Jurisdiction is a legal term for the laws and ordinances that determine how your case or your claim is processed. Today we will discuss three jurisdictions in the DMV: Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland.
Washington, D.C. (DC)
DC's workers compensation process is started with an agency called the Office of Workers' Compensation (OWC). New workers' compensation claims are filed with the OWC at the outset, and the OWC has legal power to make determinations about your case, although these can be reviewed.
Your D.C. workers compensation claim should be filed with the OWC by your attorney: you should not allow the insurance company or your employer to file on your behalf. Contrary to what you may have been told, they can't even do this for you. Once filed, you will get an OWC number which you will use to reference your claim.
The OWC has claims examiners, who are responsible for processing your claim and can act as a mediator to resolve problems between you and your employer. A decision by a claims examiner will not be binding, but can help to take care of the smaller issues in a process called informal conference. Larger issues that need a binding agreement will be dealt with at The Office of Administration Hearings (OAH) which is also part of the Washington DC Department of Employment Services (DOES). Formal hearings are presided over by a judge, who will rule in a binding compensation order.
If you've been hurt in DC, here's what you should do right away.
Virgnia and Maryland
The Virginia workers' compensation process is governed by an agency called the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (VWCC). Maryland's agency is called the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission (MWCC). BothVirgnia's and Maryland's agencies are similar to the OWC in the way that they process claims and handle disputes, but there are major differences to note in their statutes of limitations and workers' compensation rates.
The workers' compensation rate, benefits, and medical treatment ; all of that is dictated by jurisdiction. Every state's law is different so it is critical to file your claim in the right jurisdiction to make sure you maximize the benefits and medical treatment you need.
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