Workers Compensation in Washington, D.C.

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Washington, D.C. state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in Washington, D.C.?

A report published by D.C.’s Health Department reported 2,840 work-related illnesses or injuries for private employers in 2016. Residents of the district experienced sprains, tears, and strains in roughly 31% of those cases. In addition, men tend to have a higher rate of workplace accidents, but women are equally likely to get hurt at work. It’s also alarming that 2019 data from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics reports a dramatic increase to nearly 6,400 cases. That’s over double the number of work accident reports from only three years earlier.

How Does Workers Comp Work in Washington, D.C.?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

The District of Columbia requires any employer with one or more employees to carry compensation insurance. Some exemptions do exist for groups like independent contractors, business partners, or sole proprietors. Assuming that you are not exempt and are approved, you will receive weekly payments that equal ⅔ of your average salary for the previous year. In addition to receiving Medicare. The minimum you can receive is $383.86, and the maximum amount an individual can receive as compensation is $1,535.44 for up to 500 weeks.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Washington, D.C. are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from a Washington, D.C. healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Washington, D.C. workers comp works.

You have one year from the accident or onset of illness to file with the Department of Employment Services. Seek medical attention as soon as you notice a work-related illness or injury and notify your employer right away. You should note that D.C. requires employers to file a First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease within ten days of that notification. Like most other states, you will receive ⅔ of your average weekly pay for up to 260 weeks from approval. If a doctor finds that you are permanently disabled, you may apply for disability payments and possibly receive medical coverage for life.

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. Washington, D.C. has a three-day waiting period before employees can claim their cash payments for workers’ compensation. If you are still disabled from a workplace accident after fourteen days, that time will be considered sick leave.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how Washington, D.C. workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a Washington, D.C. workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Washington, D.C.

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky, you should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Washington, D.C. state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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