New Policy: L&I To Communicate With Injured Workers' Attorneys Instead Of Injured Workers
Some workers have attorneys representing them but continue to contact L&I by telephone, secure message, or in person. It’s important that we respect their request for legal representation and that their attorneys are their point of contact for questions and issues concerning the claim.
This is a reminder that communications with represented workers should go through the worker’s attorney. Department staff can verify the terms of the notice of representation in LINIIS. If RCNA shows the worker’s mail is sent to the attorney’s address, all communication, verbal and written, goes through the attorney.
To honor a worker’s request that all communication be directed to the attorney, department staff shouldn’t discuss the claim with the worker without the attorney’s knowledge or permission.
If a represented worker seeks assistance from the department, staff should ensure the concerns are documented and tell the worker we can’t immediately respond and that he or she should work with the attorney. Staff may contact the attorney to respond or give permission to address the worker’s concerns. Staff should document RLOG.
Staff should use their best judgment in providing customer service to workers with urgent requests, such as those related to medications or time-loss payments. Staff should attempt to contact the attorney before taking action. If the attorney is unavailable, staff should take the action needed and follow up with the attorney.
If a worker asks about withdrawing attorney representation, staff should advise the worker to contact the attorney to avoid any advice contrary to their agreement or contract. On receipt of a written request, staff will confirm the updated address by letter to both the worker and attorney.
If an unrepresented worker calls and asks if an attorney is needed, staff may tell the worker that an attorney isn’t required to protest or appeal a department decision. The worker should be advised that the department cannot give legal advice. If the worker is seeking legal guidance, he or she should consult an attorney.
NOTE: Staff will continue to be responsive to suicide calls and other emergent situations.