Our attorneys are experienced with all types of non-governmental workers’ compensation claims in Washington, D.C. We do not, however, handle employee claims against either the federal or D.C. governments.
The D.C. Workers’ Compensation Act applies to job-related injuries, occupational diseases (those that are characteristic of the job) or death that occurs to any non-government worker in Washington, D.C. The Act does not include coverage for casual workers—those hired for temporary employment—or for independent contractors.
Types of DC Workers’ Compensation
Temporary total disability. If a worker cannot perform work while actively receiving medical treatment, he or she may be eligible for temporary total disability compensation.
In D.C., an injured worker can receive two-thirds of what his or her average weekly wage was at the time of injury. There is a cap on the weekly amount of compensation that can be received, which is determined by calculating the average weekly wage of all workers in D.C. during the year the injury occurred. Unlike some jurisdictions, the District of Columbia’s Act allows for “wage stacking;” if a worker held two jobs at the time of his or her accident, they may be used in the calculations for their average weekly wage.
- Temporary partial disability. Temporary partial disability compensation occurs when a worker is actively receiving medical treatment, but is still able to perform light or part-time work. These benefits are calculated as two-thirds of the difference between a worker’s average weekly wage prior to the injury, and the weekly wage of the worker during this period of light work. This compensation benefit is paid for as long as the injured worker’s medical condition is affecting his or her ability to work.
- Permanent partial disability. Permanent partial disability compensation is paid when a worker’s injury heals enough so that they may return to work, but they cannot perform the same level of work they once did.
In D.C., these benefits are paid in two parts. The first includes wage loss benefits, calculated as two-thirds of the difference between a worker’s earnings prior to the injury and their earnings after they return to work. The employer or its insurance company must compensate the worker for this difference.
The second part of permanent partial disability compensation is only paid if the injury or medical condition a worker suffers afflicts a part of the body that is listed in the “Schedule of Impairments” within the D.C. Workers’ Compensation Act. This compensation is paid under a fixed formula with no regard for whether the injured worker has sustained a wage loss as a result of his or her injury.
- Permanent total disability. These benefits are paid when an injured worker will not ever be able to return any substantial type of employment after an injury. These benefits are calculated in the same manner as for a temporary total disability, but with the addition of annual cost of living increases. In D.C., a totally disabled worker is entitled to be paid for the rest of his or her life.
- Death benefits compensation. Death benefits are paid to a worker’s surviving spouse or dependent children when the worker dies as a result of an accidental work-related injury or condition. This type of claim is called a death claim.
- Related medical expenses. Under the D.C. Workers’ Compensation Act, the injured worker is also entitled to have all his or her related medical expenses paid for, as long as there is a need for such medical services. There is no dollar limit on the total amount of medical expenses, and while insurers generally pay medical expenses according to a fee schedule, the injured worker cannot be made to pay any balance due on a doctor or hospital bill.
Contact Our Attorneys for Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim
Ashcraft & Gerel’s lawyers have been fighting for D.C. workers’ compensation claims on behalf of employees for more than 60 years. Our lawyers have a reputation for being aggressive and for their familiarity with the finer points of Washington, D.C.’s Workers’ Compensation Act. We believe this experience makes a difference in the amount of compensation benefits an injured worker receives, including the amount for any award or settlement in a case. Please contact us today if you need representation regarding your claim.