Get Your Workers Compensation Claim Off To The Right Start In Washington, DC

If you've been injured on the job, it's probably your first time filing for workers compensation and dealing with the insurance company. One of the first things you’ll notice is that workers comp claims are difficult. 

You need the best information on the law, the process and the employer’s insurance company to make sure you are doing all the right things, and give yourself the best chance at success while you're injured and out of work. A workers compensation attorney can guide you through the process.

Here are three things you need to know about workers compensation in DC right off the bat.

1) Report the Injury the Right Way

After a workplace injury, an injured worker may not be thinking about how and when to report the accident but this is a critical first step. You need to make sure you report the injury, in writing, to your supervisor or HR Department. It's not enough to report it to your co-workers or to have a co-worker witness the injury. 

You have to give notice of the injury within 30 days - it doesn’t have to be in writing but it always helps to document that you told a supervisor with a form, a text or a call. And it’s not enough to say you hurt your back or your shoulder or your neck - make sure you say it happened at work. You should not assume that your company knows it.

Plus if you don’t report it right away, the workers comp insurance company will automatically question it and delay your benefits and medical treatment while they investigate. 

Remember, your employer’s workers compensation insurance company will be making decisions on whether to pay your claim based on what you do after your work injury.  

2) Choose Your Own Treating Physician

One of the first things the insurance company will try to get you to do is see their insurance doctor. This doctor does not work for you and probably does not have your best interest in mind. 

A good workers comp lawyer will know which doctors work for insurance companies and make sure you don’t let the insurance adjuster push you to one of them (they will tell you things like they are in the network or are approved doctors or there is a special workers clinic all employees go to when they get hurt on the job…none of that is true). 

We can’t stress this enough - if you were injured at work in DC, you have the right to choose your own doctor (and you really need to do this). Your doctor will work on your behalf, make treatment and medical testing recommendations with your best interest in mind, not based on keeping the medical costs low.

When you choose your doctor, you need to make sure you tell them you got hurt at work and give them a description of the work that you do. They will use this information to determine your treatment plan.

3) File Your Claim In The Right State

In the D.C. area, there are 3 different workers comp systems (D.C., Maryland and Virginia), each with their own laws, rules and procedures.

Here’s what you need to know about filing for workers compensation:

The D.C. Department of Employment Services raised the weekly maximum benefit rate in D.C. to $1,631.56 for 2022. 

That is $436.00 higher than in Virginia and $293.00 higher than in Virginia. And if you were hurt on the job before 2022, the D.C. maximum compensation rate is still higher than either Virginia or Maryland.

So the insurance company will try to get you to file for workers comp in the state where they have to pay you the least amount - even if your workers comp claim should be filed in D.C. 

There are a number of factors a good workers comp attorney uses to determine where to file and how to maximize the benefits you receive. 

So don’t believe the insurance company adjuster - and don’t sign anything until you’ve talked to a workers comp lawyer that can give you advice on your work related injury - because once you file in another state, you cannot get workers comp benefits in D.C.

One mistake on where you file your workers compensation claim could cost you $  every week. 

If You're Filing For Workers Compensation in Washington, DC You Need An Experienced Lawyer

​Most people are scared of losing income after an injury, not getting the proper medical treatment and getting taken advantage of by the insurance company. We take care of everything in your case so you can focus on getting better. 

Don't try to handle a serious personal injury case on your own. You could be out of work for months or even years if you have a serious injury and need surgery. Depending on what your job required, you may never be able to return to full duty. 

You need to protect yourself in case this happens.You need someone who understands the system, who can advocate for you and guide you through the process to help you stand up to the insurance company.

We are an experienced D.C. workers compensation law firm - we literally wrote the book on D.C. Workers Compensation - we’ll even give you a free copy. 

We make it easy to get started. Contact us today at 202-393-3320.

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