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51.28.020  <<  51.28.025 >>   51.28.030

RCW 51.28.025

Duty of employer to report injury or disease — Contents of report — Claim suppression — Penalty.

(1) Whenever an employer has notice or knowledge of an injury or occupational disease sustained by any worker in his or her employment who has received treatment from a physician or a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner, has been hospitalized, disabled from work or has died as the apparent result of such injury or occupational disease, the employer shall immediately report the same to the department on forms prescribed by it. The report shall include:

     (a) The name, address, and business of the employer;

     (b) The name, address, and occupation of the worker;

     (c) The date, time, cause, and nature of the injury or occupational disease;

     (d) Whether the injury or occupational disease arose in the course of the injured worker's employment;

     (e) All available information pertaining to the nature of the injury or occupational disease including but not limited to any visible signs, any complaints of the worker, any time lost from work, and the observable effect on the worker's bodily functions, so far as is known; and

     (f) Such other pertinent information as the department may prescribe by regulation.

     (2) The employer shall not engage in claim suppression. An employer found to have engaged in claim suppression shall be subject to a penalty of at least two hundred fifty dollars, not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars, for each offense. The penalty shall be payable to the supplemental pension fund. The department shall adopt rules establishing the amount of penalties, taking into account the size of the employer and whether there are prior findings of claim suppression. When a determination of claim suppression has been made, the employer shall be prohibited from any current or future participation in a retrospective rating program. If self-insured, the director shall withdraw certification as provided in RCW 51.14.080.

     (3) When a determination of claim suppression is made and the penalty is assessed, the department shall serve the employer and any affected retrospective rating group with a determination as provided in RCW 51.52.050. The determination may be protested to the department or appealed to the board of industrial insurance appeals. Once the order is final, the amount due shall be collected in accordance with the provisions of RCW 51.48.140 and 51.48.150.

     (4) The director, or the director's designee, shall investigate reports or complaints that an employer has engaged in claim suppression as prohibited in RCW 51.28.010(3). The complaints or allegations must be received in writing, and must include the name or names of the individuals or organizations submitting the complaint. In cases where the department can show probable cause, the director may subpoena records from the employer, medical providers, and any other entity that the director believes may have relevant information. The director's investigative and subpoena authority in this subsection is limited solely to investigations into allegations of claim suppression or where the director has probable cause that claim suppression might have occurred.

     (5) If the director determines that an employer has engaged in claim suppression and, as a result, the worker has not filed a claim for industrial insurance benefits as prescribed by law, then the director in his or her sole discretion may waive the time limits for filing a claim provided in RCW 51.28.050, if the complaint or allegation of claim suppression is received within two years of the worker's accident or exposure. For the director to exercise this discretion, the claim must be filed with the department within ninety days of the date the determination of claim suppression is issued.

     (6) For the purposes of this section, "claim suppression" has the same meaning as in RCW 51.28.010(4).

[2007 c 77 § 2; 2004 c 65 § 5; 1987 c 185 § 32; 1985 c 347 § 1; 1975 1st ex.s. c 224 § 5; 1971 ex.s. c 289 § 39.]

Notes:

     Implementation -- 2007 c 77: See note following RCW 51.28.010.

     Report to legislature -- Effective date -- Severability -- 2004 c 65: See notes following RCW 51.04.030.

     Intent -- Severability -- 1987 c 185: See notes following RCW 51.12.130.

     Effective date -- 1975 1st ex.s. c 224: See note following RCW 51.04.110.

     Effective dates -- Severability -- 1971 ex.s. c 289: See RCW 51.98.060 and 51.98.070.