How to File an L&I Claim for Job Injuries in Washington State

Hurt on the Job – How Do I Get Workers Compensation in WA State?

  1. See a doctor – this is the first step to filing a claim
  2. File the L&I claim – and do this within one year for an injury or two years for an occupational disease. 
  3. Follow Up On Your Claim – Take care of claim problems as they arise. You can do this. Get help if you need it from an experienced L&I attorney.
  4. Secure time loss money – these are payments to you for lost wages while you can’t work
  5. Follow Doctor’s Orders – Continue your medical care and get well. 
  6. Resume Work – Return to work or get vocational training, depending on the nature of your injury and your employability .
  7. Close your L&I claim – Work with the WA Dept. of Labor & Industries or your lawyer to favorably settle your claim and get paid a fair amount of settlement money.

How Do I File an L&I Claim in Washington State?

There are 3 ways to file a State Fund claim for L&I: 

  1. The best way to file a claim is to see a doctor and in their office, you and they together will fill out the Report of Accident (ROA) form. The doctor should have the forms and they should file this paperwork. The important part is to see a doctor who listens, cares, and wants to help you with your L&I claim.
  2. File Online via L&I’s FileFast tool.
  3. File a claim by phone: 877-561-3453 (FILE).

Please note you cannot file a claim at the nearest L&I office. Local offices are closed to the public and are not allowing in-person claim filings. 

How do I file a claim with a Self Insured Employer?

If your employer is self insured you will need to get a Self-Insured Accident Report (SIF-2) form from human resources and take it to the doctor. Or the doctor can get and file the form online: Provider’s Initial Report (PIR) (F207-028-000). You can still get workers compensation and have an L&I claim even when you have a self-insured employer. Here are some instructions from self insurance for accident reporting.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The Statute of Limitations (SOL) is a time deadline by which you must file a report of injury to start your L&I claim. This is a very important deadline.

For an injury, the SOL is one year. You must file your claim within one year of your injury or you will lose your right to do so. RCW 51.28.050

For an occupational disease the SOL is two years, possibly longer. File your claim within two years of the manifestation of the disease, and you are timely. If you wait longer you may still have time. See Statute of Limitations (L&I)

L&I claims have additional deadlines. Pay attention to all orders from L&I and appeal or protest as appropriate to protect your rights

You Have a Choice of Doctors

  • Under RCW 51.36.010 the worker is entitled to free choice of treating provider.  This is important! You do not have to use the doctor or work clinic your employer recommends.  
  • Understand this: the doctor who files your claim if he or she continues to treat you will be your attending physician. The attending physician has a lot of say about how much help you are going to get while you are injured. Pick your own doctor carefully. Pick the wrong doctor and you will be sorry.
  • Before you get started ask the doctor’s office if they take L&I claims and treat L&I patients. Some don’t. If they don’t, then find another doctor. Choice of Physician: The right doctor will have L&I forms in his office.

Be Careful About Some Doctor’s Offices

  • See the wrong doctor and he or she will ruin your claim.
  • You can change doctors after you file paperwork, however the best plan is to start with a good doctor. 

How Do I Win My L&I Case?

Pay attention to L&I orders and other claim information. Take appropriate action. Protest or appeal incorrect decisions. Workers compensation is your right, however you will need to  be smart and fight for your rights to get a good result.

Get professional advice from an L&I lawyer. The Sharpe Law Firm offers a free consultation. We’ll tell you what you can do, and give you ideas about how to do it.

Do I Have to Report My Injury to My Employer? 

It’s a good idea to report your injury. However there is no Washington State law for the injured worker that requires immediate reporting of an injury accident. The report of the accident you file for your L&I claim will inform your employer. 

However, many employers have an in house accident policy which they want you to follow. To keep in good shape with your employer, you may want to follow their policy. 

How Much Do I Get Paid on L&I?

That question is complex. It depends on a number of factors. The important thing to know is that once L&I issues an order setting your time loss rate or awarding you permanent partial disability you must formally and timely disagree with that order if it is not correct, otherwise you’re locked into the ordered payment amount. Make sure you know and understand your right to benefits. 

Getting Healthy and Back to Work

L&I Claim Basics

Not all L&I claims are the same. The links below will help.

My L&I Claim Has a Problem

Welcome to the club.  Many L&I claims have problems. To solve L&I problems learn the law and be smart about the decisions you make.

  • Be clear about your claim problem(s)
  • Read about the laws and regulations that control those problems
  • Learn about your rights
  • Make smart decisions and take action likely to solve the problem
  • Look over this page carefully and find links to the information that will help your L&I claim. If you don’t understand what to do, call us for help. 

Obligations of Injured Workers

The rights of an injured worker are subject to the performance of certain obligations. This means you can lose your rights if you don’t do certain things. At a minimum:

  • You must report your accident to your employer and your doctor.
  • You must file an accident report with L&I or the self-insuring employer within one year of a job injury, or within two years of written notice of an occupational disease. The sooner you file, the better. Your doctor should have these forms.
  • You must always tell the truth when claiming benefits. Giving false information is a crime.
  • You must cooperate with your doctor, employer, vocational consultant, and claims manager.
  • You must comply with certain time deadlines. Pay attention to all paperwork that is sent to you, especially anything titled ORDER AND NOTICE. If you change your address, let L&I or the self-insurer know immediately.
  • If you miss a deadline, YOU COULD LOSE YOUR RIGHTS. If you don’t know what to do, get help before too much time passes and you lose your rights.

Watch Out For This

L&I claims are complex.  Read this for ideas on what to do and how to avoid a mistake.

What if I Need Legal Help?

How to get a Free Consultation and Case Evaluation.

There are 4 different ways you can get a free initial consultation. Take your choice:

  1. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form below
  2. Call / text: (206) 343-1988
  3. Email us:
  4. Schedule an appointment via Calendly

We usually reply to forms, texts, and emails within 1 business day.

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The Smart Way to Find Out If You Have a Good Case.

Get a free consultation from a lawyer: Tell us about your concerns and let us show you some smart choices you can make for your claim. At the end of the call, no matter what you decide to do, you will have fresh ideas and an action plan. You will know that you have taken important steps to get your claim moving in the right direction. Protect yourself and your L&I or Personal Injury claim with a free case consultation.

Don't Guess

Don't guess about the value of your claim. Don't compare your claim to someone else's. Get an expert opinion about your claim, from an experienced lawyer. Expertise counts, so use it to your advantage. Consultations are free. This strategy session will help you get informed.

Are Attorney Consultations Really Free?

Yes, they are. Because both you and the attorney want to know if your case is any good. A free phone consultation or email gets that figured out quickly.  Questions are answered and no time is wasted. Call 206-343-1988 or email and let us help you figure it out with a free consultation.

Chris Sharpe

Meet Chris Sharpe

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 40 years. He has built a successful law practice by thoroughly educating, honestly helping, and successfully representing workers throughout Washington State.

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