L&I claim managers make important decisions about your L&I claim.
They often get it wrong. When L&I makes a wrong decision you can disagree with those decisions and ask and require them to make another decision.
If you ignore an L&I decision or wait too long, it will become final and binding and you will be stuck with it. There are time deadlines you must comply with to successfully disagree with L&I
Look to see what you disagree with. Is it an order or a vocational decision?
Order – see How to Disagree with an L&I Order below
Vocational Decision – see How to Disagree with a Vocational Decision below
How to Disagree with an L&I ORDER
You know you have an order because it says:
Order and Notice at the top
This order gives you a 60 day deadline to disagree
What to do?
Read the order
Note your time deadline (60 days from the receipt )
Understand what the order says and what it means for you and your claim
Decide what you are going to do about this order. Accept it or disagree.
If you are going to disagree, take legal action as appropriate, protest or appeal and don’t miss your time deadline.
A protest, (request for reconsideration) isa written disagreement with an L&I order or letter. It must be in writing.
There is a time deadline to protest.
Protests must be sent to L&I in writing within 60 days of when the order was communicated to you. The protest will require L&I to reconsider their decision. The information you put in your written protest must in effect specify that you disagree with the order and are requesting action inconsistent with the decision.
Miss your 60 day deadline and the order becomes final and binding and you will be stuck with it. See: Res Judicata.
If you protest in time, then you get to present more evidence and you should get another decision.
Here is what is important: Making the protest on time and in writing is most important. After a protest is made you have some time to gather or get information to support the reasoning you put in the protest. Said another way: Protest first and get your information to L&I ASAP.
An Appeal isa written disagreement with an L&I order.
The appeal must be in writing and sent to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals within 60 days of when the order was communicated to you.
This written appeal should comply with the requirements of RCW 51.52.070.
After you appeal, L&I will be given an opportunity to review your appeal and reconsider their order. If L&I passes on that opportunity then the Board of Industrial Insurance accepts a proper appeal and the litigation process starts.
Miss your 60 day deadline and you have a problem because the order becomes final, aka Res Judicata. If you appeal in time then you will start into the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals process.
Send a written appeal to: BIIA, P.O. Box 42401, Olympia, WA 98504-2401
Here is what is important Making the appeal on time is most important. After an appeal is made you have some additional time to gather or get information to support the reasoning you put in the appeal. Said another way: Appeal first and get your information to the Board when you can.
How to Dispute an L&I VOCATIONAL DECISION
L&I provides vocational services to injured workers who are not employable. Employability is a legal decision, based on facts and opinion.
When considering employability and whether they will provide vocational services L&I makes vocational decisions.
They will send you a letter telling you their decision. If you don’t agree with an L&I vocational decision then you can and probably should disagree with it.
Your dispute, protest, or appeal is the proper way to disagree with an L&I vocational decision.
A protest or appeal of a vocational decision is the same as a protest or appeal of an order, see above.
A vocational dispute has some of it’s own rules. The time deadline to dispute a vocational decision letter is only 15 days. Don’t miss your deadline.
The reason vocational challenges may seem complex is because they are complex.
Disagreeing with any L&I order or vocational decision is a legal process
You should consult with an L&I lawyer if you have questions.
Time Deadlines If You are Going to Disagree With an L&I Decision
Do it in time – Don’t miss a deadline.
Protest an order – 60 days after communication of the order to you
Appeal an order – 60 days after communication of the order to you
Protest or Appeal of a Letter – anytime if no time frame is indicated in the letter
Dispute of a Vocational Decision – 15 calendar days after receipt of notification letter.
can be extended for good cause
can protest or appeal within 60 days if you miss your dispute deadline
The information here and throughout this website is made available to you as a public service. I present it here because I believe in access to justice and that you have a right to know important legal information.
This legal information is not a substitute for legal advice.
Legal advice is what lawyers do when they apply your facts to the law.
I recommend you consult with a lawyer about your case. Do not miss your time deadlines.
Christopher Sharpe is the go to attorney for injured persons. His law firm is helpful, honest, and knowledgeable about workers' compensation and personal injury law in the State of Washington. Chris has been helping injured Washington State workers for over 30 years. He has built his practice on thoroughly educating, honestly helping, and successfully representing workers throughout Washington State. Public schools did not teach you how to survive the effects of a serious job injury and effectively handle an L&I claim. Our website does. It provides you an opportunity to get information about the medical, vocational, financial, and legal help you need to make your L&I claim work for you. Read the information on this website and then contact us with your questions. Taking the time to learn about injury law and your rights could be the smartest thing you've ever done. We are here to help you make good choices.