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Category Archives: Workers Compensation

Third-Party Claims: Workers Injured In Car Accidents

Generally, employees injured at work may not sue their employer or other employees outside of the Workers’ Compensation system. However, the right of an injured worker or their beneficiary to seek damages against a responsible third party is an exception to the general rule.

Hiring a personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm like Althauser Rayan Abbarno in Olympia and Centralia may help the injured worker navigate both systems better, receive the necessary medical treatment, and recover more for the injuries.

Althauser Rayan Abbarno – Experienced and Local- Olympia and Centralia – (360) 736-1301

If an employee is injured in the course of work, by a third party, the employee should file a Workers’ Compensation claim, as well as a personal injury claim against the third party. This will helpthe injured worker receive the maximum amount of benefits and recover the maximum amount of compensation.

A third party is a person, not employed by the same employer, who injures or causes the death of the employee while the employee is working.  Some common examples include:

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Injured Workers need to know about “Light-Duty Jobs”

Injured workers may be eligible for a “light-duty job”.  The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno offer FREE workers’ compensation consultations in Olympia and Centralia to make sure you know all your rights and receive all your benefits.

Injured workers may be eligible for time-loss, loss of earning power, permanent partial disability, pension, vocational benefits, and even a light-duty job offer. An employer can request that an injured worker, entitled to time loss benefits, be certified by their medical provider to perform available work (other than the job of injury).

Free Workers’ Compensation consultations in Olympia and Centralia by calling (360) 736-1301

A valid “Light-Duty Job Offer” from the employer, must be provided to the medical provider, and include a statement describing the work “in term that will enable the medical provider to relate the physical activities of the job tot he worker’s disability.”  In other words, the attending physician for the injured worker must “sign off and agree” that the injured worker can perform the light-duty job.

If the “Light Duty Job”  is not in writing and does not describe the physical activities in detail, then it is not a valid “Light-Duty Offer.”  If the attending physician must agree the injured worker can perform the “Light-Duty Job,.”

Injured workers should not be bullied to return to work too soon and jeopardize their recovery. Only the attending physician can certify that an injured worker can perform “Light-Duty Job” activities. A certification from an (IME) doctor or independent medical examiner is not sufficient.

If the injured worker accepts a “Light-Duty Job Offer,” time-loss benefits will terminate and the injured worker will be paid according to the “Light-Duty Job Offer.” If it is later determined the injured worker is unable to continue the “Light-Duty Job,” time-loss benefits will resume.

Free Injury Consultation in Olympia and Centralia by calling (360) 736-1301

For more information about time-loss benefits, light-duty jobs, or to receive a FREE workers’ compensation consultation in Olympia or Centralia, call (360) 736-1301 or visit 

First Responders, Police, Firefighters Eligible for PTSD Benefits.

A study of First Responders published in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services found that 3,447 (86%) of the 4,022 respondents experienced critical stress and 1,383 (37%) of the respondents had contemplated suicide. Sadly, the study found 225 (6.6%) had actually tried to take their own life.

This year, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 6214, which makes Firefighters, Paramedics, and Law Enforcement eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) caused by repeat exposure to trauma and stress. The Attorneys and Staff with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP are happy to see bipartisan steps are being taken to protect those who protect us!

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Protecting Your Family in Case of a Workplace Injury

A workplace injury can be devasting to families. A work injury can lead to financial ruin, strained relationships and even homelessness.

If you’ve suffered a work injury, and you don’t know what to do, you have four choices: do nothing; depend on the advice of your employer; struggle on your own; or seek the advice of a law firm that will fight for the rights and benefits of you and your family.

The choice is obvious, isn’t it? Your decision, says Peter Abbarno, partner at Althauser Rayan Abbarno, LLP in Centralia, can affect not just an immediate claim, but future benefits for the injured worker and their families. Abbarno recognizes the financial strain an injury can cause on a family so he offers free consultations for every injured worker.

A recent article in the Chronicle highlighted the services of Althauser Rayan Abbarno.

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Re-Opening a Worker’s Compensation Claim: Who Pays?

Who pays to re-open a Worker’s Compensation Injury Claim?

When a Worker’s Compensation Claim has been closed by the Department of Labor and Industries or self-insurer by written order and more than sixty (60) days has passed, the injured workers generally has seven (7) years to file a re-opening application for full benefits. Submission of a formal “application to reopen claim for aggravation of condition” form # F 242-079-000 must be completed by a treating medical provider.

The Department or self-insurer is responsible for customary charges for examinations, diagnostic studies, and determining whether or not time-loss is payable regardless of the final action taken on the reopening application. Reopening applications should be submitted immediately.

When reopening is granted, the department or self-insurer can pay time loss and treatment benefits only for a period not to exceed sixty (60) days prior to date the application is received by the department or self-insurer. Necessary treatment should not be deferred pending a department or self-insurer adjudication decision.

However, should reopening be denied treatment costs become the financial responsibility of the worker. Therefore, the injured worker should be sure to have objective medical evidence of a worsening of the injury since the last date of claim closure.

If you or someone you know was injured at work, contact Peter Abbarno and the injury attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno for a FREE injury consultation in Centralia or Olympia by calling (360) 736-1301.

Can you re-open a closed workers compensation claim?

Can a workers compensation claim be reopened?  Yes. If a claim has been closed less than 60 days, the appropriate action is to protest or appeal the closing order. If it has been more than 60 days, a doctor must certify that there is objective evidence (x-ray, MRI, etc) of a worsening of the medical condition caused by the industrial injury. Be aware- after seven (7) years the claim may not be re-opened for all benefits.

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Don’t let your Claim close prematurely! Appeal!

Don’t let the Department of Labor & Industries prematurely close your workers compensation claim!! If you’ve been injured at work, you only have a limited time to appeal an order terminating your benefits. An injured worker recently came to our office with a “closing” letter in hand and metal screws still in her ankle after surgery (actual x-ray). The Department wanted to close her claim and terminate her benefits before even removing the metal screws and hardware from her body. Our injury team got to work immediately, successfully appealed the order, and got her the necessary medical care, treatment, and benefits she deserved. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
If you’ve been injured at work, call Peter Abbarno for a free injury consultation at (360) 736-1301 or visit We offer free injury consultations in Olympia and Centralia and represent clients throughout southwest Washington including, Olympia, Aberdeen, Montesano, Elma, Rochester, Tumwater, Centralia, Chehalis, Morton, Kelso, and Longview.


Workplace Hearing Loss?

Exposure to noise greater than 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing loss. Farmer? Tractors operate at greater than 85 decibles. Logger? A chainsaw operates at greater than 85 decibles. Rockstar? Your music is likely louder than 85 decibles. Workplace hearing loss can be accepted as an injury (if sudden) or an occupational disease (if over time). If you experienced hearing loss due to workplace noise, you may be eligible for medical treatment and financial compensation! For a free injury consultation, contact Peter Abbarno at (360) 736-1301. To learn more about hearing loss prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a brochure at

Independent Medical Exam (IME)? Anything but independent. . .

Are you worried about an upcoming “Independent” Medical Exam? There is nothing independent about an IME!!

An Independent Medical Exam can derail a worker’s medical treatment, financial benefits, and result in premature claim closure! An IME is often scheduled by a Self Insured Employer or the Department of Labor and Industries when the conditions of a claim are disputed, treatment of a condition is disputed, restrictions due to the conditions are disputed, or the Employer or Department of Labor and Industries want to close a claim by finding the condition has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and requires no more treatment.  A claim closing order could result in the termination of all benefits.

Once the report from the IME has been released, the injured worker and the worker’s attending physician has the right dispute the findings and conclusions of the Independent Medical Examiner. It is important to keep an eye on the “clock” since an order must be appealed within 60 days.

Don’t let this happen to your claim. If you’ve had a workplace injury, contact Peter Abbarno at Althauser Rayan Abbarno for a FREE consultation by calling (360) 736-1301. Our offices are conveniently located in Downtown Centralia and Olympia and we represent injured workers throughout Washington State, including Thurston County, Lewis County, Cowlitz County, Grays Harbor County, and Pacific County.