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Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation
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How do I know if I am covered by workers' compensation insurance?
To receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must be a covered employee, acting in the course of employment, who has sustained an injury or occupational disease.
How do I file a claim for workers' compensation?
You are responsible for giving your employer notice of your injury or illness and you must file an application for benefits to open a claim. You should notify your employer when you suffer an on-the-job injury or illness. Many employers, however, do not notify the Department of Labor and Industries of injuries to their workers. It is your responsibility to make sure that you file an application for benefits in a timely manner. You can get an application from your doctor’s office, from your employer, or from the department.
How long do I have to file a claim?
You have one year from the date of your accident to file an application for benefits to open your claim. Applications for occupational disease claims must be filed within two years of learning you have a work-related disease.
The application has a section for you to complete and a portion for your doctor to fill out. The sooner you file the application for benefits, the sooner the department will be able to provide benefits.
Please remember, your employer is not required to file an application for benefits for you, even when they have notice of your accident.
Important Definitions You Should Know
A covered employee – The law recognizes there are hazards in all jobs, so workers’ compensation coverage is almost always required. Generally, if you are an employee, not an independent contractor, then you will be covered. There are some categories of employees who are excluded from coverage. Where coverage is not mandatory, the employer can elect to provide coverage. You should check with your employer to make sure you are covered.
Acting in the course of employment – To be covered, you must be doing a task at the direction of your employer or for your employer’s business, at the time you are hurt. For example, if you are injured on your way to work, you will not be covered, but if you are injured while making a delivery for your employer, you will be covered.
Injury – An injury is defined as a sudden and tangible event of a traumatic nature, which results in a physical condition. You must be able to identify an event or occurrence which resulted in your injury.
Occupational disease – An occupational disease is not caused by a sudden identifiable traumatic event. An occupational disease is a physical state that arises naturally from the conditions of employment, as opposed to being caused by conditions that exist in everyday life. There must also be a causal relationship between your illness and your job. Hearing loss from exposure to harmful levels of occupational noise is an example of an occupational disease.