Blog

New Website

After months of design and planning, Atlas Law is proud to announce an all new website at AtlasLawPS.com.     Our new site is redesigned on an all new platform, and will better integrate with our Social Media platforms.  There’s also a contact page, and our texting information.    We will soon be adding more content and more information.

Post Office Delays, Checks

Over the last several weeks, we have seen an increase in delays from our post office.  Unfortunately this is beyond our control.   We do understand that this unnecessary delay is stressful to our clients, and we are increasing our efforts to minimize and reduce these delays.

Currently it takes a minimum of 2 business days, sometimes 3-4, to receive checks from the department.   We are working to shift to electronic payments from the department.  Many self-insured employers use administrators from out of state.  It can take several days to receive checks from these administrators.  There are currently no alternatives.

If you have, or establish, an account with bank with Columbia Bank, we can deposit your time-loss or pension benefits into your account the same day we receive them.  All you have to do is provide us with your account number.

Additionally, we offer text alerts for all of our clients.    You may sign up today with our office to receive free text messages when your check arrives in our office.

We understand it is frustrating when checks are delayed.

Texting

Did you know that AtlasLaw offers text messaging?

Do you pick up your check in our office?   Sign up for text alerts and receive a free text message* when your check is available!
Get text reminders for vocational appointments, IME’s, and other claim related appointments.

Stop by our office, or contact us today to sign up!

*Neither Atlas Law, or our texting provider will charge you.  Messaging and data rates may apply per your carrier, please contact them if you have questions. 

 

New Pilot Program by Labor and Industries

Posted on: 28 September 2017

By: Atlas Law

Beginning October 1, Labor and Industries is beginning a pilot program for acupuncture treatment.
If you have low back pain, associated with an accepted condition related to your Industrial Injury claim, and your attending provider believes that acupuncture may be a curative treatment option, the department may pay up for up to 10 visits to see an acupuncturist.
Additional rules apply. For more information see the department’s page at:

http://lni.wa.gov/acupuncturepilot

New Pilot Program for Accupuncture

Beginning October 1, Labor and Industries is beginning a pilot program for acupuncture treatment.
If you have low back pain, associated with an accepted condition related to your Industrial Injury claim, and your attending provider believes that acupuncture may be a curative treatment option, the department may pay up for up to 10 visits to see an acupuncturist.
Additional rules apply. For more information see the department’s page at:

http://lni.wa.gov/acupuncturepilot

PTD after PPD

Generally, if an injured worker received a Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) award for an injury and is then later found to be Permanently Totally Disabled (PTD) due to the same injury, the Department may recover payments made on the PPD award from the PTD award. However, a worker who is injured and is later found to be permanently and totally disabled (PTD) is entitled to a full pension, even if that injured worker had previously received a permanent partial disability (PPD) award from a prior, unrelated industrial injury.

In a recently published opinion( Michael L. Sims v. Department of Labor and Industries), the Court of Appeals determined that if an injured worker is found to be permanently totally disabled, they are not entitled to a permanent partial disability award for a subsequent injury.

The Court of Appeals found that the effective date of PTD is the determinative date for deciding what benefits an injured worker is entitled to under any subsequent injury claims and not the date of the Department’s decision to classify a worker as PTD. Since the injured worker in the Sims case had been classified as PTD starting at a time prior to sustaining the second injury, the Court decided that the Department’s order that denied Mr. Sims additional PPD benefits under his second claim was correct. For more information regarding PPD and PTD, please contact us for a free consultation.

Filing a claim within 1 year

Recent court of Appeals Case clarifies an injured worker’s responsibility to file a claim within one year of workplace accident.
The Washington State Court of Appeals recently issued an unpublished decision that reinforces the importance of filing a report with the Department of Labor and Industries within one year of a workplace accident. The case involved an injured worker who sustained two head injuries at work. He received first aid and then continued to work. Unfortunately, the injured worker never filed a claim with the Department of Labor and Industries. The injured worker later developed migraines, eye pain, and hearing loss. He was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury approximately two years after the initial injuries. With the assistance of his doctor, the injured worker submitted a claim with the Department of Labor & Industries. However, the Department denied the claim because the injured worker submitted his claim more than one year after the date of injury. The Court of Appeals upheld the Department’s denial, finding that the injured worker’s failure to file a claim within one year of the date of injury precluded him from recovery under the Industrial Insurance Act. [Please see our Blog article on Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim.] link to that article as well.
Workers injured on the job may avoid filing a claim with the Department of Labor and Industries or downplay their injuries for a number of reasons. Those reasons may include a fear of causing their employer “problems,” a desire to avoid “paper work,” not wanting to loose pay or a job assignment they enjoy, as well as a number of other reasons not listed here. However, many falls, cuts, and sprains can become serious injuries later if they are not treated promptly. Unfortunately, the law is strict regarding the amount of time an injured worker has to file a claim following an incident. Sadly, there is no consideration given to the many hurdles an injured worker must go through to establish a claim.
We invite you to contact us if you have had an accident at work and are not sure whether you should file a claim.

Worker Memorial Day 2016

In 2015, 58 people died from work-related causes. Among those are truck drivers, construction workers, a firefighter, a bookkeeper, a pilot, and loggers.
Those who died were someone’s sibling, child, parent, or grandparent, spouse, or a close friend.
This Thursday, April 28, 2016 is Washington State’s annual Worker Memorial day. Governor Inslee, Director Sacks from Labor and Industries, and other government leaders will memorialize those lost in 2015.
This year, we remember those workers who lost their lives. Among those killed in 2015 include:
A police officer, who died of complications from surgery related to an injury he sustained while arresting a suspect.
Three forest service workers who became trapped while fighting the Twist River fire in Eastern Washington.
A construction worker and business owner who was crushed by a wall that collapsed.
We at Atlas Law extend our best thoughts and wishes to the families of anyone who has lost a loved one as the result of a work related injury. If your loved one is killed or injured as the result of a workplace injury or exposure, and you want more information on potential benefits, please contact our office.

Claims from Altercations and Assaults

No one ever wants to be the victim of horseplay, an assault, or altercation. Fortunately, in many cases, an injury sustained as the result of horseplay, and assault, or altercation, is allowable if certain criteria are met.

An injury needs to occur during the course of employment in order to be allowable. In order for an injury to occur during the course of employment, it must occur while the injured worker is providing some benefit to the employer.

Horseplay: According to the Department of Labor and Industries’ internal policies, horseplay that minimally interrupts work is usually covered as long as it does not take the worker significantly away from the course of employment. Several factors are considered, including the extent and duration of deviation, if the horseplay was mixed with work activities, if the employer was aware of the practice, and where the injury occurred.

Assault/Altercation: The same factors above also apply to injuries that are the result of an assault or altercation. If the dispute arose from work related issues, then it is likely any resulting injury would be determined to be work related (if the other criteria are met). If the dispute arose solely out of non-work related issues, then it is likely the injury would be determined not to be work related. Additionally, if a worker leaves the jobsite to fight, they are typically no longer in the course of employment.

If your injury is the result of an assault, altercation, or horseplay and you have questions or concerns about your claim, please contact our office.