Every year, thousands of people are injured in the workplace. With so much of our lives spent working, it may not come as a surprise that workplace injuries are so common. While some people think of injuries occurring in dangerous jobs, employees in any type of work can be injured on the job. When an individual is injured in the workplace, the workers' compensation system is supposed to help the injured individual with wage benefits and medical benefits for the time they are unable to work. Unfortunately, some companies unfairly deny workers' compensation claims.
What is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. The workers' compensation program is generally a no-fault program. Employers pay for compensation insurance, and in exchange, employers can generally avoid workplace injury lawsuits. Employees do not have to sue their employer or prove negligence on the part of their employer to receive medical and wage benefits.
When a private sector employee is injured on the job, they should notify their employer immediately, and inform the Office of Workers' Compensation within 30 days of the date of the injury. Public employees may be required to report their injuries to the DC Office of Risk Management.
In Washington D.C., the Department of Employment Services (DOES) oversees the District's workers' compensation program. If there is a dispute between the employee and the employer or the workers' compensation insurance company, the DOES can mediate the dispute. The DOES also monitors employers and insurance companies to make sure they are in compliance with the law. If an employer is not in compliance, they may be assessed fines or penalties.
After reporting an injury claim to your employer, your employer or their insurance provider is supposed to pay the costs of medical treatment that is related to the on-the-job injury. You are allowed to choose your own doctor; however, after you begin treatment with a physician, you may be required to get approval from your employer or the Office of Workers' Compensation before you can change physicians.
In addition to medical coverage, individuals who are unable to work because of their injury are paid an average of 66.6% of their average weekly wage, up to a maximum limit. As of January 1, 2016, the maximum weekly rate is $1,466.29.
Employers in Washington D.C. are required to have workers' compensation coverage for their employee. However, many independent contractors or third parties injured on another company's job site are generally not covered by the company's workers' compensation law. They may be covered by their own company's compensation plan, or they may be able to pursue a compensation claim through a personal injury lawsuit.
Denied Workers' Compensation Claims
Unfortunately, many injured employees have their claims denied and do not know where to turn. An employer may deny a worker's claim, alleging the employee caused their own injury, claiming the injury was not work related, or even telling the employee that the injury is not real. This can be extremely frustrating for an employee who is facing expensive medical treatment and the loss of their wages.
After a claim is denied, the employee can request an informal conference with the claims examiner, who will issue a conference recommendation. Alternatively, the employee can request a formal hearing with the Administrative Hearing Division.
If you were injured on the job and filed a claim for workers' comp only to have your claim was denied, you should consider talking to an experienced DC workers' compensation attorney. Your attorney will make sure your employer takes your claim seriously, so you can get the medical treatment and wage benefits you deserve.
Workers' Compensation Injuries
Eligible injuries may include sudden accidents, as well as injuries that developed over time. This can involve being struck by a falling object, repetitive stress injuries, exposure to dangerous chemicals, or motor vehicle accidents that occurred while in the course of employment. Some of the most common workplace injuries involve slip and falls, overexertion, crushing injuries, or electrocution.
DC Workers' Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured on the job, your employer should provide you medical and wage benefits for your injuries. Unfortunately, some employers and insurance companies put profit over people and refuse to compensate their injured employees. If your compensation claim was denied, you need an advocate to fight for you. Contact the team at Gilman & Bedigian. We offer a free consultation and will fight for you, to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries.