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I was injured at work and I had surgery should I look for a settlement from L&I?

Pullman, WA |

I was injured at work and have not worked for almost 6 months.I have been reciving L&I beniffits. I recently had surgery and will be another 2-3 months before I can return to work and will have a total of 3-5 months of physical therapy before I can expect to be fully recovered. My doctor says that although my recovery should go well I will continue to have some pain from my injury for the rest of my life.

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Attorney answers 5


It may be premature for you to settle this matter. The insurance company will want to resolve the medical issues as well; you state that you need physical therapy, and you don't know now that you will be cured.

You should be patient, see how things turn out and then do the math. If you do not feel competent to arrive at a reasonable number, contact a lawyer in confidence.


You cannot look for a settlement until you reach MMI. Leave your medicals open for life, and get an attorney.


I would not settle this case until I reached MMI and got a disability rating.


The benefits you will receive from L&I will depend on the extent of your recovery. Here in Washington, permanent partial disability is determined when you have reached maximum medical improvement (the doctor says you're as good as you're going to get after surgery and rehab). If you have a permanent impairment that results in a loss of function, you may receive a PPD award. Not all injuries that require surgery lead to a PPD award. There is no PPD award for pain. If you do have functional limitations that result in your being unable to return to your job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation services.

The best way to be sure you are getting all the benefits to which you are entitled is to consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. Sooner is better. Some doctors are very conservative in assessing PPD. Your attorney can work with you and your doctor to document your impairment.

Susan J. Holm
Leonard W. Moen & Associates
947 Powell Ave SW, Suite 105
Renton, WA 98057

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice. It is merely intended to provide general information to aid the poster in finding answers to the problem posed. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. In most cases, it is best to contact an attorney directly to find answers to your problems.


Normally, injured people wait until the doctor says that maximum medical improvement has been reached. Then you have a better chance of determining the extent of the injuries and the extent of the partial permanent impairment. An attorney might be able to help you with that.

Best wishes.

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