Res Judicata is a principle of finality. Said another way, once a matter is finally decided then it cannot be decided again.
This principle applies to L&I orders. When an L&I order is first issued, it is not final because you have 60 days to protest or appeal. If you or someone does not either protest or appeal, then 60 days after that order is communicated to you it becomes a final order. That final order is then res judicata and so it cannot be changed.
L&I orders should, and almost always do, contain this language:
“THIS ORDER BECOMES FINAL 60 DAYS FROM THE DATE IT IS COMMUNICATED TO YOU UNLESS YOU DO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING: FILE A WRITTEN REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OR FILE A WRITTEN APPEAL WITH THE BOARD OF INDUSTRIAL INSURANCE APPEALS. IF YOU FILE FOR RECONSIDERATION, YOU SHOULD INCLUDE REASONS YOU BELIEVE THIS DECISION IS WRONG AND SEND IT TO: DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES, PO BOX 44291, OLYMPIA, WA 98504-4291. WE WILL REVIEW YOUR REQUEST AND ISSUE A NEW ORDER. IF YOU FILE AN APPEAL, SEND IT TO: BOARD OF INDUSTRIAL INSURANCE APPEALS, PO BOX 42401, OLYMPIA WA 98504-2401 OR SUBMIT IT ON AN ELECTRONIC FORM FOUND AT HTTP://WWW.BIIA.WA.GOV/.”
This language means what it says. If you miss your 60 day deadline to protest or appeal in writing then the order becomes final and binding and is res judicata.
There are a few exceptions to this principle of finality:
a) the order does not contain the necessary language
b) the order was not communicated to you
c) the order is the result of a clerical error
d) the order is the result of mistake of identity
e) the order is the result of innocent misrepresentation
If you have an exception to res judicata, contact a lawyer.
Telephone – Call for information or a free strategy session – 206-343-1988