Thursday, June 28, 2012


Starting July 1, 2012, the amount of money available for retraining costs will increase from $15,713.49 to $17,599.11.  This applies to any plan approved on or after July 1, 2012.  This increase is the result of an annual adjustment due to rising tuition costs.  The injured worker still has up to two years for retraining.

Prior to 2008, injured workers had up to one year and $4,000 for retraining purposes. Fortunately, the Legislature passed laws increasing this amount to two years and originally $12,000 for retraining purposes, along with yearly adjustments to reflect rising tuition rates. Unfortunately, these laws have a "sunset provision" and will end June 30, 2013, unless legislation extends the "sunset" date or makes them permanent.  Otherwise, it is back to one year and $4,000.

Dane D. Ostrander, Attorney at Law
Williams, Wyckoff & Ostrander, PLLC

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Recently, I attended a daylong seminar on Workers Compensation. One of the speakers was a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC).  She had conducted an informal survey of other VRCs about what they do when there is "conflicting medical information."  Frequently, there are disagreements between the attending physician and the Department’s  so-called Independent Medical Examiners (IMEs) regarding an injured worker’s work restrictions and treatment plans.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


There are two very interesting judicial races that will be on the ballot in our area.  Two of the candidates are my son and son-in-law, respectively.

My son, Brendan Williams, is running for the Court of Appeals Position Number 2.  Division 2 is a Court of Appeals which hears appeals from lower courts in Grays Harbor, Mason, Thurston, Kitsap and Jefferson counties.  Brendan is a former three term State Representative from the Olympia area, and is currently a Deputy Insurance Commissioner.  He previously clerked for retired Chief Justice Gary Alexander on the Washington State Supreme Court.  Brendan has a Master's degree in Criminal Justice, has authored three law review articles in criminal law, and while a legislator served on the House Judiciary and Criminal Justice committees.  Brendan lives in Olympia with his wife Nicole and my 9 year old grandson, Blake.  I urge you to support and vote for Brendan.  Please visit Brendan’s website at:

My son-in-law, Jim Johnson, is running for Thurston County Superior Court Position Number 2.  He is a lawyer who is currently an Assistant Attorney General representing the Department of Labor and Industries.  Over many years, I have had a chance to litigate cases against him (not since he married my daughter) and I have found him to be extremely intelligent, a talented attorney, and a pleasure to work with.  Jim has worked and lived in Olympia for many years, raising his children and my grandchildren here.  Curiously, one of his opponents, Christine Schaller, lives in and is registered to vote in Pierce County.  Jim graduated from the University of Michigan Law School with high honors in 1991.  He is on the Executive Board of the Government Lawyers Bar Association, and serves on the Board of Directors of South Sound Parent to Parent, a local non-profit that helps families with children with special needs get the services to which they are entitled.  Jim is a great guy and a valuable member of the community here in Olympia, and I urge you to vote for him for Thurston County Position Number 2.   Please visit Jim’s website at:

Wayne Williams, Attorney at Law
Williams, Wyckoff & Ostrander, PLLC

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Medical providers frequently send patients, particularly those who have been out of work for a while, to work conditioning and hardening to prepare them for returning to work or retraining. Work conditioning and hardening are performed in succession and are designed to meet a specific return to work or retraining goal. Usually an injured worker starts with work conditioning for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, progressing to 5 days a week, over a 4 week period. Hours, days and weeks may vary.

Work conditioning involves intense exercises designed to increase strength, flexibility, coordination and conditioning to help prepare an injured worker for certain job duties.


Physical Capacity Evaluations (PCEs)* are scientifically designed to determine an injured worker’s physical limitations. PCEs typically last 3 to 6 hours over a 1 or 2 day period. Generally, they include a series of tests involving lifting, carrying, sitting, standing, walking, and material handling. The end result is a comprehensive report providing a very detailed analysis of physical abilities over a 40 hour work week. These reports are very important since they are used to determine ability to work for time loss, pension, return to work and retraining purposes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012



How to file a complaint against an Independent Medical Examiner (IME):

The Department’s website states “IMEs should provide unbiased, accurate and comprehensive information and be carried out with dignity and respect for the worker.” Unfortunately, many IME providers have not read the Department’s website.

I frequently review the Department’s files on IMEs and I am always surprised how few complaints are filed, particularly for some of the more notorious IMEs.