Understanding The D.C. Workers' Compensation System

The workers' compensation system in Washington, D.C. is very different than in Maryland or Virginia. If your job requires you to work in all three areas, then make sure to file your worker's compensation claim in the right state. If you can file your claim in DC, do so. If you are a high-wage earner, the benefits are generally higher in DC than in Maryland or Virginia and the DC workers comp system is generally more favorable to injured workers than insurance companies.

Serious injuries to your shoulder, like a rotator cuff or labral tear, may require surgery and could prevent you from carrying out various tasks of your job such as lifting, carrying, repetitive motion, or working overhead and you may be out of work for months while you recover. This is very common with heavy-duty jobs such as construction workers, delivery drivers, and health care workers.  

5 Steps To Setting Your Case Up For Success

  1. When filing your claim, make sure to list all of your injuries on Form 7A and Form 7 with the D.C. Office of Workers' Compensation. A common problem we see as workers' compensation attorneys in D.C. is workers with serious injures to their shoulder that is also affecting the use of their arm and mobility of their neck as well.
  2.  Choose the right treating physician. In D.C. you have the right to choose your own doctor to treat your work injury - and you should do so. Do not go to some doctor or work clinic recommended by the insurance company. These doctors and facilities are paid by the insurance company and will not have your best interests at heart. 
  3. Follow up on your medical treatment and make sure you are getting the right treatment for your injury or condition. Required medical treatment after a shoulder injury could range from physical therpay to surgery. The most important thing is getting this treatment authorized by the insurance so they can begin their road to recovery (we work with people every day and help them obtain the medical treatment they need for their injuries). 
  4. Always get a work note from your doctor after every appointment. Your doctor should be able to write you a work note either taking you out of work completely or on light duty with restrictions such as unable to lift more than 20 pounds or work overhead. This information is used to help secure the best worker's compensation for your injury. 
  5. Do not trust the insurance company adjuster, nurse case manager, or lawyer. They are not specialized in understanding the complex system of D.C. workers' compensation and can give you bad advice that will cost you hundreds of dollars every week. For example, in many other states once you reach maximum medical improvement you can only get benefits based upon a percentage disability or a permanent impairment rating. In D.C., if your shoulder injury prevents you from returning to your regular job, we can get you a much more significant settlement than a percentage disability.

We Work With You Every Step Of The Way To Achieve The Best Outcome For Your Case

After a serious work injury, you need an experienced workers' compensation attorney to guide you through this process and help you stand up to the insurance company. We make sure you go to the right specialists for the documentation and objective evidence of your limitations, develop a thorough job analysis, and evaluate your personal situation and your goals – what you want to do.

Once we do that, we review everything with you and draft a settlement proposal to the insurance company. We handle all of the negotiation, but you are involved every step of the way. Even if the insurance company offers one dollar, we will call you and tell you (plus we’ll tell you not to take that offer).

Settlement is a great way to maximize your benefits, but there are several personal, individualized factors to analyze. We’ve helped hundreds of people with serious shoulder injuries, like rotator cuff or labral tears, navigate the D.C. workers' compensation system. Call us today at 202-393-3320 for a free analysis of your work injury. 

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer