Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated benefit system that protects employees injured on the job. Under workers’ compensation laws, the employer is liable for all expenses associated with a work-related injury, regardless if the injury is a result of the employee’s negligent or reckless behavior. Workers’ compensation is designed to encourage the speedy recovery of the injured employee, permitting him to return to work as quickly as possible, while preventing any unnecessary difficulties or expenses for the employer.
Workers’ compensation claims are only valid if the injury occurred while working, or resulted from the specific nature or duties of the job. The injured party must also prove that the risk of injury increased because of the particular responsibilities associated with the job. Our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys, practicing in Seattle, will assess each individual case and help the victim determine if his injury is covered by workers’ compensation benefit insurance. Risks are sorted into one of three categories:
Employment Linked Risk: This refers to a risk that is only present because of the particular form of employment. For example, an employee’s injury that occurred while using a machine at work would be covered by workers’ compensation because this injury happened while the employee was at work using the machine.
Personal Risk: If a person develops lung cancer after years of smoking, this would not be covered by workers’ compensation, regardless if the condition developed while the person was employed at a particular job. These injuries are not covered because they are not work-related, unless the victim can prove otherwise.
Neutral Risk: These cases are often difficult to prove because the causes of the injury are mixed or unclear. The employee must prove that the injury occurred while employed at the job and that the injury is work-related.
If an employee receives workers’ compensation benefits, he forfeits the right to sue his employer. However, the injured party may sue a responsible third party. For example, if an on-the-job injury occurs because of a faulty piece of equipment, he may sue the manufacturer of the defective piece of equipment. If the employee wins his case, he is required by state law to repay the employer for all workers’ compensation benefits accepted out of the settlement. If you are contemplating filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit, contact one of our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys in Seattle. We will explain all the facets of the law and guide you through the legal process.
If a person falls or is in an accident while at work and sustains an injury, he or she is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Qualifying injuries are not limited to accidents, though. Injuries incurred by participation in normal work activities are also covered. This means that injuries sustained through repetitive activities or repeated exposure to certain conditions are eligible. Mental illness or job-related stress is rarely covered by workers’ compensation benefits because it is difficult to prove that these injuries derive solely from the occupation. However, an employee that witnesses a traumatic event while at work would be eligible for workers’ compensation. For example, a bank employee who is working when the bank is robbed at gunpoint could collect workers’ compensation benefits if he experiences unsettling emotions and fears after the event. If an injury occurs while an employee is breaking the law, disobeying company policy, or not working, the injured employee is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
There are also several types of workers specifically excluded from workers’ compensation, including:
The guidelines for workers’ compensation claims can be confusing and unclear. If you live in Washington and have been injured on the job, you should contact one of the workers’ compensation attorneys at our Seattle-based firm. We encourage any injured employee to arrange a free consultation at our office. We will explain the law and determine if your injury is covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to allow the employee to recover and return to work as quickly as possible. Under the state mandate, workers’ compensation benefits must cover all medical expenses; up to two-thirds of the employee’s salary; expenses, if the employee is unable to return to work; and job training or placement assistance. Although these benefits may be limited in certain instances, our workers’ compensation attorneys will work tirelessly to make sure that all your injury-related expenses are sufficiently covered. If you have been permanently injured, or if your claim has been denied, you should immediately contact our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys. Our Seattle-based firm employs an experienced team of workers’ compensation attorneys who have successfully represented workers throughout the state of Washington. We will fight to make sure your work-related injury does not put your life on hold.
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