What Are Workers’ Compensation “Objective Findings” in Washington?

How You Prove You Were Hurt on the Job

If you got injured at work in Washington State, and now you can’t work, you know undeniably how much pain you’re feeling. But how do you prove that to others?

In deciding on your Workers’ Compensation claim, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) will look for what it calls “objective findings” in your medical record.

L&I defines objective findings this way: “Objective medical findings…can be seen, felt, or measured by the examining provider. Subjective medical findings are those that cannot be seen, felt or measured…”

To make sure you get the medical treatment and gather the medical evidence you need, work with an experienced Workers’ Comp attorney, like Tim Hamill of Bothwell & Hamill. Call us now!

Examples of Objective Findings in Washington Workers’ Comp

The International Risk Management Institute says objective findings include “observations made during medical evaluations that are not under the patient’s control, such as X-ray results, nerve conduction studies, and MRIs.”

An example of an objective finding could be the results of a pulmonary function test, where a health care provider measures a patient’s lung capacity after the patient worked at a cedar mill.

The patient’s own complaints about pain and difficulty breathing, unfortunately, aren’t enough.

But a test showing the patient has weak lungs provides the evidence needed to support a claim for Workers’ Comp – or Industrial Insurance, as it’s also called in the State of Washington.

Protecting Your Right to Benefits

If you work in Washington State, and you get hurt in the course of doing your work, you have a right to Workers’ Comp benefits.

L&I pays for the medical care you need as a result of your injuries. It also pays for a portion of the wages you are missing because you can’t work.

The Workers’ Comp system guarantees employees “sure and certain relief” from work-related injuries or illnesses.

The Washington State Legislature has repeatedly confirmed that the Workers’ Comp system should be liberally interpreted in favor of injured workers.

But too often, injured workers are denied benefits or get fewer benefits than they should.

State courts have ruled those who seek benefits must show proof of their right to compensation and medical treatment.

Generally, that’s when you need to provide “objective findings.”

IMPORTANT: You are entitled to choose your own doctor.

A doctor chosen by L&I – or chosen by your employer – might not put your interests first.

It can make a big difference to have an attorney experienced in Washington’s Workers’ Comp system, to ensure your medical care produces the records you need to qualify for benefits.

What a Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Do for You

Your focus should be on healing.

A Workers’ Comp attorney can take care of navigating the system for you.

Attorney Tim Hamill will tell you that almost every decision has a deadline to appeal, or it becomes final.

If you’re in Yakima, Walla Walla, Kennewick, Ellensburg or anywhere in Central Washington, Tim can help you get the maximum benefits you deserve.

We’ll provide a consultation on your case for free.

To make sure you get the objective findings and all other evidence you need, contact Bothwell & Hamill today!