H-0238.2          _______________________________________________


                                  HOUSE BILL 1463



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Representatives R. King, Fuhrman, Cole, Heavey, Jones and Franklin.


Read first time January 30, 1991.  Referred to Committee on Commerce & Labor.Establishing procedures for industrial insurance claims.

     AN ACT Relating to employee rights regarding industrial insurance claims; amending RCW 51.52.130; and adding new sections to chapter 51.14 RCW.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 51.52.130 and 1982 c 63 s 23 are each amended to read as follows:

     If, on appeal to the superior or appellate court from the decision and order of the board, said decision and order is reversed or modified and additional relief is granted to a worker or beneficiary, or in cases where a party other than the worker or beneficiary is the appealing party and the worker's or beneficiary's right to relief is sustained ((by the court)), a reasonable fee for the services of the worker's or beneficiary's attorney shall be fixed by the court.  In fixing the fee the court shall take into consideration the fee or fees, if any, fixed by the director and the board for such attorney's services before the department and the board.  If the court finds that the fee fixed by the director or by the board is inadequate for services performed before the department or board, or if the director or the board has fixed no fee for such services, then the court shall fix a fee for the attorney's services before the department, or the board, as the case may be, in addition to the fee fixed for the services in the court.  If the decision and order of the board is reversed or modified ((and if the accident fund is affected by the litigation then)) or if the worker or beneficiary's right to relief is sustained, the attorney's fee fixed by the court, for services before the court only, and the fees of medical and other witnesses and ((the)) other costs shall be payable out of the administrative fund of the department.  In the case of self-insured employers, ((if the decision and order of the board is reversed or modified resulting in additional benefits by the litigation that would be paid from the accident fund if the employer were not self-insured, then)) the attorney fees fixed by the court, for services before the court((,)) only, and the fees of medical and other witnesses and ((the)) other costs shall be payable directly by the self-insured employer.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      (1) The self-insurer shall provide a copy of the employee's claim file at no cost within fifteen days of receipt of a request by the employee or the employee's representative.  The self-insurer shall provide the entire contents of the claim file unless the request is for only a particular portion of the file.

     (2) The self-insurer shall transmit notice to the department of any protest by an employee relating to the administration of an industrial injury claim under this chapter by the end of the next working day.  Failure of a self-insurer to comply with this notification requirement shall subject the self-insurer to the penalty provisions of RCW 51.48.017.

     (3) The self-insurer shall submit a medical report with the request for closure of a claim under this chapter.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.      The self-insurer shall request allowance or denial of a claim within sixty days from the date that the claim is filed, or the claim shall be deemed allowed.  A self-insurer may request, for good cause, an extension of the deadline for an additional thirty days, if written notice of the extension is provided to the employee within forty-five days from the date the claim is filed.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      Sections 2 and 3 of this act are each added to chapter 51.14 RCW.