Some employers are self-insured and manage their own workers compensation claims.
They choose to self insure because they wish to save money. Some self insurers will try to save money by not paying it to you. Don’t let them do this to you. Stand up for your rights and insist the self insurer treat you fairly. If they will not treat you fairly than request a penalty.
Penalties and the amount of the penalty for refusing to pay or delaying benefits are authorized by RCW 51.48.017. This law assesses a penalty of the greater of $500 or 25% of the amount due. Payment is to the injured worker.
These self-insured employers are required to pay workers compensation benefits on time. If the self insured employer delays benefits they can be penalized.
The department of Labor and Industries will consider assessing a penalty for unreasonable delay of benefits under the guidelines of WAC 296-15-266.
Delayed benefits subject to penalty include time loss, loss of earning power, coverage of medical conditions, payment of medical bills, authorization of emergency medical care and permanent partial disability.
It is Difficult to Get L&I to Order a Penalty.
Unfortunately in their administrative regulations, L&I allows the Self Insured employers to get away with delayed payment if there is any legal or medical doubt that payment is due. Said another way, if the self insured gets a bogus IME it is difficult to get a penalty. This isn’t right. The opinion of the attending doctor should prevail. See: Clark County v McManus
Some penalties are payable to the injured worker, others to L&I.
A penalty request is made by sending a written request to Labor and Industries. The director of L&I is required to issue an order within 30 days of your request. Some penalties are payable to the injured worker and some are payable to L&I.
Frequently asked questions about self insured penalties and more insight about how a court, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, looks at penalties see : Penalties (RCW 51.48.17)
Telephone – Call for information or a free strategy session – 206-343-1988