DC workers compensation

How to Apply for DC Workers Compensation Benefits

Local and state laws determine the workers compensation claims process for sick or injured employees. (Federal workers are the exception, since they all follow the same steps to qualify for benefits.) If you’re hurt or sick on the job in America’s capital, follow the steps below to apply for benefits. Then, see how the DC workers compensation program changed from 2013-2017 in our interactive chart.

How to File Your DC Workers Compensation Claim

Employers with one or more employees must carry workers compensation coverage in our nation’s capitol. According to Department of Employment Services (DOES), follow these steps to apply for benefits:

  1. Notify your employer about your workplace injury or illness immediately and seek medical treatment. You may get emergency care first before telling your supervisor about the incident. You can also choose the doctor that treats you.
  2. File DCWC Form 7, Employee’s Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease, within 30 days. You must submit this form to both your employer and the Office of Workers’ Compensation. In addition, you must file DCWC Form 7A, Employee’s Claim Application, within one year after the incident occurs. This preserves your right to claim any DC workers compensation benefits you’re legally owed.
  3. Your employer must then file DCWC Form 8, Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease, within 10 days. Failure to do this will result in a $1000 fine for your employer.
  4. If approved, your payments begin within 28 days after your accident. Workers’ comp covers all medical expenses related to your injury. You must miss at least three days at work before you’ll qualify for lost wages. You’ll get wage payments for those first three days you missed work if you’re out longer than 14 days total.
  5. You can appeal two ways if your claim’s denied. Your first option is to request an informal conference with a claims examiner who reviews your case. That examiner has 30 days from your informal conference date to issue a recommendation to approve or deny your claim. Your second option is to file an Application for Formal Hearing with the Administrative Hearings Division.

For more about the DC workers compensation program, read these OWC FAQs.

DC Workers Compensation Statistics, 2013-2017

An annual report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles workers comp program data for most states. This report details all claims filed, how many people missed work or changed positions and job sector-specific data. Our chart below shows how the DC workers compensation program changed from 2013-2017:

The most striking thing about the program is how many service-industry employees file claims. In 2014, injured service-industry employees filed almost 9 in every 10 DC workers compensation claims! That number fell to just 7 in every 10 DC workers compensation claims filed in 2017. Total workers comp claims for the nation’s capital fell 14% between 2013 and 2016. However, they shot back up again in 2017, growing 20% year-over-year. That red line indicates which injured employees either missed work, changed jobs or received temporary restrictions. That means no more than half the people filing claims from 2013-2017 qualified for lost wage benefits.

Related: California Workers’ Compensation Benefits: How to Apply

People with preexisting health conditions are most likely to have their workers comp claims denied. If that describes you, we strongly recommend talking to a DC workers compensation attorney. All workers’ comp lawyers work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for legal assistance now. In fact, you can get a free, no-obligation consultation to get all your claim questions answered without hiring anyone! You’ll never pay any workers’ compensation lawyer fees unless a lawyer helps you secure benefits. And if your case does win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free workers’ compensation benefits evaluation online now!

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.