Who Pays the Medical Bills If I’m Injured at Work?
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Who Pays the Medical Bills If I’m Injured at Work?

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Posted on May 22, 2024

Suffering a workplace injury in Washington is both painful and unsettling. You may be wondering how to provide for yourself and your family while you recover and who is going to pay the large bills for your medical treatment and rehabilitation costs. In the worst-case scenario, you may find yourself facing permanent partial or total disability with an uncertain future ahead.

If you’re concerned about how to pay the medical bills after you’re injured at work in Washington, it’s important to know how Washington’s workplace injury laws work for you and your family.

What to Do After a Workplace Injury in Washington

Ensuring that your medical bills are paid after an injury at work begins with the steps you take immediately following the injury. First, it’s critical to seek immediate medical treatment by calling for an ambulance or arranging transportation straight from the accident scene to the emergency room. While you’re waiting, If you’re able, use your phone’s camera to snap photos of the cause of the injury and your injury if it’s visible. Then do the following:

  • Notify your immediate supervisor of the injury and ask them to fill out a workplace injury report
  • Notify your employer as soon as possible or within one year of the accident if you develop symptoms later
  • Ask for a detailed medical report of your injury, treatment recommendation, and prognosis at the hospital—your employer is responsible for the emergency medical bills

Many employees who sustain serious work injuries hire a Washington work injury lawyer at this point to ensure full protection of their rights. An experienced work injury attorney advises an injury victim on the best way to move forward after the injury.

Is My Employer Responsible for My Medical Bills After a Workplace Injury?

With very few exceptions, all Washington employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. After a workplace injury, this insurance protects an employer against lawsuits after an injury except in cases of egregious negligence or wrongdoing. When workers’ compensation approves a claim, the insurance provides protection for the employee by covering their medical expenses.

After the initial emergency room visit, you must seek any further medical care through a doctor within the workers’ compensation network. In addition, a successful workers’ compensation claim in Washington provides 60% to 75% of your normal income—depending on your marital status and whether or not you have children—throughout your recovery period until you can return to work.

If you are able to return to work on light duty after the accident, workers’ compensation pays up to 75% of the difference between your standard pay and your light-duty pay until you can return to full duty.

An employer is not allowed to retaliate against an employee in any way after a workplace injury and workers’ compensation claim.

Can I File a Lawsuit After a Workplace Injury?

Workers’ compensation protects employers by prohibiting lawsuits for those injured on the job. Only in rare cases of extreme recklessness or intentional harm inflicted by an employer does Washington allow lawsuits against an employer with workers’ compensation insurance. However, depending on how the injury occurred, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party.

For instance, after a traffic accident while driving on the job if the other driver was at fault, or against a subcontractor if their negligence caused you an injury while on the job. A lawsuit from a Kent personal injury attorney is beneficial in some cases because it may cover more than just medical expenses and lost wages, but also allows claims for compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering which are not available under workers’ compensation.