All posts by wwolaw

Covid-19 Exposure at Work?

COVID-19 (coronavirus) came in like a hurricane, shutting down businesses around the world. It has changed the way we live, interact, and work. With the State of Washington reopening, there are concerns that returning workers could be exposed to COVID-19 while on the job. So, if you are exposed on the job, what do you do? We are here to help answer these questions!

CAN I FILE A CLAIM WITH L&I IF I HAVE BEEN EXPOSED WHILE AT WORK?

Yes, you can and should file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). Every worker has a right to submit or file a claim form, which can be completed by mail or through their website.

WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST AFTER EXPOSURE?

The first thing you want to do is report the exposure to your employer. You will want to do this immediately, not only for documentation purposes for your claim, but also so the employer can take steps to properly disinfect the work area and stop any additional exposures.

DO I NEED TO SEE A DOCTOR?

Typically, you will need to see a doctor after exposure.  However, with our current state guidelines, you will need to call your doctor first and follow your doctor’s recommendations.  Your doctor may tell you to self-quarantine for two weeks or recommend you be evaluated and tested. It will be important for you to tell your doctor that you were exposed to COVID-19 while on the job,  so your claim will be treated as an L&I claim and your doctor will then file the required Report of Accident form.  Your doctor may not initially know that the exposure was at work and, therefore, may not file a workers’ compensation claim, unless you provide the correct information.

HOW CAN I GET TESTED FOR COVID-19?

In the State of Washington, the Department of Health is instructing people who think they need to be tested to contact their health care provider and ask to be tested. If you do not have a health care provider, you may contact an urgent care center near you. You may either make an appointment through your health care provider or check with your local health department or district on where to get tested.

HOW COULD FILING AN L&I CLAIM BENEFIT ME?

You may be entitled to lost wages, medical care and permanent partial or total disability.

WHAT IF I’M NOT SHOWING ANY SYMPTOMS?

You should consider filing a claim to cover future medical treatment and compensate you for time loss benefits, if you are quarantined.

WHAT DO I DO IF I NEED HELP WITH FILING MY CLAIM? Give us a call!  Once you file a claim, we are more than happy to set up a telephone or Zoom call to discuss your options. Our consultations are free and, if hired, we can help you through every step of the way. Our phone number is (360) 528-4800.   

2020 L&I COLA

Effective July 1, 2020, injured workers will receive an increase in time loss & pension benefits equal to 6.7% (1.06736), from the Department of Labor and Industries.

Claims that are less than one year old do not qualify for a COLA. If your date of injury was on or before June 30, 2019, you will receive a COLA this year. If you are receiving social security benefits, the COLA increase may or may not apply to your claim.

COVID 19 – Coronavirus 03.24.20

Effective March 23, 2020, our office is temporarily closed to the public, due to the Covid 19 / Coronavirus restrictions. Our staff will be working remotely and we are continuing to provide our services to our clients.    If you need to contact our office, please call 360.528.4800 and leave a voice message.  We are checking our voice mail several times a day.

You may also email our office at wwo@wwolaw.net    Again, we will respond to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.

Recent BIIA Decision 05.29.18

In a recent decision of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, our office successfully argued that our client, Day Bruhn, was entitled to a pension.

Ms. Bruhn was originally injured in July of 2006, while working as a barista.  An expresso machine was falling, and she reached up to stop it.  She developed right carpal tunnel syndrome and underwent surgery.  However, the surgery did not fully cure her condition.

Her case was complicated due to the fact that, prior to the 2006 industrial injury, she had hurt her hand on a glass window.  At that time, her median nerve in her right wrist was cut.  It was repaired in 2003 by grafting a nerve from her ankle into her right wrist.  About one year later, she regained feeling and function in her right hand, but then had the incident with the expresso machine, on July 18, 2006.

The Department presented the testimony of a medical doctor and a chiropractor saying she could return to work.

Ms. Bruhn’s treating chiropractor testified she had substantial limitations on lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, reaching, fingering and handling, based upon  his examinations and he agreed with a physical therapist, who had performed a Functional Capacities Evaluation, showing Ms. Bruhn could only work at a sedentary job, at best.  Her doctor testified that she was unable to repetitively use her dominate right arm.  We called a vocational consultant who testified Ms. Bruhn’s limitations prevented her from working.

After the hearing, the Board entered a decision finding Ms. Bruhn was unable to perform and obtain gainful employment, as of July 12, 2017, and that Ms. Bruhn was permanently and totally disabled as of July 13, 2017.

Wayne Williams Now a Member of the National College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

We are pleased to announce that Wayne Williams, of our office, was recently accepted as a member of the National College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers. The College was established to honor those attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their practice in the field of workers’ compensation. In order to attain membership, “these individuals have convinced their peers, the bar, bench and public that they possess the highest professional qualifications and ethical standards, character, integrity, professional expertise and leadership.” Wayne will be formally inducted into the College on March 3, 2018, in Nashville, Tennessee.