If you're an employer in Washington State, it's important to know how workers compensation works and what benefits your employee is entitled to receive. In many situations, a simply understanding regarding workers' compensation can help save you a lot of money and ensure your employee and business don't suffer unnecessary harm. Here is a guide to workers compensation in Washington and some tips to help you get the best results possible when a workplace injury or illness occurs. 

Medical Benefits

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is the primary government agency that handles worker compensation claims. Medical benefits are one of the primary costs of any workers compensation claim. Thankfully, Washington State helps pay for much of a worker's compensation claim if they're injured or become ill while on the job. As long as your employee uses a medical provider that is preapproved by L&I, then L&I will cover the full cost of a wide range of medical services, including surgery, nursing care, dental repair, artificial limbs, and glasses, just to name a few services.

Employee Time-Loss Benefits

Employers are required by Washington State law to pay time-loss benefits to employees who are injured or suffer a work-related illness. In most cases, this equals between 60 to 75 percent of your employee's gross wage. This wage percentage depends on your employee's marital status and how many kids they had when they were first injured. Remember that for employees who participated in self-harm, this coverage does not apply, and you will not be responsible for this wage-loss benefit. However, if you believe an employee participated in self-harm or did not actually receive their injury due to work at your job site, then you will likely have to prove your case in court.

Worker Pensions

In situations where an employee suffers an injury or illness related to their work that leaves them permanently unable to work, then the employee is entitled to receive a monthly pension for the rest of their life, which you will be responsible for. This applies to situations where an employee loses two limbs, becomes paralyzed or suffers a total loss of vision.

How The State Helps You

As an employer, you have a number of incentives to bring your employee back to work. However, the employee's role is often modified from their previous position. The Stay at Work Program provides monetary incentives to bring an employee back for light-duty or a transitional role. L&I will reimburse part of your cost as the employer. This reimbursement includes 50 percent of your employee's basic wage. L&I can also provide you up to $5,000 to modify your employee's previous job to help them work for you in a new role that that fits their specific medical needs.

Ultimately, it's important to understand how workers compensation functions in Washington State and how to take advantage of any programs that are designed to help you bring your employee back to work. To learn more about personal injury cases, contact Kuzyk Law