Were You Injured At Work?
NLE Law will go to work for you
Every employee has a right to a safe working environment, and responsible employers do take steps to protect their workers. However, accidents can and do happen at work every day. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may be out of work for weeks or months. You may be permanently disabled and need to substantially change your lifestyle.
If you've been hurt while on the job, you are entitled to medical and wage benefits through your employer's workers' compensation insurance, regardless of fault. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be able to file a personal injury claim against a negligent third party, such as a contractor. However, cases involving an occupational injury can be legally challenging - and during your recovery, the last thing you need to worry about is dealing with an insurance company. That's why you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side.
- What is workers' compensation?
- What are the types of workplace injuries?
- Do I have to go to my employer's doctor?
- What if I can't go back to work?
- Do I need an attorney?
We're proud to advocate for the rights of injured workers and get them the compensation they need. When you retain NLE Law, we'll help you explore your legal options and work with you to file a workers' compensation claim and, if applicable to your case, a personal injury claim as well. We have extensive experience dealing with catastrophic, disabling injuries, and we'll thoroughly research your case to determine the extent of the compensation you need. In negotiations and, if necessary, before a judge, we'll present your case with integrity. Our goal is always to make you whole again.
If you've been hurt at work, you need to notify your employer and seek medical help right away. Then, contact us. We'd be happy to meet with you to discuss your accident and your legal options, and there is no fee for the initial consultation. Call (206) 623-7520.
Workers' compensation is a system of insurance that provides medical benefits and reimbursement for lost wages to people who are hurt on the job. All employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation is a "no-fault" system, which means you can collect benefits even if your on-the-job injury was your fault rather than the result of negligence on the part of your employer.
The tradeoff with workers' compensation is that you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer or a coworker following an on-the-job injury, even if your accident was a result of their negligence. That means you cannot recover compensation for losses such as pain and suffering from your employer. However, some workplace injuries lead to "third party" claims against someone other than the employer. For instance, if you were hurt in a car accident while driving for work, you could file a personal injury claim against the motorist who hit you in addition to collecting workers' compensation benefits from your employer.
While nearly any type of injury imaginable could be sustained at work, all workplace injuries fall into one of two categories. An industrial injury is an injury sustained in an accident that happened at a definitive place and time. For instance, an employee who falls at work and sustains a traumatic brain injury can file an industrial injury claim. The filing deadline for an industrial injury is one year from the date of the accident.
An occupational disease is a work-related injury or illness that was sustained over a long period of time. For instance, repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are considered occupational diseases. Workers who suffer respiratory ailments such as mesothelioma after being exposed to a toxic work environment are also said to have occupational diseases. For an occupational disease, the filing deadline is two years from the day a medical provider tells you that your injury is work-related.
Absolutely not. In Washington, every injured employee has a right to see any doctor in the medical provider network - a network of doctors who have been certified by the Department of Labor and Industries to treat injured workers. Your employer cannot legally tell you that you have to see a specific doctor.
Depending on your circumstances, you have several legal options after a workplace injury that makes it impossible for you to do your job. You may be able to go to what's called a "transferable skills job" - a different job that you may have done in the past or be able to qualify for with your accumulated skills. If you do not have transferable skills, you may be able to go through a vocational process to get trained to do a new job. This process pays for schooling, books, transportation and childcare if needed.
If you are permanently disabled and unable to do any job, workers' compensation will provide disability benefits. You may also be able to claim long-term disability benefits if you have them through an employer-provided or privately purchased plan.
While many workers' compensation claims can be completed without an attorney's help, there are a few warning signs that you may need a lawyer. The workers' compensation process is complex. If you don't feel comfortable with the way your case is going, call an attorney. Every day, injured workers leave money on the table purely because they don't know their legal rights. If, for instance, you are working at a lower wage or working limited hours because of your injury, you should receive compensation for loss of earning power.
At NLE Law, we offer free consultations to potential workers' compensation clients. There's no harm in meeting with our attorneys to understand your legal rights. And if you retain us as your attorney, we'll work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won't have to pay us out of pocket - we'll only get paid if and when you collect your benefits.
In short, if you aren't sure whether you need a lawyer, the best option is to give one a call. You have nothing to lose and potentially so much to gain.