Let’s say you live in Maryland, work for a contractor located in Maryland but have been working on a D.C. jobsite for the last few months.  You hurt your back on the job.  It’s the last thing you’re thinking of and the last thing you want to deal with.

You’ve never been through this before.  You like the contractor.  They report it right away to their insurance company and you go to a doctor to get checked out.  The insurance adjuster sends you the claim forms.  You sign them and send them back to her.  Everybody knows you’ll get 2/3 of your wages while you’re out of work.

But here’s where high wage earners make a mistake that could cost them hundreds of dollars every week.   Turns out, the adjuster had them sign Maryland workers compensation claim forms.  And it seems to make sense to file in Maryland if you live in Waldorf and the contractor is in Lanham, even if the job was in D.C.

But here’s why she sent you Maryland claim forms.  She knows there is a maximum compensation rate, or cap, on the amount of weekly workers comp benefits they have to pay. And it’s a lot lower in Maryland than it is in D.C.  In the District, that maximum rate or cap is over $1,400 per week.  In Maryland its $990 and Virginia set it at $955.

How can that affect you?  Say you’re earning $1,950 per week with overtime, differentials, bonuses, (a second job or side work can also be included in this) before any taxes or deductions are taken out.  If your workers compensation case was in D.C., your weekly benefits would be 2/3 or about $1,300. But in Maryland, you'd be capped at the maximum rate and would only get $990 per week.

And if you were working on a Maryland jobsite for a Maryland employer and were hurt in Maryland, that's just the way it goes.

But what if your case should have been filed in D.C.?

You see, insurance companies know the benefit rates are lower in Maryland and Virginia - that's why they send you forms to file in one of those states.  And many people don't know there's a difference – how would you?

Here's another catch - once you file and accept benefits in another state, you can't get workers compensation benefits in D.C.  So you’re stuck.

Work injuries are serious enough – don’t make it harder on yourself and your family.

How do you make sure you're doing the right thing and not costing your family hundreds of dollars every week?  Start by reading Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation, or The Union Worker's Guide to Workers Comp.  You can get these FREE resources at www.DonahoeKearney.com, by calling (202) 393 – 3320 or send an email to [email protected]  But don't wait - timing is everything.