Many people in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area work in D.C., Maryland and Virginia at different times or work for companies that have some connection to all three. So if you're injured at work, which jurisdiction should you file your workers compensation claim in? Or to put it another way, which jurisdiction does your employer and its workers comp insurance company want yor case in?
All three provide basic rights for workers compensation for on the job injuries, but are different in when you have to file your workers compensation claim, how they administer workers compensation claims, the types of workers compensation hearings they hold, the benefits awarded and which types of injuries are covered - for example, the exact same injury in D.C. may not be covered under workers compensation if it happens in Virginia.
Generally, D.C. is more favorable to injured workers because more types of injuries are covered, the maximum compensation rate is higher and the injured worker can select his or her treating physician - if you have a D.C. workers compensation case, do not let the insurance company send you to one of their doctors or clinics for treatment!
Virginia workers compensation has strict requirements on what types of injuries are covered and how they occur, has a cap on the total weeks of benefits that are available, the maximum workers comp rate is about $350 lower than it is in D.C. and the insurance company gives you a choice of 3 doctors to treat with (usually all insurance doctors, of course).
Maryland workers compensation provides some level of benefits for permanent injuries based on a percentage disability (also called permanent partial disability) to all body parts (D.C. and Virginia don't for neck and back injuries). Maryland has lower compensation rates for some injuries but allows injured workers to choose their own doctor for medical treatment due to their injury.
Most of the time, workers compensation insurance companies will try to push cases into Virginia or Maryland, because the benefits are generally lower or continue only for a certain period of time and they have more control. And the insurance companies and their lawyers know that once you accept benefits in another state, you can't get workers compensation benefits in D.C.
The moral of the story - if you know someone who has been injured at work, tell them not to sign any forms from the insurance company or give the insurance company a recorded statement until they talk to us - just have them call us at (202) 393-3320 and we'll talk it through.