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L & I Settlements

Olympia, WA |

Is there a settlement for L&I claims, in particular for a back injury resulting in surgery? I can't go back to what I did before, and that will mean my income is cut by 1/2.

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Attorney answers 1


L&I settles claims at their end and after medical care is fixed and stable and you are found employable.
The settlement is called permanent partial disability, (PPD).
The PPD dollar amount varies by body part, severity of injury, and date of injury.
L&I will want to send you out for an "independent medical exam" (IME). The IME doctors will give you a category rating, which converts to a dollar figure via the PPD schedule.
This may sound confusing, but it's worth you time to learn about it. Detailed information is available on my website.
Keep in mind the following important points:
PPD is segregated by body parts and functions and L&I will only ask for an IME rating for obvious injuries. This can work to your disadvantage if your job injury involves more than on body system.. For example almost every injured worker with a failed back surgery has depression. Depression is a significant disability. It gets better with treatment, and its PPD category which is mental health, is a body system that deserves a PPD rating. L&I and the PPD doctors won't help with this unless you and your doctor make it happen. So make it happen.
PPD doctors don't care about you. They consider it their job to help L&I close your case cheap. They will short change you at rating time. You need to get your doctor to comment appropriately on the IME or you will be stuck with a low rating. Better yet, have your attending physician do the rating exam and effectively skip the IME.
You mentioned a loss of future income. This is unfortunate and is not considered in the PPD settlement. PPD is for physical disability only.
While your claim is open you can get loss of earning power (LEP). After it closes, your uncompensated loss of income is an unfortunate result of a serious job injury. However if you cannot work again you can consider doing the work to get yourself a pension.

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