Tara Reck, Managing L&I Attorney at Reck Law PLLC - Workers' Compensation Attorneys

What Does My L&I Claim Worth? An Overview of Workers Compensation Claim Benefits

What’s the value of my L&I claim? What’s my workers’ compensation case worth? I get these questions all the time. And, my answer is always the same: “It depends”.


What is the value of my workers’ compensation claim?

Knowing or calculating the value of your workers’ compensation claim or L&I claim in Washington State is tough. If you file a work injury claim and the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) allows your claim, then you may be entitled to a variety of benefits. Some of these benefits have a monetary value. Furthermore, the value is unique to each L&I claim because every claim is different.


The purpose of this article is to help you figure out the potential value of all available benefits. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer or formula to calculate the exact value of your workers’ compensation claim. But, if you want to get a rough estimate, you can sum up the total value of benefits.


Medical treatment under L&I claim

It’s very difficult to put a dollar amount on the value of medical treatment. For many, and in my opinion as well, it is invaluable. Generally, if your claim has been allowed, then L&I (or the self-insured employer) will cover your medical bills and expenses, as long as the treatment is for conditions that relate to your work injury claim.


It is important to keep in mind that certain treatment recommendations must go through an authorization process. However, once authorized, the treatment is covered 100%. This means that there are no out-of-pocket expenses such as co-pays or deductibles. Moreover, when you are incapable of working because of your work injury conditions, having a path to medical recovery and the peace of mind that your medical bills will be covered, is priceless.


Time-Loss Compensating benefits in L&I claim

If you have an allowed workers compensation claim or L&I claim and you are unable to work, then you are entitled to monetary wage replacement benefits. Time loss compensation (TLC) is one such benefit. It’s what you get when you are temporarily incapable of working.


Your time loss wage rate is based on what you were making at the time you got injured at work. A single male of female individual with no dependents receives 60% of their wage at the time they got hurt on the job. If you are married or have children, then you’ll receive a higher percentage.


Loss of Earning Power under an L&I claim

In some cases, after a work injury, some people are still able to work with limitations. For example, some injured workers can work reduced hours. Others might perform a light duty job that pays less than their job of injury. If you’re able to work after you were injured at work, and your new salary is lower than what you were making before, then you might be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages.


Loss of Earning Power (LEP) benefits are paid when you are doing limited work that results in a 5% or more decrease in your wage-earning capacity. This is a significant monetary value in any workers compensation claim. The specific value varies from individual to individual. And as explained earlier, it all depends on your earnings at the time of industrial injury or occupational disease manifestation.


Vocational services in L&I workers compensation claims

If you have an allowed L&I claim and you are permanently incapable of returning to your work, then you should be eligible for retraining. If L&I approves your retraining, they will pay for your retraining program for up to two years at total cost of approximately $18,000. In addition to the $18,000 cost of retraining, L&I will pay time-loss compensation benefits throughout your retraining program.


The topic of vocational services in workers compensation claims is very broad. They include many steps and services. You can read about important topics relating to vocations services by following the resources below:
1) Option 1 vs Option 2
2) Vocational services plan development
3) Job analysis
as well as many others. You can also refer to the high-level summary of vocational services in L&I workers compensation claims.


Permanent Partial Disability in L&I claim

Permanent partial disability (PPD) refers to a loss of bodily function because of an industrial work injury or a work disease. The degree to which you lose bodily function is called PPD rating. In this context, a PPD rating exam must be performed by a qualified medical professional.


In general, for parts of the body that can be amputated such as an arm or a leg, the PPD rating is based upon percentage of loss of function. For parts of the body that can’t be amputated, like the spine or mental health disability, the PPD rating is based on levels called “categories of impairment”. These categories, alongside other rules and guidelines, are outlined in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).


In order to assess the loss of body function, the examining doctor compares your condition with the condition described in the categories. Then, the doctor selects the category that best describes your level of impairment. The monetary value of the PPD is based on a PPD award schedule, which is available on the L&I website.


Permanent Total Disability in L&I claim

Total disability is a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working. Usually, medical professionals or vocational counselors determine if you are capable to work. If your disability is preventing you from returning to work in the foreseeable future, then we refer to it as Total Disability and consider it to be a permanent condition.


You must obtain an opinion from a medical provider to establish the likelihood that your disability will continue to impact your ability to work in the future. If you are indeed permanently totally disabled (PTD), then you are likely entitled to receive a pension under your L&I claim.


Pension in L&I claims

A pension in workers’ compensation claims mean that you receive monthly payments for the remainder of your life. Payments are made so long as you cannot, and do not, return to work. Like to time-loss compensation, your pension payments depend on what you were earning at the time of your work injury or disease manifestation. The pension benefit is intended to provide a source of income under an L&I claim for people with severe work injury that can never go back to work.


  1. Susan Gale

    Have I been entitled to receive the extra help of $600 per week while still on my L&I claim payments of $390 x 2 per month? I receive $409 SSI per month. I was injured at work as a caregiver through a company, which necessitated in shoulder surgery last year in April. I am scheduled for an MRI next week,on the other shoulder, which is part of the claim. I am 70 years old and have been advised by the surgeon that I can not return to caregiving but could do part time wellness consulting, even though there is nothing on offer in this capacity. I completed the physical assessment and am also in contact with a vocational counselor. My claim payments began in June/July last year 2019. I’m struggling to make ends meet, especially during this COVID period.

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      L&I attorney

      Thank you for posting your comment on my website. I’m very sorry to hear about your injury and that you are struggling financially. I would like to provide you with a complete answer to your question, but I need a little clarification.

      You asked whether you have been entitled to receive the extra help of $600 per week while still getting your L&I payments of $390 every two weeks, plus SSI benefits. In order to tell you whether you are entitled to the extra help, I need to know where that $600 is coming from and why you have been getting it?

      If the $600 is simply being given to you by the generosity of another and you aren’t doing anything in return for the money (in other words it is simply a charitable kindness to you) then it probably isn’t an issue and you are probably still entitled to your L&I payments. However, if there is some other reason you are receiving the $600 extra help, I’ll need you to tell me more about that so I can help you determine whether there is an issue.

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    Question…I know a kid who was working at a Berry place like raspberries and he got injured on the job and lost 3 fingers…he is still having medical things done and has not settled for the injury but he is trying to get re-trained as he will not be able to work in the berries anymore due to his injury he was told they would give him $800 a year for school? Does this sound right to you?

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      L&I attorney

      Every workers compensation claim is unique, and it is difficult to say with any certainty whether this situation is right or not. However, based on what you’ve said, it would probably be good for this injured worker to speak with an an experienced workers compensation attorney, because what you have described certainly raises some questions.

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    I have an L&I claim going right now and they accepted responsibility for one thing but two of the things that the doctors found they are denying it. But the 2 that they are trying to say there not responsible for is because of there IME I have done for them. The IME was done 9 months later. The injury happened in January 16 2020 and to this day I haven’t had any treatment. My ankle is still hurting my knee gives out on me. It’s been almost a year since the work injury. I have read that if some of the injuries aren’t taking care of that I will have major problems in the future. What can I do about the pain and agony i’ve been going through this whole time?

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    Chris Pederson

    It’s good to know that a married person or someone who has kids will receive a higher percentage of their wage. I always thought that some of the percentages given during insurance claims seemed a bit off. I’m glad to see that they do change depending on your living situation.

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      EveLynn Schoenheider

      It only goes up 7 percent so it’s not that high of a percentage. My husband has been home for over two years due to a head injury he got from work. He just did his IME in October 2021. We are still waiting on that. His neurologist said after two years if there is no improvement by now there won’t be. So we are trying to see what his rights are because it’s putting us in complete financial ruin and his mental state isn’t good either.

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    Informative post. You have revealed many of my query. Keep going. If you have been injured in an accident, you may have questions that you need answered. You have the right to seek compensation for your losses.

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    Kenneth Carney

    Hi I’ve been a welder for 40 years and now have significant lung damage, I’m turning 62 next weeks, I also smoked 20 years. Can I claim ppd? My lung capacity is about 40%,

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    A. S.

    I recently filed an L & I claim against my employer due to “hostile work environment.”
    This has been ongoing for over a year.
    I have reached out to many entities for help but either get told, we can’t do anything until you’re fired, they haven’t done anything to a protected class, the issue appears to have been resolved…
    What has happened to society that employers can continue to mistreat employees and get away with it?

    My workplace has placed so much undue stress on me that I have contemplated suicide, it truly has gotten that bad. I am blessed to have my grandkids that are my glue holding me together right now!

    Quitting isn’t an option, I need an income.
    Applying for other opportunities but I don’t even get interviews, perhaps age and over qualified. I am also a Veteran which doesn’t mean anything anymore either.

    I truly don’t know what to do or how to proceed.

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    Corine Harris

    I am heartily impressed by your blog and learn more from your article. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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