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Does L&I have to retrain me after closing my claim?

Lynden, WA |

Got hurt at work, was working 40 hours per week. After having L&I doctor see me to be assessed, it was determined 13% permanent partial loss of shoulder. My doctor then concurred with the L&I doctor and said I would only be able "to work 20 hours per week continued light duty tasks with same restrictions permanent" and submitted this to my employer of job of injury. I am wondering why I wasn't offered retraining or continued loss of earnings since I was originally working full time and because of injury at work I now cannot work more than 20 hours at the job of injury. They have me doing light duty tasks but not in the job of injury position. I am protesting decision, do I need a lawyer.

I want to know if they are required to retrain me and after reading my situation do I need an attorney?

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Attorney answers 1


It sounds like you may need a lawyer, but there seems to be information missing from your question. Did the IME examiners give an opinion that you can return to work, at the job of injury, without restrictions? If so, the Department will likely close your claim based upon a finding of employability. Has the Department closed your claim? If so, you need a lawyer. There is a 60 day deadline to appeal such a decision.

If your claim is not closed, are you receiving full wages from the Employer; or are you receiving loss of earning power benefits from the Department to make up a portion of the difference between your wages at the time of injury v. your light duty wages? If your light duty wages are at least 5% less than your time of injury wages, you should be receiving 80% of the difference in loss of earning power benefits.

If you are on LEP, then the Department should be aware that you have not returned to pre-injury status. Before the Department can close your claim, it must make a decision on your employability. This does not necessarily mean that you go straight to retraining.

Generally speaking, if an injured worker is unable to return to the job of injury or pre-injury status, there needs to be a vocational assessment. If the worker has transferable skills into another job within their restrictions, then they are not entitled to retraining. If the employer of injury is willing to offer a full-time, permanent job within the restrictions, then the individual is not entitled to vocational retraining.

It is not clear from your question what has been done with regard to a decision of employability. If you would like to discuss your options in greater detail, I offer free consultations. You can contact my assistant, Jennifer or Stephanie, to schedule a telephone appointment at 253-620-1500.

Good luck,
Knowrasa Patrick-Roundtree