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Donahoe Kearney, LLP
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What kind of injuries does workers' compensation cover?

Workers' compensation insurance generally covers injuries or illnesses that happen in the course and scope of employment - and workers comp insurance companies love to fight over what that means, so they can deny or delay your workers compensation claim. It's basically injuries at work or involved in work and not injuries that happen when you're not on the job.   

It usuually doesn't cover injuries on your commute, unless you are in a company vehicle or paid for travel time, or at home.  There is an exception for telecommuting injuries as well.  

So, it's easy to see that workers' compensation in D.C., Maryland and Virginia won't cover everything. Then, what does workers comp cover?   

Workers' compensation covers injuries you sustain at work or during the course of fulfilling your work duties. It covers both traumatic and occupational injuries in the workplace. But remember, the laws in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are all different, so call us to make sure. 

What's the difference between a traumatic injury and an occupational illness?

A traumatic injury can result from a one-time accident at work. Say you were lifting a heavy box at work and you heard a sound in your back, signaling a sudden injury. Or say you were working on a machine and your hand got caught in a machine.  You can identify the injury - you know you're hurt - right when it happens.

You need to report these injuries to a supervisor as soon as you can.  

An occupational disease is an injury that happens over a period of time because of your work and the tasks you are assigned to do. Often times, repetitive movements at work can lead to an occupational disease. And, illnesses from exposure to toxic substances at work, like asbestos, may cause an occupational disease in workeers in that environment. 

Once a doctor says your illness or condition is related to the work activity, you'll need to report it to your employer.

But, remember, the workers comp insurance may tell you that your work injury isn't covered by workers comp - don't rely on them to tell you whether you can get workers' comp benefits.  Get the information you need for yourself and your family. 

Have a question about your specific accident at work? Give our office a call at 202-393-3320 - we set up times with people just like you to answer questions, provide resources, and much more. We'll even start now - you can click here to order your own FREE copy of Protect Your Rights that will answer many of  your questions about the D.C. workers compensation system.