Not all workers are over 18 years old. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for teenage workers to suffer from a workplace injury. Especially when school is out over the summer. Therefore, it is important to know that in Washington State, workers’ compensation claim and work injury coverage applies to all injured workers. No matter what age.
Work injury legal reference for teens and minors
Under RCW 51.04.070, people injured at work who are minors are considered sui juris. This is a fancy Latin legal term that means having the full legal capacity to act on your own behalf. So what does it mean? It means that if you had a work injury and you are under the age of 18, are entitled to your own workers’ compensation or L&I claim for benefits.
However, there are some nuance. For example, if an injured worker is under 18 years of age and receives disability payments. Here, those payments are paid to the parent, guardian or legal custodian of the minor injured worker. If the parent, guardian or legal custodian gives written permission, L&I can make payments directly to the minor injured worker. Aside from this one caveat regarding disability payments, workers’ compensation claims for injured workers under the age of 18 are treated the same as all other claims.