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Washington DC Personal injury law firm

Workers’ Compensation

Posted on November 9, 2016 to

Hurt On The Job In Maryland, Virginia Or Washington, D.C.?

Proven Washington DC  Workers’ Compensation Lawyer For Filing A Job Injury Claim

Washington DC Workers Compensation Lawyer - Two Car Mechanics If you were injured on the job, you may be wondering if you should file a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation is established by state law, and every state’s workers’ compensation procedure is different. How to file and where to file your claim can be confusing, especially when dealing with serious injuries. Having a proven and knowledgeable Washington DC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer by your side is vital. The following information can help you learn what options you may have if you were injured while working in Virginia, Maryland or around the District.

Even if you decide to file the claim on your own, receiving advice from an experienced workers’ comp lawyer costs nothing and comes with no obligation. In some situations, workers may be entitled to compensation above and beyond workers’ comp. A Washington DC workers compensation lawyer will be able to help you determine whether filing a third-party claim against the negligent party or seeking benefits on your own is in your best interest.

I was Injured at Work. What Do I Do Next?

  • Notify your employer (supervisor, foreman, etc.) as soon as possible after you become injured.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • File your workers’ compensation claim promptly.
  • Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company, unless your personal injury attorney is present.
  • Do not talk about your case with anyone except your lawyer, your lawyer’s assistant, and your doctors.
  • Keep your appointments with your doctors.
  • Get a disability slip every time you go to the doctor.
  • If your doctor releases you to light-duty work, immediately contact your employer.
  • Stay with your treating doctor.
  • Inform your attorney if you return to work in any capacity.
  • Keep track of all workers’ compensation checks you receive.
  • Send your work injury attorney copies of any medical bill you receive at home.
  • Inform your attorney about any other changes, including health conditions.
  • Contact your attorney’s office about any change of address or phone number.

What are the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide injured workers with monetary benefits and medical treatment for job-related injuries rather than the injured worker filing a lawsuit against the employer.

The benefits of workers’ compensation include the following:

  • The process tends to be quicker than traditional litigation.
  • You do not need to prove that anyone was at fault for the injury.
  • The injured worker receives benefits during the course of treatment for the injury.

However, these benefits are limited. If you are injured on the job, you cannot receive additional damages such as pain and suffering that you would under civil litigation. It is important that you discuss your situation with a highly knowledgeable Washington DC  workers’ compensation lawyer at our law firm.

Are There Different Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Workers injured on the job may receive assistance under any of the five types of workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Temporary total disability – Cannot work in any capacity, disability is temporary.
  • Temporary partial disability – Cannot work in former position in full capacity, disability is temporary.
  • Permanent total – Cannot work in any capacity, disability is permanent.
  • Permanent partial – Cannot work in former position in full capacity, disability is permanent.
  • Disfigurement/mutilation – Some extra benefits are available under this clause. See our page on filing a third-party claim for additional information and workers’ compensation help on pursuing damages that may be beyond workers’ comp.

Do I Qualify for Workers’ Compensation?

How to Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Virginia

Virginia state law requires that injured workers notify their employers in writing immediately or as soon as practicable after the injury. Such notice should include the:

  • Employee’s name and address
  • Location, time, nature, and cause of the accident and injury

This notice must be filed with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. The statute of limitations for filing workers’ comp claims in Virginia is two years, making it important to file your claim promptly.

How to Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Maryland

In Maryland, an injury must arise out of a person’s employment to be covered. For example, workers’ comp benefits would likely be available for a slip and fall injury for those who work at a car wash. Although the statute of limitations for filing workers’ comp claims in Maryland is two years, you should file your claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission as soon as possible. These claims can be complicated having a proven Washington DC  workers’ compensation lawyer by your side can help you through this process.

How to Qualify for Workers’ Comp in Washington, D.C.

To qualify for workers’ compensation in Washington, D.C., an individual must be an “employee” at the time of the injury, and the injury must be accidental and must arise out of and occur in the course of the individual’s employment. Injured employees should not delay in seeking legal counsel, as the statute of limitations for filing workers’ comp claims with the District of Columbia’s Department of Employment Services is only one year.

Why was my Workers’ Comp Claim Denied?

Washington DC workers' compensation attorney- man bandaging another worker's armWorkers’ compensation claims can be denied for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common are:

  • The claim was not filed on time
  • The worker provided insufficient or incorrect documentation

Even if a claim is filed on time, in the proper jurisdiction and with all required documentation, the employer or its insurance company may still dispute it by arguing that a worker’s injury or illness if it:

  • Is not work-related
  • Did not occur at the job site
  • Resulted from the employee’s own negligent behavior
  • Is a pre-existing condition
  • Does not exist at all

I Need Help with a Workers’ Comp Denial. What are my Options?

Carefully read the letter to determine important appeal deadlines and the reason for denial. If your claim was denied simply because of missing paperwork or your employer made an error, you may be able to clear up the matter fairly easily.

If your employer is disputing your claim, however, you should promptly speak with a qualified Washington DC workers comp attorney for the best possible outcome. The appeals process varies by state, and in most cases, you will have to attend a hearing in front of an administrative board or commission. Having an experienced Washington DC  workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can help secure your workers’ comp benefits.

What Happens in a Workers’ Comp Appeal?

Appealing a wrongful denial of your workers (workmans) compensation benefits can be a difficult process, and may require you to attend an administrative board or commission hearing to combat the disputes made by your employer or insurance company. It also heavily depends on the state in which you originally filed.

I believe that I am entitled to money damages for pain and suffering. What can I do?

The benefits in workers’ compensation generally fall under either medical benefits or wage loss benefits.  The workers’ compensation insurance companies would not be responsible for payment for either pain and suffering or the loss of quality of life and enjoyment resulting from an on-the-job injury.  In order to be fully compensated and receive money for pain and suffering, you must be able to institute a lawsuit in either state or federal courts in addition to your claims filed within the workers’ compensation system. This is possible under some circumstances, even when your injury occurred at work.

Although you may never sue your employer for personal injuries, even when their negligence caused your injuries, you still might be eligible to file a lawsuit against “third-parties” and be compensated for pain and suffering in addition to your workers’ compensation claims under many situations involving the negligence of “third-parties,” for example if:

  • You were involved in an automobile or trucking accident while driving for your employer;
  • You were injured by a defective product, such as heavy equipment, or a power tool, that contained a manufacturing or design defect;
  • You were working on a construction site or worksite and were injured by anyone other than your employer; or
  • Your physician in your workers’ compensation case committed medical malpractice.

In any lawsuit for personal injuries, you will have to prove fault on the part of the negligent third-party.

You should never settle a case against a negligent “third-party” without first speaking to a knowledgeable lawyer familiar with both workers’ compensation and personal injury law.  This is important for two reasons. First, you must reimburse the workers’ compensation insurance company for the money paid to you and your doctors from the settlement received and it is important to understand how much you will receive, and how your recovery may impact future workers’ compensation benefits.  Second, in addition to owing the workers’ compensation insurance company money, in many jurisdictions you must also have advanced permission from your workers’ compensation insurance company to accept a settlement offer, otherwise, your workers’ compensation case may be subject to dismissal and closed. Contact our knowledgeable Washington DC workers’ compensation lawyer for more information about your case.

Should I accept a lump sum settlement in my workers’ compensation case?

In some cases, an injured worker is eligible for a lump sum settlement. As tempting as that may sound, you should never accept such an offer without carefully considering it and without consulting with a lawyer first. Once you accept a lump sum settlement, you will never be eligible to claim additional wage loss or medical benefits for your injury. Lump sum settlements are particularly dangerous for people who suffer injuries that might require expensive long-term medical care.

It is important to fully evaluate the long-term cost of your injury, both in terms of how much it would cost you if you had no outside income or medical insurance to cover you in the future, and in how much it would cost the workers’ compensation insurance company over your lifetime if you refused to settle.  Further, although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as, “Obamacare”) requires health insurance companies to cover “pre-existing conditions” most health insurance plans specifically exclude coverage for “work-related injuries” and may not cover your medical treatment in the future, even after settlement of your workers’ compensation case.

Get in Touch with Our Winning Washington DC  Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Knowledgeable, Experienced, Proven

The Washington DC  workers’ compensation lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP have more than 30 years’ experience assisting employees (including union members) who sustained injuries while on the job in the Washington metropolitan area as well as the states of Virginia and Maryland. We can assist you during any part of the workers’ comp claim process, from filing the initial paperwork to understanding when your workers’ comp payments will stop or if your benefits have been wrongfully terminated. Learn about your rights today by discussing the specifics of your claim with a Washington DC  workers’ compensation attorney from our firm during a free, confidential consultation.