Next Steps After Filing a Claim
What paperwork to expect
Your paperwork will depend on the type of injury or occupational disease you are claiming.
You should expect to receive mail about your claim, including: claim-related information, legal documents such as orders and notices, copies of all correspondence related to your claim, and other informational materials.
Please be sure to open all mail from L&I and read it carefully in case a response is required. We recommend you keep copies of everything, and always put your claim number on your paperwork and have it handy when you call L&I or your self-insured employer.
You can elect to receive the majority of your claim-related information electronically by signing up for Secure Message Center.
Who might contact you about your claim
L&I works with a variety of resources to help you heal and return to work. Depending on the details of your claim, you may be contacted by:
- Your claim manager
- Medical providers
- Your employer or their representative
- Vocational experts
Keep your information updated
- Mailing address changes: Please let us know right away, so your claim isn't delayed. Address changes at L&I must be made in writing via fax or mail and include your claim number and authorizing signature. You can also update your information in the Claim & Account Center. If your employer is self‑insured, send a written notification to both L&I and your employer or their third-party administrator (TPA).
- Doctor changes: Let us know online using the Transfer of Care service or use the Transfer of Care (F245‑037‑000) form
If you need help navigating the claims process
If you need assistance, you can call Project HELP at 1-800-255-9752. They are a cooperative effort between L&I and the Washington State Labor Council (AFL-CIO), and can provide you with one-on-one counseling to help you navigate the claims process.
Project HELP staff can assist you with both self-insured and state fund claims, but they are not attorneys and do not give legal advice.
Studies show the longer you are off work, the harder it is to return to your original job and wages.
You are more likely to earn close to your original wage/salary on a light duty job than on time loss. Time loss (aka wage replacement) benefits do not cover 100% of your wages if you are unable to work. Return to work helps you stay connected to your workplace and your job. Your employer also benefits by keeping you at work: they get to keep an experienced employee on board, while also potentially being eligible for financial incentives through our Stay at Work program.
Know your options
Some injuries are so severe you cannot go back to work at your regular job right away. However, it is possible to return to work in a different capacity, light duty, while still receiving medical benefits. In these cases, you can ask your employer for a different duty or fewer hours while you recover, as long as your doctor approves it.
Talk to your employer about reimbursements available through our Stay at Work program. They may be eligible for reimbursements for some of your base wages and expenses such as training and tools related to the light-duty work.
If your employer offers you a job that your doctor approves, you must accept the job offered to continue receiving benefits. However, you are not required to continue any job outside of your attending provider’s restrictions.
More information about working in a light-duty job.
We know that as a worker you probably want to check on the progress of your claim as decisions about eligibility and benefits are made. Our online Claim & Account Center gives you fast access to your claim file, secure messaging with your claim manager, and more.
Note that online claim files for self-insured employers have limited information available. Contact your self-insured employer for a complete copy of your file.
More ways to check the status of my claim.
Sometimes, a claim manager will authorize an Independent Medical Exam (IME) for an injured worker.
Doctors, or panels of doctors, who regularly give impartial medical opinions about a worker’s condition or medical treatment, perform these exams.
L&I pays for the cost of the exam, as well as any expenses you may have traveling to the exam or missing work. If you live out of state, you may have to return to Washington for an examination.
If you do not attend your scheduled IME, you may be charged a no-show fee, and you may jeopardize any benefits you are receiving.
If you would like to make comments about your exam, complete an IME Exam Comments Form (F245‑053‑000) or call 1‑888‑784‑8059 to request a comment form. You can specify your preferred language.
When IMEs are performed
- L&I needs to know the extent of any impairment you may have.
- L&I has a question about your treatment, or its duration.
- You are asking to have your claim allowed, reopened or closed.
- You want a reconsideration of an L&I decision or are appealing — and we need more information.
- Your doctor, employer or claim manager has asked for an evaluation of your condition.
More IME information is in the pamphlet Your Independent Medical Examination (F245‑224‑000).
Workers who are injured on the job and file a claim with L&I have rights to:
- Protection against discrimination for filing a claim.
- Protest or appeal a claim decision.
- Change doctors.
- Take legal action against a third-party (someone other than their employer or coworker) who may be responsible for the injury.
- Receive benefits regardless of who was at fault.
I’m concerned my employer might fire me for filing a claim
Your employer may not discriminate against you simply because you filed a claim. However, your employer may fire you and replace you with another worker if no one else can do your job and no light-duty jobs are available, or if your injury happened due to a safety violation.