Smaller employers may not deal with on-the-job injuries and the Department of Labor & Industries very often. When on-the-job injuries occur, these businesses don’t always know the tricks that can lower the costs of Workers Comp claims.
We recently answered questions for some of our clients about Workers Comp, and we want to share the info with you!
Can I pay my employee’s doctor bills myself so my Workers Comp rates don’t go up?
No, this actually violates state law, so you don’t want to do that.
However, if your employee’s claim is for medical costs only (no time loss), the claim won’t affect your rates if those costs are below $2,760.
With a more minor claim that forces an employee to take a couple days off work, you can avoid any impact on your rates simply by paying them their normal wages. This can be money well spent!
Can Labor & Industries help me pay an employee’s wages until they return to full duty?
The good news is yes!
If the doctor releases an injured employee to go back to work with modified duties, you can have the doctor approve a light duty job.
Here’s how it works:
- You submit a Stay at Work Wage Reimbursement form to L&I and get reimbursed for 50% of the worker’s wages for up to 60 days of work ($10,000 maximum)
- You can also get reimbursed for any training an injured worker needs for the light duty job (for example: computer training or courses) and any tools they need (for example: a new computer or software).
Generally speaking we all have projects we can’t get to, and putting an injured worker back to work to do some of them benefits you and them.
And this wage reimbursement by L&I does not count against your business as time loss, so if the medical bills are under $2,760, there is still no impact to your rate!
I can’t figure out how to proceed with a Workers Comp claim. Where can I get help?
L&I has Small Business Liaisons to help you! Getting in touch with them is easy:
- Call (800) 987-0145
- Email SmallBusiness@Lni.wa.gov.
You can call them with a general question, or a specific one about your claim. Sometimes people are hesitant to ask L&I for help, but I’ve found these folks to be very willing to help me over the years.