Yakima man gets help returning to work after being injured on the job.

After a Job Injury, Get Help Returning to Work

You were hurt on the job — or you developed a work-related illness — and it pushed you out of work. More than anything, you’d rather get back to work and earning a regular income.

In addition to medical coverage for your injury and payments for lost wages, Washington State’s workers’ compensation system also could provide help returning to your old job or retraining for a new one.

This comes in the form of vocational benefits from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

L&I could assign a vocational counselor to work with you, your employer and your health care provider on a return-to-work plan.

But be careful. The vocational counselor doesn’t work for you. Don’t let the system force you off other benefits prematurely because you could qualify for a much lower-paying job.

To make sure you get the maximum services you’ve earned under Washington workers’ comp, work with an experienced attorney.

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Yakima man meets with a vocational counselor

How Does a Vocational Counselor Work With Me?

Vocational counselors look at your situation and consider these questions:

  • Can your job be temporarily modified?
  • Can your job be permanently modified?
  • Can you return to work with a different employer?

If your employer can provide adjustments for your health limitations, you could go back to work. But if your injury makes it impossible to return, a vocational counselor will try to match your experience, age, skills, and physical and mental capabilities to other jobs in your area.

The vocational counselor advises your claim manager:

  • Whether you’re employable in your area’s job market and not eligible for vocational help
  • Whether you’re eligible for vocational services, including developing a plan to help you become employable
  • Whether you’re simply not able to work and cannot benefit from vocational services

Not all injured workers get assigned a vocational counselor.

You already have the challenge of trying to heal from your injury. It’s easy to see how a worker’s comp case can add complications to your life.

At Bothwell & Hamill, we don’t charge anything for you to talk to us about your case so we can figure out what’s best for you.

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Yakima people learn about vocational benefits

What Else Do I Get With Vocational Benefits?

Vocational benefits may include retraining, possibly including covering costs for additional schooling or a technical program.

But workers’ comp benefits, including vocational benefits, are NOT guaranteed.

Injured workers often are denied benefits or get less than they should.

You have the right to protest decisions L&I makes regarding your employability or your vocational plan.

An attorney from Bothwell & Hamill can explain the state’s workers’ comp system and its requirements to you, including the deadlines you must meet to protest decisions.

Tim Hamill works hard for his clients. And he treats them with dignity and respect

He knows how important this can be for you and your family.

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More Questions?

You might have a lot of questions. Bothwell & Hamill has answers.

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Yakima woman thankful after winning workers' comp with the help of Tim Hamill

Tim Hamill has been my attorney for about five years. His staff and assistant Rebecca have made it possible for me to be eligible for retraining and pursue a goal that interests me.”


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