Washington Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Comp Case Study

Due diligence saves an employer from $100,000+ in workers' compensation claim costs.

Situation & Background

  • Press brake operator filed a workers’ compensation claim due to left knee pain
  • Worker was on the job for two months before filing the claim
  • Employer is a Washington manufacturer with over 500 employees
  • Washington State Labor and Industries (L&I) allowed the claim as an industrial injury
  • Employer is a member of Vigilant’s workers’ compensation retro plan


  • Employer contacted Vigilant who immediately reviewed the worker’s job application and discovered the worker had extensive prior work history (six years) as a press brake operator, with another employer
  • Vigilant protested the industrial injury claim with L&I, stating the condition was due to prolonged use of the worker’s leg, and therefore was the result of occupational disease
  • L&I reconsidered the injury as a result of Vigilant’s protest, and new paperwork was processed, confirming the worker’s belief that the condition was “an occupational problem due to operating a press brake for six years with all his weight on his left leg”


  • L&I cancelled allowance of the claim as an industrial injury and allowed the claim as an occupational disease claim
  • Liability to the current employer was deemed less than 10% due to the length of employment; the previous employer was deemed more than 90% responsible for the injury
  • The current employer avoided total claim costs estimated at more than $100,000 (as a result of surgery, time loss, and retraining)
  • The injured worker was still cared for as a result of the claim
  • Assistance from Vigilant throughout the entire claim process was covered by the employer’s retro program fee

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