What Do I Need to Know About Workers' Comp in Washington D.C.?
Workers’ compensation refers to benefits provided to injured workers to cover any expenses that are due to an injury that they incurred in the workplace and/or when performing a work-related task or activity. Workers’ comp benefits in Washington, D.C., include medical benefits, cash payments, rehabilitation benefits and death benefits. It is important to note that any injury that the worker incurs while going to and coming from work or while doing any other extracurricular activity or due to their carelessness or their conflict with someone will not be entitled to any compensation.
Workers’ Comp Requirements in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. may be well-known for being the capital of the U.S., but at the same time, this city is also a booming economy and has many thriving industries that are not connected to the political or government sector. Washington, D.C. enjoys significant presence in big segments such as finance, education, healthcare and scientific research. There are both large organizations as well as small and medium sized enterprises that continue to contribute to the economic growth of this region.
As far as workers’ comp is concerned, all employers in Washington, D.C. are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have one or more employees, which includes all businesses, including restaurants, colleges, hotels, medical clinics, auto shops, and libraries. Even homeowners with one or more domestic workers employed for 240 hours in a calendar quarter or more must carry workers’ comp insurance.
What Should I Do If I Get a Work Injury in Washington D.C.?
If a worker is injured in the workplace or in a place where the worker was engaged in a work-related activity when he or she got injured, legally they have to report this job-related injury to their employer or supervisor as soon as possible. The employee is also required to submit a written report about the injury to the Office of Workers’ Compensation within 30 days of the incident. If the worker wants to ensure his claim is approved, it is imperative that they file a claim within one year of their injury.
Similarly, all employers are also required by law to report any work-related injury to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If it is a work-related fatality, employers must report it within 8 hours. Any in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours of being informed of the injury and the incident. The employer has to report the injury no later than ten days of the incident in question. If they fail to do so, they can be subject to a civil penalty of maximum $1000.
Injured workers in Washington, D.C. can choose their own physician if they incur a work-related injury. This is applicable even if right after the injury, the employee received treatment for injuries in the emergency room. The worker can still choose a doctor once released. However, once the worker has chosen the doctor, the injured party cannot change the physician again unless they get approval from the Office of Worker’s Compensation or from their employer’s insurance company.
Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits and Payments
As per the District of Columbia’s Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers get 100% reimbursement for all their medical expenses that are related to the treatment of the work-related injury. In addition, employees receive 66 2/3% of their average weekly wages as compensation. The minimum weekly compensation for approved claims is $366.86, and the maximum compensation is $1467.46. Workers who are permanently disabled due to a work-related injury are also entitled to a supplemental allowance. This is also the case with workplace fatalities where the spouse/partner of the worker will receive a supplemental allowance.
For all employees who file a workers’ comp claim in Washington, D.C., there is a three-day waiting period before benefit payments start. The employee will thus not be compensated for any lost wages during these three days. If the employee is unable to go back to work within 14 days of the injury, then the first three days of the waiting period will be classified as sick leave. It is important to note that once a claim is approved, the worker can no longer use sick leave or vacation time, only receive workers’ comp benefit payments.
Depending on the type and severity of the injury, there are four types of benefits that a worker can receive under the Workers’ Compensation Act in the District of Columbia:
- Temporary total where an employee is disabled for a certain period of time but is expected to return to work. Workers are paid 66 2/3% of their average weekly wage and are entitled to receive compensation as per the minimum and maximum payments.
- Temporary partial is when the worker is only partly disabled by the injury and is expected to work part-time or go back to a lower-level job till complete recovery.
- Permanent total is when the worker is unable to earn any future income by performing the work they used to do before the injury.
- Permanent partial is when the worker’s ability to earn income is partly impaired due to a permanent injury that is a result of the workplace accident.
Schedule a Consultation with a Workers’ Comp Attorney in Washington D.C.
If you are a worker in Washington D.C. and if you have suffered a workplace injury and are unsure of what to do next, call our associates at Ashcraft & Gerel today. Our legal team will ensure your claim is filed according to the legal requirements and that you do so within the time-frames specified by the Workers’ Compensation Act in the District of Columbia.
Our lawyers have dealt with worker’ comp claims for numerous clients and are aware of how the system works, what documentation may be required, what factors could possibly delay your payments and how to work around them and what possible strategies you could adopt in case your claim is denied. You have a right to be compensated if you have incurred a work-related injury. Call us today at 1-844-707-8422, and one of our associates will be happy to help.