I was hurt at work in D.C. and have a workers compensation claim. What kind of hearings are available for deciding benefits in D.C. workers compensation cases?

If you're hurt on the job in D.C. or have a job located in the District and are hurt on the job outside of D.C., you have a claim for workers compensation benefits based on your work injury - your employer or workers compensation insurance company should pay disability benefits and medical benefits if you can't work because of the injury (or work related disease or illness).

When the insurance company disputes or denies part of your workers compensation claim - they almost always do at some point - there are two ways to have a hearing on your case.

The first, an informal conference, is just like the name - informal.  There is no testimony under oath and no witnesses are called to testify.  A claims examiner will issue a decision that either party may reject (it is not binding).

Some issues are OK for an informal conference - payment of a medical bill, for example.  But if you can't work because of an on the job injury and the insurance company isn't paying benefits, an informal conference may just delay a decision, because even if you win, the insurance company will appeal.

A Formal Hearing is held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and testimony is taken under oath.  The decision of the ALJ, called a Compensation Order can be appealed, but if benefits are awarded, the insurance company's appeal will not stay the award of benefits - in other words, if the injured worker wins, the workers compensation insurance company has to pay benefits while the case is appealed.