Employees are entitled to workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job or become ill because of their job conditions. Workers’ compensation coverage is required for all private employers in Washington, D.C., it provides medical care coverage and it covers replacement of lost wages.
It applies to all work-related injuries and illnesses, no matter whether they are minor or serious and the coverage applies immediately when an employee begins his or her job. Injured workers and workers who contract a work-related illness also have the right to immediate medical treatment from any attending physician.
Filing a claim
If an employee is injured or incurs a job-related illness, he or she should promptly report the incident to the employer. It must also be reported to the District of Columbia’s Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC) within 30 days of when it occurs or within 30 days of recognizing the relationship between the employment and the occupational injury or illness.
Employees must also complete an Employee’s Claim Application within one year of the incident. This preserves the employee’s rights to current and future workers’ compensation benefits. If the claim is accepted, workers usually receive their first benefit payment within 14 working days.
If the claim is denied, the OWC will investigate the claim and may hold a dispute resolution conference. If all parties agree, it will issue a final order. If one of the parties does not agree, that party must notify the OWC in writing within 14 days and file for a formal hearing.
It is important that the filing and appeal process is completed correctly. An experienced attorney can help employees with their questions.