Workers Compensation Lawyer in Tacoma, Washington
Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the impact of your work-related injury. Whether it seems simple or severe today, your injury may jeopardize your ability to make a living. And your work injuries may be severe enough that you may never be able to return to work you’ve previously done. Whenever you are injured at work, make sure you file a claim immediately.
Understanding Workers Compensation Benefits
- Workers compensation benefits are typically granted to injured workers. They may be granted to family members if workers have died as a result of an on-the-job injury.
- The benefits you may receive include weekly or bi-weekly payments to cover lost income, medical benefits, vocational rehabilitation, compensation for permanent disability and death benefits.
- Washington state laws governing workers compensation are very complicated. That’s a good reason to hire a workers compensation attorney who is an expert in these laws.
Industrial Injury or Occupational Disease?
Workers compensation covers both industrial injuries and occupational diseases, but Washington state law divides them into two separate categories. It is important to know where your claim falls.
- An industrial injury is something sudden and traumatic, typically a workplace accident. If you know exactly when and where your incident occurred, it is probably an industrial injury.
- An occupational disease is something that develops over time and is directly related to the physical aspects of your job. Common examples include hearing loss and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Under Washington law, psychiatric conditions are not sufficient to open a workers compensation claim. However, if your industrial injury or occupational disease caused a condition such as depression or anxiety, you might be able to add it to your claim. Ask us for more information.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, you might be eligible for a variety of different types of compensation.
- Medical: Surgery, physical therapy, and prescription medications are among the most common medical benefits for workers compensation claims. Your employer has the right to require an independent medical evaluation, but cannot force you to see a specific doctor for treatment.
- Lost Wages: This portion of your claim might apply in different ways, depending on the extent of your injury or disease. If you are completely unable to work, Time Loss benefits apply. They begin on the 4th day of work that you miss and pay a portion of your lost income. Loss of Earning Power benefits apply if you are able to work, but your number of hours per week is limited by your injury or disease. Like Time Loss, Loss of Earning Power only pays a portion of your income difference.
- Permanent Disability: If you suffer a serious injury but are able to return to work,you might be entitled to a permanent partial disability award. If you are no longer able to work and cannot be retrained, you might be entitled to a total disability pension.
- Vocational Training: If you are found able to work, but not in your former job classification or another job that meets your existing skills and experience, you might be eligible for vocational training services. You will meet with an expert to develop a retraining plan, which you are then allowed to either accept or reject. Note that you will not necessarily be trained for a new job that matches your previous salary.
Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney
Choosing a workers compensation attorney is a very personal decision, and we encourage you to ask all the questions you need to develop an informed opinion. When interviewing potential attorneys, always make sure you follow these basic steps:
- Request a free initial consultation
- Discuss the retainer agreement
- Pay attention to the lawyer’s demeanor, listening skills, and sense of authority
- Chat with the office staff to get a sense of the overall feel of the practice
- Find out how long the attorney has been in business and what portion of his or her practice is devoted to workers compensation
- Ask about the attorney’s success rate
Bryan P. Stubbs, Attorney at Law, assists clients throughout the Tacoma, WA area. To protect your rights, speak to us as soon as possible after an injury. For over 50 years, our office has been helping injured workers on workers compensation claims and third party claims. We will fight for your rights and secure the best outcome for your work injury claim!
Contact Bryan P. Stubbs today at (253) 383-5891 to schedule a free initial consultation. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident at work, call us today!