Washington DC Workers' Compensation
Like other areas of the country, Washington, D.C., provides workers' compensation or workman's compensation to workers who are injured on the job or who suffer from an occupational illness. Workman's comp is a no-fault insurance system that provides wage loss compensation, medical benefits, vocational rehabilitation and death benefits to injured workers.
The Workers' Compensation Program in Washington, D.C., is a part of the Department of Employee Services whose primary tasks includes processing claims and monitoring payments of Workers' Comp benefits to injured private-sector employees in the District of Columbia. If an issue arises, the Workers' Compensation Office can mediate a dispute between the employer and employees. The Workers' Compensation Program also ensures compliance with insurance requirements.
Work compensation in the Disctrict of Columbia is viewed as a compromise system between the employer, who is required to purchase insurance coverage for the majority of their employees, and the employee, who forfeits potential winnings they may have received if they had won a personal injury claim against their employer. Both the employer and the employee avoid the lengthy and costly battle that can ensue from a personal injury claim.
Hiring a Washington DC Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Not all workers in the District of Columbia (Washington DC), will need help from a work comp attorney. If the worker's Washington, D.C., workplace injury is minor and can easily be resolved, legal assistance is generally not required.
If a worker has a serious or permanent work injury, is refused payment, is fired, is harassed or does not get the compensation they think they need, a workers' compensation lawyer can help. Worker's compensation attorneys in Washington, D.C. can provide valuable information to help a District of Columbia worker navigate the sometimes complex workers' compensation laws.
Unfortunately, some employers may not have the best interest of the employee in mind and will attempt to resolve the Washington, D.C., claim as soon and for as little cost as possible. Need legal help getting benefits for your Washington DC workers compensation case? Simply complete our free form below to get started today!
Work Injury Covered Under Washington DC Workers' Compensation Laws
If a worker is injured at work while they are performing their normal job function the work injury is generally covered by work comp insurance. If the work injury was the result of an intentional or reckless action meant to cause injury, from flagrantly ignoring a standard safety precaution, while travelling to or from work or while intoxicated workers' compensation may be difficult or impossible to receive.
Washington DC Work Compensation Benefits
The District of Columbia's work injury compensation mirrors other states and provides medical benefits, temporary total disability benefits (TTD), temporary partial disability benefits (TPD), permanent partial disability benefits (PPD), permanent total disability benefits (PTD), death benefits and vocational training benefits. Below is more detailed information about each benefit offered to injured employees.
Medical Benefits - Medical benefits are provided to injured workers and can include paid medical expenses for all necessary and reasonable medical services. Medical benefits can include payment for the following: doctor's visits, hospital stays, laboratory services, medical supplies, nursing services and prescription medications.
Medical care is provided to the employee without a time or cost limitation. The employee has the right to choose their own initial treating physician, but after the worker has chosen their doctor they cannot switch to another treating physician without getting the approval from the insurance carrier or making a request with the Office of Workers' Compensation.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD) - Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) are paid to an employee who is injured and temporarily unable to return to their job. TTD benefits are paid at 2/3 of the worker's average weekly wage up to the maximum allowable amount under Washington, D.C., state laws. TTD benefits are paid for a maximum of 500 weeks.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD) - Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) are offered to employees who have not reached their maximum medical improvement but who are able to return to light duty. Many times if this occurs the employee will suffer wage loss; TPD benefits allow the worker to recover some of the loss.
TPD benefits are paid at 2/3 of the difference between the worker's average weekly wage before they were injured and their current wage. TPD benefits may b e paid until the worker reaches their maximum medical improvement.
Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD) - Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) are paid when the worker reaches their maximum medical improvement level, but they continue to have residual impairments. Workers are generally compensated according to a schedule and the amount paid for PPD benefits may vary based on the severity of the residual impairment or loss of body member.
Certain types of losses such as loss of an arm or leg are considered scheduled losses and the employee will receive compensation, regardless of their wage decreases. Other losses, which do not result in permanent wage loss, may not offer extra benefits.
Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) - Permanent total disability benefits (PTD) may be paid to District of Columbia workers who have sustained an injury, and who are at their maximum medical improvement level but continue to have severe, permanent injuries which do not allow them to work any type of job.
PTD benefits may be paid to disabled workers for the duration of their lives.
Death Benefits - Death benefits may be paid to the surviving beneficiaries of a deceased employee who was killed from a work injury or occupational illness. Death benefits in Washington, D.C., can include wage loss compensation which is a percentage of the deceased employee's wage and paid burial expenses (up to a maximum amount established under work comp law).
Vocational Training Benefits - Vocational training benefits may be offered to injured workers who are unable to return to their current job duties due to their work injuries. Vocational rehabilitation can include a variety of services such as retraining, schooling, job counseling and job placement, all with the goal of helping the employee return to suitable work.
The employer/insurer must do whatever is "reasonable to provide suitable employment". Any attempt to shortcut the process by only providing short periods of job placement assistance or only offering low paying jobs with little opportunity for the employee should be viewed as insufficient.