Sometimes the world of employment law and the world of workers' compensation law get confused, and it doesn't help that employers (meaning, your human resources department) like to tell you that rather than filing a workers' compensation claim you should use your 1) sick leave; 2) FMLA leave; 3) PTO; 4): short-term disability and/or a combination of all of the above.
Why? Well, I'm so glad you asked.
Why do you think your employer might be hesitant to open a workers' comp claim? Because workers' comp is the only insurance and/or system out of those four options that is paid for 100% by the employer (through their workers compensation insurance). No co-insurances, monthly check deductions, or "time banks." Workers' compensation insurance is required by law for anyone with three or more employees and employees don't pay into it.
This is what makes it different than say, short-term disability (which the employee usually pays into themselves through paycheck deductions). Or sick leave, or FMLA leave, or PTO (which all end at some point when you've used up your bank or expired your federal time limit).
And many of those have exclusions for injuries that happen at work.
We hear all the time from clients "My employer said that I had to use my sick leave" or "I've been out on FMLA." If you were injured while working, this should absolutely not be the case. But because most workers don't know their rights they follow the instructions their company gives them. After all, they will take care of you, right?
We have also heard stories about how the worker was convinced the employer would take care of him, they have been working for them for 25 years, etc, etc. And your boss, your supervisor, even the owner of your company may want to do just that.
We hate to be the bearers of bad news but once you are injured at work, your employer is essentially turning you over to the insurance company and their entire team of nurses, doctors, attorneys, and claim administrators all trained to limit your benefits.
So, if you are on one of those other types of insurances, can you switch to workers' comp?
It all depends. If you have been on FMLA or Disability for a long time, you may have issues with bringing a workers' compensation case. One of the critical parts of a workers' comp claim in Washington, DC is that you have to have your treating physician connect the injury to your work, and another critical part is that you have to give timely notice to your employer of a work injury.
Do you want more information on how this works?
Call us today at 202-393-3320 and you will speak with a real person who wants to hear your story. Do that, and order a copy of our free book on workers' compensation that will give you the A-Z on workers' compensation in Washington, DC so you can learn about the process before you make case-ending mistakes.