Coronavirus and DC Workers Comp - What You Need to Know
Coronavirus can affect your DC workers comp benefits and your case in several ways. Here's what you need to know in order to protect yourself and your income after an injury at work in DC.
First, you still need to give your employer notice of your injury within 30 days. With so many lay offs and unemployment due to coronavirus, everyone wants to hold on to their job - we get that. But make sure if you get hurt at work that you tell your company - a supervisor or someone in HR, not just a co-worker - about the injury and that it happened at work.
Even if you can keep working, this is critical. Because what happens if you get laid off later? There won't be any record of your injury and the workers compensation insurance company will deny your claim for both monetary benefits and medical treatment - which is critical if you've lost your health insurance due to a lay off or reduction in work.
We see this a lot - we all want to think an injury will get better on its own, quickly, and not impact our lives. With minor bumps and bruises, that's fine.
But what happens when an injury or work related illness means you can't work, and you can't provide for your family?
You better do everything you can to protect yourself, so you don't lose everything you've worked for your whole life.
Because there are all kinds of rules and regulations and law about who gets workers compensation, what types of injuries or illnesses qualify and what you have to do to prove you and your injury or illness falls under the DC workers compensation system. It's not just that you got hurt at work - that's only the beginning.
Telling your company that you got hurt at work is called notice - and you're required to tell your employer within 30 days of the injury. That can be a harsh rule, harshly applied to deny legitimate work injuries, but it's the law. You should do this in writing if you can - by filling out an incident report, email, text, anything you can save to show you gave them notice within 30 days (and print this so you have a hard copy for the future).
So what if you got hurt on a Friday, thought it would get better, and got laid off the next week, so you no longer had a job?
You still need to comply with the 30 day notice rule.
What If You Were Exposed to Coronavirus at Work?
We're seeing that with healthcare workers, but it could also be delivery drivers, construction workers, anyone working in essential services where they come into contact with people. As with any other illness at work or condition caused over time (like carpal tunnel syndrome from the same motion over and over), you have 30 days from the time you knew or should have known that the condition was related to your work - this is usually when a doctor diagnoses the condition and tells you it comes from work.
This is just one of the first steps to protect you and your family after an injury at work. Don't take it for granted, especially during these times.
Don't let yourself get taken advantage of by the insurance company that handles your job's workers compensation - it's no longer your job calling the shots - and you can bet they will use coronavirus delays to add to the advantage they already have over you.
Bottom line - if you've had a serious injury, you need a lawyer so you don't lose everything you've worked for, especially now. Why take that chance?