Washington Law Review




In the closing hours of the 1971 First Extraordinary Session, the Washington Legislature enacted legislation substantially amending Washington's Workmen's Compensation Act. The major provisions of the amendments provide for extension of mandatory coverage to virtually all workers, substantial increases in benefits in most areas of compensation, and an option allowing employers to self-insure under limited and highly restricted conditions. The Act was further amended by the 1972 legislature. The liberalization of coverage and benefits generally met with the approval of both industry and labor, but industry was disappointed with the failure of the legislature to adopt the "three-way plan" proposed by Governor Evans. The three-way plan would have afforded employers an additional option of insuring with private insurance carriers. The scope of this note is confined to a discussion of the controversial provisions extending coverage to all workers and the adoption of the two-way plan. These provisions have provoked much criticism of the legislation and have resulted in test litigation. Extension of coverage to all employments is necessary and was long overdue. It will be shown that the adoption of the two-way insurance plan, allowing an employer to self-insure his liability as an option to insuring with the state insurance fund is preferable to a three-way plan allowing insurance with private carriers. The two-way plan best achieves the purpose of workmen's compensation: the provision of certain and adequate compensation for employment-caused injuries at the least cost to the employer

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