5 Things the Smartest Union Workers Do With DC Workers Comp

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Union Workers Hurt on the Job in DC Should Get DC Workers Comp Benefits 

If you're a union worker, you've worked hard for everything your whole life.  Nobody has given you anything. You've always paid your own way and taken care of yourself and your family.

And if you get hurt working in DC, there are a number of things you should do to make sure you don't get taken advantage of by the workers comp insurance company.  

You didn't ask for the injury and now you're dealing with doctor's appointments, surgery, rehab - and stress about not being able to work and making sure you get paid.

Here are 5 things union workers need to do after getting hurt in D.C.:

File Your Workers Comp Claim in DC, Even if You Live in Another State or Your Company is Located in Another State.

If you live in another state and get hurt working in DC, you should file your claim for workers compensation in DC.  Most people don't realize, because they haven't been through the workers comp system (or its been a long time since they had) that the laws, systems and benefits are different in each state.

The top benefit rate in DC (sometimes called the maximum compensation rate) is $455.00 higher per week than the top benefit rate in Maryland.  Both DC and Maryland pay workers comp benefits at 2/3 of your average wages, but both have a cap on the benefit rate - in DC the highest rate for 2020 is $1,535.44 and in Maryland it is $1080.

Why is that important? 

Many union workers - plumbers, pipefitters, elevator/escaltor mechanics, electricians - who are earning overtime and differentials are making enough to qualify for the max comp rate.  File in the wrong place and you're literally losing $455.00 in tax free benefits every week.

See why the insurance company doesn't want you to file your workers comp claim in DC?

Don't go to the insurance company doctor for medical treatment.

You have the legal right to choose your own physician under the DC workers comp system.  Don't believe your insurance adjuster when she says you need to see a doctor in their network - no, no, no.  There is no such thing.

And don't go to one of these "Workers Clinics" - who do you think funds those?  That's right, they see only patients who were hurt on the job and the workers comp insurance companies send them all of their patients and pay their bills.

Whose side will they be on?

Don't give a recorded statement.

You have nothing to hide and want to be helpful and get your benefits going - but you should not give a statement they roecord or answer questions from the insurance company.

That insurance adjuster asking the questions has handled hundreds, if not thousands, of workers comp claims so if you forget something, leave out a detail you don't think is important or tell her about an injury you had playing football your freshman year of high school, she will use it to deny or delay your workers comp benefits and medical treatment.

Bottom line - you don't know what you don't know.

Be specific about how the injury happened at work when talking to your doctors.

When you go to the hospital or doctor for treatment after an injury at work, they don't care that it happened on the job - they care about how it happened (lifting, falling, getting hit by something) but to doctors and hospitals, it doesn't matter where it happened - that won't change the diagnosis.

You have to make sure you tell them specifically - "I hurt my back at work lifting steel pipe" or "I fell 12 feet from a ladder at work and landed on my left side" or the "drill I was using at work kicked and my shoulder twisted".

People remember stories and details like that - doctors, nurses and hospital personnel are no different.  So tell them how it happened.

If the doctor's report comes back and just says "back hurts" or "hurt shoulder last week when he twisted it" how will that look to the workers comp insurance company?  Is it enough for them to delay your workers comp benefits for further investigation?

Don't give them the chance to deny or delay your legitimate workers compensation claim.

Get the best DC workers comp lawyer you can - early in the process.

Experience and results matter - DC is a much different workers comp law than Maryland or Virginia.  

We want to get involved early after a serious injury - that's where we do the most good and prevent you from making mistakes or having the workers comp insurance company take advantage of you.

And the best part is, it doesn't cost you any more.  We have a contingent fee system (we only get paid if we win or settle your case) and it doesn't go up.  Because depending on the severity of your injury, you could need an attorney making sure you get the workers comp benefits and medical treatment you depend on for several years.

It's an important relationship, so choose wisely - so read what the lawyer has published, talk to the lawyer and read his or her reviews. 

You can get the nationally recognized attorney who actually wrote the book on workers compensation in DC - just call us at (202) 393 - 3320 or fill out the confidential, no obligation contact form and we'll call you.

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