Injuries are not badges of honor, protecting your family is.

L&I Claim Basics

L&I Claim Basics

This is your starting point to get basic L&I Claim information, and to distinguish L&I law from other types of Workers Compensation.

What is an L&I Claim?

L&I is short for the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. It is a quasi insurance system covering persons hurt on the job. A worker hurt on the job files an L&I claim. L&I benefits include medical care, time loss compensation, permanent partial disability, vocational rehab, pensions, and other payments. L&I manages state fund cases and presides over self insured cases.

Who is covered by L&I?

Most workers are covered by L&I Insurance. You may have L&I insurance even if you think you don’t. Coverage is mandatory, and your employer is required to pay for it, either before or after you are injured.

  • Most workers are covered by L&I in Washington State. You may have L&I insurance even if your employer says you do not.
    Many employers don’t like L&I claims. Some will tell you that you do not have L&I coverage to discourage you from filing a claim. Don’t believe an employer who is not telling the truth.
  • You’re covered even if you work “under the table.”
    Common sense seems to say that if you work under the table, you have no L&I coverage. Common sense is wrong. If you’re a worker, you are covered, even if you work “under the table.”
  • You’re covered, even if you are undocumented and not a citizen.
  • If you are a worker, you are covered, with some exceptions.
  • The exceptions to mandatory L&I insurance coverage are listed in  RCW 51.12.020. See the statute for details. Exceptions include housekeepers, gardeners, maintenance and repair, sole proprietors, genuine cooperate officers and others.  Keep in mind, even if your employment or status in an exception, if  you purchased optional L&I coverage, you should be covered.

Types of Workers Compensation Coverage

Types of Washington State Workers Compensation L&I Insurance

State Fund – The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) state fund handles most workers compensation in Washington, state fund cases handled by claims managers who work for L&I. These L&I claims managers are there to move your claim along. They may or may not be helpful.

Self Insurance – Self insurers, often large employers, manage their own L&I claims. These claims are handled by employees or agents of the employer. Self insured claims managers are not there to help you. They will only help if they have no other choice.

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