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New WA Law Strengthens Workers' Position in Injury Comp Cases

  • Written by  Eric Tegethoff

With the legislative session wrapped up, workers say Washington state lawmakers have handed them a victory when it comes to workers' compensation cases.

Legislators passed House Bill 1068, which allows workers to record medical examinations of their injuries.

Joe Kendo, chief of staff for the Washington State Labor Council, said it is important when someone's claim for compensation is appealed to ensure doctors are providing thorough exams.

"That is a policy that addresses a lot of concerns that we've heard from injured workers who have gone through this experience, which can be pretty uncomfortable and traumatic," Kendo explained.

Kendo noted workers have a lot on the line in these cases. He stressed their ability to retain their wage replacement benefits or get the medical treatment they need hinges on the opinion of doctors in examinations, adding the specialists are not their usual doctors.

Kendo acknowledged the bill has been introduced multiple years in a row.

"It's one of those classic fights that pits workers and employers against each other," Kendo contended. "Their interests can diverge pretty dramatically in the space. And so, finally see it cross the finish line was pretty satisfying."

Opponents have expressed concern the law could lead to fewer doctors who are willing to provide exams. The legislation is currently on Gov. Jay Inslee's desk.

Last modified onTuesday, 25 April 2023 21:41