Under the Washington State workers’ compensation system, injured workers are entitled to certain statutorily benefits. These benefits depend on the facts and circumstances. Benefits typically include treatment, time-loss compensation or loss of earning power, and discretionary vocational services. They also include permanent partial disability awards, pensions, and sidebar or structured settlements (CRSSAs).
I am always conscious of the benefits available. Moreover, I work hard to ensure that my clients are provided with all appropriate benefits. However, it is not uncommon to see cases with facts that don’t align perfectly with the benefits under the Industrial Insurance Act. When I encounter those kinds of cases, I always have conversations with my clients about their ideal claim outcome.
Today I had two separate opportunities to give serious consideration to creative ideas for resolving claim related issues. Knowing what my client ultimately wants helps me to think of ways to resolve the claim in a way that will satisfy the injured worker. A workers’ compensation claim is like a complex puzzle or a game of chess. It is my job to navigate the pieces correctly to achieve the best outcome.
I must admit that I haven’t had much opportunity for creativity over the past few months. Instead of spending my time thinking about creative and unique resolutions, I often spend my time and focus on matters that are actively being litigated. However, today was a refreshing reminder that claims can be resolved creatively, and that sometimes the creative approach benefits all parties involved.