Determining the Validity of a Workers’ Compensation Claim in DC

Obtaining compensation for a work-related accident can make a world of difference. Medical treatment can be expensive, not to mention any lost wages during recovery, and injuries often carry emotional burdens as well as physical and financial.

Laws can be complex and highly localized, and it can be difficult to determine whether your injury is valid for workers’ compensation. To manage the influx of work-related injury claims, the District of Columbia implemented a no-fault workers’ compensation scheme similar to those operating in other states. This means that if you or your workers’ compensation lawyer file a claim, you will not have to establish liability like in a negligence lawsuit.

However, not every injury will qualify for compensation. There are a number of requirements for a valid workers’ compensation claim in D.C.

Employers’ Insurance Policy

An injured employee will only have a valid workers’ comp claim if their employer has a workers’ compensation insurance policy. This is rarely an issue in Washington D.C. because the law requires any company with employees within the city to maintain coverage. This is true even for part-time employees. Homeowners must also maintain coverage when they have full-time staff in the home.

However, there are rare circumstances where a DC employer will not have a workers’ compensation policy. An attorney could help an injured worker pursue other options in this situation.

Workers Must Qualify as Employees

An injured worker in the District must qualify as an employee to have a valid workers’ compensation claim. Not every worker qualifies for insurance coverage. Full and part-time employees have the right to pursue workers’ compensation, but independent contractors and freelancers do not.

The distinctions between worker designations can be confusing, especially in a growing freelance economy. Experienced legal counsel in the area can explain the differences and help determine who is qualified to file for workers’ compensation.

Reporting Requirements

To have a valid workers’ compensation claim in Washington D.C., an injured employee must fulfill multiple reporting requirements. Most importantly, they must report the injury to their employer as soon as possible. While there is some flexibility in reporting to an employer depending on the nature of the injury, a long delay could result in a denied claim.

An injured worker or their attorney must also file a written report of the injury to the D.C. Office of Workers’ Compensation. An injured worker must file this notice within 30 days of the injury or within 30 days of realizing the injury was work-related.

The District allows for one year from the date of the injury to make a formal workers’ compensation claim. To ensure these reporting requirements and deadlines are met, it is helpful to enlist a nearby legal professional who understands the relevant laws.

What Counts as a Work-Related Injury?

Workers’ compensation is not available for every injury in the workplace. To receive medical treatment and other benefits, an injured employee must establish that their injuries were related to their work. For example, an employee who is struck by a falling object on company property could have a claim for a work-related injury.

However, there are gray areas. Even if an employee is away from the workplace, an injury could still be work-related if it occurred in the scope of their employment. The main determination is the context of the employee’s actions at the time of their injury rather than the physical location of the accident.

Contact a D.C. Attorney to Determine Your Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation is only available if certain requirements are met, and many people do not fully understand their rights and obligations in pursuing claims. To learn more about the validity of your workers’ compensation claim, contact a Washington D.C. lawyer as soon as possible.