three days of work right after the accident. But these benefits only cover a portion of their lost wages (60% for a single person). More on benefit calculations in the Workers Guide to Industrial Insurance (F242‑104‑000), pages 8 to 9.

How does Stay at Work benefit me and my employer?

Stay at Work reimburses your employer to keep you working in a light-duty or modified job while you recover.

You are more likely to earn close to your original wage/salary on a light-duty job than you are on time-loss. You also stay connected to your workplace and your job. Studies show that the longer you are off work, the harder it is to get back to your original job and wages.

It benefits your employer because they get paid 50% of your base wage, as well as expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty job. They also get to keep an experienced employee on board.

 

Did you know?

Many employers actively seek light-duty jobs for recuperating workers, with a doctor's approval. This can dramatically reduce their workers' compensation costs.

Your employer needs to:

  • Explore light-duty job options that meet doctor's restrictions. It not only speeds your recovery, but keeps your employer's claim costs down. We even reimburse them 50% of the base wage as well as expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty job. More at www.Stayatwork.Lni.wa.gov.
  • Contact L&I if there is incorrect information in the paperwork.
  • Fill out the employer's section of the accident report form.

Your doctor needs to

  • Fill out and sign the Report of Industrial Accident (ROA) or Physician's Initial Report with the injured worker. This can also be done by a Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) or a physician's assistant. Nurses and medical office staff are not permitted to do this paperwork.
  • Send bills directly to L&I or the self-insured employer, not you.
  • Let you and your employer know if there are any work restrictions or release-for-work dates.

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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