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District of Columbia Workers' Compensation Laws

Whether you clean the home of a senator or teach our nation's youth, you know the value of a hard day's work inside the Beltway. You also know that our nation's capital does not handle snow very well, so perhaps you were injured when you went to work after someone tracked snow into your office. Fortunately for injured parties who work in the private sector, most work-related injuries are covered under the District of Columbia’s workers' compensation laws.

The table and information below include some of the most important components of Washington, D.C.’s workers' comp laws.

Time Limits on Filing a Claim

  • 30 days to give notice to employer and mayor (§ 32-1513)
  • 1 year from injury or death to file a claim (§ 32-1514)

Benefit Time Limits

  • Waiting period: 3 days (§ 32-1505(a))
  • If injury lasts more than 14 days, the first 3 days will be paid out (§ 32-1505(a))
  • Temporary or permanent partial disability payments are limited to a total of 500 weeks (§ 32-1505(b))

Caps on Benefit

Other Limits

  • Most psychiatric conditions are covered (§ 31-3103)

What's Covered

Most employers in D.C. must have workers' compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Unlike in many other states, most domestic workers in D.C. must be covered by workers' compensation. Note, however, that federal employees are covered by a different set of regulations and independent contractors are not covered at all. Most occupational diseases, including pneumoconiosis and radiation diseases, as well as most physical and psychiatric conditions, are covered under workers' compensation in D.C.

Types of Benefits

You may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs in addition to wage replacement compensation for your time away from work due to disability. Wage replacement comes in multiple forms, including permanent total disability, temporary total disability, and permanent partial disability. If your physician determines that you are totally disabled, you will be entitled to 66 2/3% of our average weekly wages, subject to the statutory maximum. Once you have recovered to the extent your physician believes you will recover, your physician may diagnose you with a permanent partial disability. In that case, you will be entitled to additional compensation of 66 2/3% of your average weekly wages for a set number of weeks based on your type of disability.

Dispute Resolution

If your claim is denied, you will need to request a formal hearing with the Administrative Hearings Division. This is a full legal proceeding, with a scheduling order which must be followed. Your employer will likely have an attorney and you may wish to get an attorney of your own to protect your rights during the process.

Get a Free Claim Review from a Workers' Compensation Attorney

Washington, D.C. has some progressive workers' compensation laws. Even still, if your claim is based on anxiety, stress, or panic attacks, you may need an attorney to help you make your case. Get a free claim review from an attorney experienced with obtaining workers' compensation benefits for private sector employees in Washington, D.C.

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