SEATTLE & PORT ORCHARD, WASHINGTON, Apr. 12 2019 – Reck Law, PLLC is pleased to announce it hired injured worker, Robert Biddix, to join their team. After completing retraining through his workers’ compensation claim at Tacoma Community College, Mr. Biddix graduated from the paralegal program with exemplary grades. Mr. Biddix had a nearly 20 year career as a garbage truck driver prior to his work injury in 2011. With the help of the Washington State Workers’ Compensation system, Mr. Biddix successfully received treatment for his injuries, completed retraining for a new career that accommodates his permanent physical limitations, and returned to full-time employment.
Over the course of his career, Mr. Biddix worked for several employers in waste management as a garbage truck driver. In 2011, while on his route in Poulsbo performing daily work duties for Waste Management, Inc., he severely injured his back. His colleagues finished his route, while he went to see a doctor who opened a workers’ compensation claim on his behalf. Shortly after, he performed light duty work and returned to full-time regular duty, resulting in worsening of his injury.
Washington State employers are obligated to carry industrial insurance, under a system that benefits both employees and employers when work injuries occur. Employers can subscribe to the state-funded program administered by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) or maintain their own insurance if they are certified to be Self-Insured. Either way, the treatment of injured workers is governed by the Washington State Industrial Insurance Act, RCW Title 51.
Despite insurance coverage, claims do not always proceed as smoothly as they should. “After going back to light duty work, I tried to get an MRI. The insurance company refused it. To make things worse, they sent me to an IME and I received a letter from my claim manager wanting to close my claim. I realized something wasn’t right and hired an attorney that handles Workers’ Compensation cases” said Mr. Biddix. His MRI was approved quickly after the attorney got involved.
Under his claim, Mr. Biddix attended physical therapy and underwent two back surgeries to get to Maximum Medical Improvement, meaning the point where his injury would not improve any further. While his treatment was considered successful, he was left with permanent physical limitations that preclude him from ever returning to work in physically demanding jobs. The vocational expert assigned to Mr. Biddix’s claim determined that for him to return to work, he should be retrained. After exploring his options, Mr. Biddix decided he wanted to obtain an Associates Degree so that he could return to work helping injured workers just like him.
If approved for retraining, injured workers in Washington State can select Option 1 or Option 2. Mr. Biddix chose Option 1, which means he received time-loss compensation and tuition coverage while he attended the uniform bar exam review coursege. Near the completion of his college retraining program, he was offered internship at Reck Law, PLLC, a law firm that represents injured workers. Upon the successful completion of his program, Mr. Biddix was extended an offer of full-time employment. On April 1, 2019 he began working as a salaried member of the Reck Law, PLLC legal team.