Employees in Washington state have one year from date of injury to file a claim for an injury and two years from the date first diagnosed for an occupational disease claim.  Even though the law allows for additional time to file a claim, it’s better for everyone if the accident and/or occupational disease are reported as soon as possible. L&I will cover the first medical appointment, plus any others if the claim is accepted, so there’s no downside for your injured employee to seek treatment. As an employer, you’ll find it’s far easier to support your employee and manage the claim sooner, rather than later.


Remember: Always call 911 in an emergency. You must also report the following to L&I:

  • The death or in-patient hospitalization of any worker
  • Amputation or loss of eye
  • Any accidents which you suspect may cause any of the above to take place

To report a catastrophic injury, please contact your Approach Retro Coordinator during normal business hours. For after-hours reporting, contact the Approach Crisis Response Team at 206-812-3850. You will also be required to report to L&I within 8 hours via their reporting line at 1-800-423-7233.


What to do in case of a workplace accident

Even if it’s not an emergency, render first aid and make sure your employee is seen by medical provider, even if it’s by video call.

Download our claims process infographic

Fact: Due to the COVID-19 emergency, L&I is allowing the initial medical visit after a workplace accident to take place by video call (telemedicine). This policy is in place through June 30, 2021.

Make sure every person on the job site knows to notify your company’s safety or claims person right away, so that you can start an investigation for your employer’s report of accident.

Contact your Approach Retro Coordinator, or fill out our online workplace incident report, so we can begin managing your claim.

Surprise claims, and how to avoid them

Guess what? There’s no law in Washington state requiring employees to tell their employer about a workplace accident.

Did you know? It takes 55 days on average for L&I to learn about a workplace injury through claim filing. Approach finds out about injuries in just 11 days on average. We get automated reports from L&I each day, showing any new claims impacting our clients.

It’s critical to have policies in place requiring employees to notify you of workplace accidents. Educate your employees on this policy and remind them often, so you hear about accidents right away, instead of weeks or months after the fact. All Things HR can help provide templates for this policy — contact them through the HR Help Desk, complimentary for Approach clients.

The Employer Report of Accident

As soon as you’re aware of the accident, even if it’s not an emergency, open an investigation to find out the basics – Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. If you’re not sure how or if you run into problems, contact your Approach retro coordinator, who can put you in touch with our safety team.

The Employer Report of Accident is your opportunity to present the facts of the incident

Your investigation serves two key purposes:

  • Helps you to fill out the Employer Report of Accident completely and accurately
  • Identifies root causes that may prevent future accidents or injuries

The Employer Report of Accident is your opportunity to present the facts of the incident, along with other key information:

  • Whether you intend to protest the claim
  • Complete wage information for the injured employee
  • The last date your injured employee worked in their normal job (the job of injury)
  • Possible light-duty assignments available at your organization

If you don’t file an Employer Report of Accident, L&I will use the claim filing prepared by your employee and their medical provider. Of course, L&I has no way to know if that information is accurate or complete unless they hear from you, so submit a report for every claim!

Getting the claim filed

Ultimately, it’s up to your employee to get the claim filed, because only an injured worker can file a claim. This happens when they’re first seen by a medical provider for a workplace injury. That’s why it’s crucial to encourage your employee to seek medical attention (and to accompany them to the visit when possible).

Claims can move quickly and it’s important to stay on top of mailing and other information. Download our claims process infographic or sign up for our Claims 101 webinar (free for Approach clients) to learn more.