Washington Department of Labor and Industries Revises the Interlocutory Process

lee ann loweOn July 16, 2015 the Department issued a new set of guidelines for self-insured employers to obtain an interlocutory order. The 60-day period following the self-insured employer’s receipt of notice of a new claim, prior to when the claim is allowed or denied by the Department, is referred to as the interlocutory period. That period can be extended pursuant to a self-insured employer’s request to allow for additional time to investigate the claim and obtain additional information.

Under the Department’s new interlocutory process, if an extension is requested there is a standard 30-day extension that will granted by a Department interlocutory order. The 30-day extension will begin from the date the initial 60-day period ends, regardless of when the request for extension is made. The self-insured employer can request an additional 30 days beyond that, which will be granted if there is good cause. On industrial injury claims the maximum review period is 120 days from notice of claim. An additional 30-day extension can be requested for occupational disease claims, and will be granted if good cause exists. Therefore, on an occupational disease claim a self-insured employer could request three 30-day extensions, making the maximum review period for occupational disease claims 150 days from notice of the claim. If the self-insured employer does not make a request for claim allowance or denial within the requisite time period, the Department will make a determination based on the information in the claim file or will request additional information if necessary.

To streamline the process for requesting an interlocutory extension order, the Department has issued a one-page request form which will be available on its website with the other checklists and coversheets at http://www.lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Insurance/SelfInsure/Claims/Checklists. If you have any questions about the new interlocutory process or any other Washington claim processing questions, please contact me at llowe@sbhlegal.com.