Posts tagged "Industrial Insurance Act"

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What is the Washington State Industrial Insurance Act?

August 23rd, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “What is the Washington State Industrial Insurance Act?”

Washington’s Industrial Insurance Act provides for our state’s workers’ compensation system. The Industrial Insurance Act (“IIA”) “is based on a compromise between workers and employers, under which workers become entitled to speedy and sure relief, while employers are immunized from common law responsibility.” Nelson v. Dep’t. of Labor & Indus., 198 Wash. App. 101, 110 (Div. 2 2017) (quoting Flanigan v. Dep’t of Labor & Indus., 123 Wash.2d 418, 422, 869 P.2d 14 (1994)). In other words, workers generally cannot sue their employers or their co-employees (workers who share the same common employer), but injured workers are supposed to obtain benefits for indemnity (lost wages and lost earning power) as well as “proper and necessary” medical treatment.

How is the Industrial Insurance Act supposed to be construed by the courts?

All doubts with respect to the interpretation of the IIA are to be resolved in favor of injured workers. Dennis v. Dep’t of Labor & Indus., 109 Wn2d 467, 470, 475 P.2d 1295 (1987). The “overarching objective” of the IIA, Title 51 RCW is to reduce to a minimum “the suffering and economic loss arising from injuries and/or death occurring in the course of employment.” Cockle v. Dep’t of Labor & Indus., 142 Wn.2d 801, 822, 16 P.3d 583 (2001)(quoting RCW 51.12.010). The point here is that the workers’ compensation system is intended to benefit workers. Too often, the defense interests and even certain industrial appeals judges fail to fully appreciate that there’s almost a “tie goes to the runner” aspect intended in workers’ compensation matters. A true tie is not a win for the worker since a worker must prove their case by a “preponderance” of evidence. The Industrial Insurance Act is remedial in nature, so like all remedial statutes, it must be interpreted liberally by the courts to affect the benefits the legislature has intended.

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How Does Labor & Industries Handle Residency Modification?

July 19th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “How Does Labor & Industries Handle Residency Modification?”

Can I get my residence modified under the Industrial Insurance Act as part of Washington’s workers’ compensation system of benefits?

The short answer is “yes, but only in limited circumstances.” If you are in true need of such benefits, for either a home or rental property in which you live, you should take care to read the following information. Make sure your Attending Physician is aware of the rules set forth below as well. You will then need the Attending Provider to request that a residency modification consultant is assigned to your L&I case. The Attending Provider should also give a preliminary written opinion as to the types of modifications the Attending Physician believes you may likely need. This will begin the process.

A residency modification consultant will then be employed at the cost of the employer or state fund. The consultant will be a licensed physical or occupational therapist or a licensed nurse who has experience in rehabilitation of catastrophic injuries and residency modifications. The residency modification consultant will work with the Department of Labor & Industries, Self-Insured Employer (unless the claim is a state fund claim), the injured worker and the Attending Physician to determine which modifications are medically necessary. It is the job of the residency modification consultant to work with a licensed contractor to submit a written report requesting approval of the modifications, including the costs of architectural, engineering, predesign and planning services which may be requested. (more…)

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Do L&I Vocational Rehabilitation Services Actually Benefit You?

July 16th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “Do L&I Vocational Rehabilitation Services Actually Benefit You?”

What Vocational Rehabilitation Services are Available under the Industrial Insurance Act?

The following Vocational Rehabilitation Services are available under Washington State’s Industrial Insurance Act pursuant to WAC 296-19A-020(a)-(l):

  • Gathering an industrially-injured or ill worker’s work and/or education histories and physical capacities information
  • Assessing an industrially-injured or ill worker’s employability
  • Developing, documenting, and writing vocational rehabilitation plans
  • Monitoring an injured worker’s progress during training
  • Writing retraining progress reports and submitting these to the Department of Labor and Industries
  • Analyzing and documenting the transferable skills of the injured or ill worker and writing a transferable skills analysis
  • Performing occupational research
  • Conducting labor market surveys and writing labor market survey reports
  • Conducting and writing job analyses
  • Communicating with industrially-injured or ill workers, employers, physicians, and others
  • Developing job modifications and worksite modifications, as well as pre-employment accommodations, and writing reports for this work
  • Performing work to obtain any job with any employer for injured workers referred for vocational services

An injured worker with an astute eye will immediately realize that many of the so-called “services” provided by a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) assigned either by the Department of Labor & Industries or the Self-Insured Employer (usually acting through a Third-Party Administrator or TPA) are contrary to the interests of the injured or ill worker who believes they cannot work. In this sense, WAC 296-19A-020 provides for “disservices” to the injured workers, and the defense interests know this well! (more…)

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We Can Help You Fight Your Ability to Work Assessment

July 12th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “We Can Help You Fight Your Ability to Work Assessment”

What is an Ability to Work Assessment (AWA) under the Industrial Insurance Act?

Injured workers often get assigned a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in their industrial insurance claim. The purpose of this assignment is often to perform an Ability to Work Assessment. The outcome of this assessment will literally determine whether the injured worker is allowed to remain on time-loss benefits and retrain for lighter work, whether they are recommended for a lifetime of injury pension benefits, or whether their L&I claim will close with a recommendation that they can still work despite the serious limitations caused by their industrial injury or occupational disease. (more…)

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Are You Employable After Your Work Injury?

July 9th, 2018 Posted by Labor & Industries 0 comments on “Are You Employable After Your Work Injury?”

Under Washington Administrative Code, Chapter 296-19A, the Department of Labor and Industries has outlined requirements for finding an injured worker capable of either returning to work or being retrained. If the Department finds that the injured worker is not “employable” even with the assistance of retraining, then an injury pension results; except where the injured worker’s lack of employability is caused by a post-accident or post-disease condition.

Using the Industrial Insurance Act to Determine If You Are Able to Work

“Employable is defined by WAC 296-19A-010(a) saying that “having the skills and training that are currently necessary in the labor market to be capable of performing and obtaining gainful employment on a reasonably continuous basis when considering the worker’s: (more…)

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