Being injured at work can be incredibly stressful, as it can take you out of work and prevent you from earning a paycheck that you need to take care of yourself and your family. In many circumstances, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance policy. Knowing how your compensation is calculated can be helpful so you can plan appropriately.
Workers’ Compensation Eligibility
In Washington, D.C., almost all employers with more than 1 worker are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. When you’re injured at work, you will then be eligible to collect certain benefits. As a no-fault system, you are not required to prove that your employer was at fault or that you weren’t at fault. There are a few exceptions where you won’t be able to collect benefits, such as if the injury occurred because you were horse-playing or while you were under the influence of a substance at work. In most other circumstances, you should be eligible to collect these benefits if you’re considered an employee, your employer is required to provide this insurance, and you were injured at work while performing work-related tasks.
Calculating Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Washington, D.C.
If you’re injured on the job in Washington, D.C., you may be entitled to certain benefits. This insurance policy will help you pay for medical expenses and lost wages while you’re unable to work. Medical expenses typically include hospital bills, emergency room and urgent care visits, follow-up and rehabilitation care, and other expenses you incur as a result of your work injury.
How much compensation you will receive while you’re unable to work will depend on your average weekly wages. In Washington, D.C., you are entitled to receive 66.6 percent of these wages. The length of time you receive this compensation depends on the severity of your injury and what level of disability you are determined to have.
For example, if you are considered permanently totally disabled, you can receive financial compensation for the rest of your life. If it is determined that you are temporarily partially disabled, you will be eligible for payments for as long as you are disabled up to 5 years.
Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits
In addition to compensation for the injured worker, workers’ compensation insurance also provides death benefits for families of a worker who becomes deceased through a work injury. Under Washington, D.C. law, surviving family members may be entitled to up to $5,000 for death benefits and burial expenses.
Additionally, surviving family members may also be entitled to 50 percent of the deceased’s average weekly wages. As of 2019, the maximum weekly payout in Washington, D.C. is $1,521.74. There is no time limit on how long the deceased’s spouse can receive death benefits, but there are certain events that will trigger them to end, such as the spouse remarrying.
Calculating Workers’ Compensation Payments After Limb/Phalange Loss
For workers who lose limbs, toes, or fingers, there are additional workers’ compensation payments that must be calculated. These workers are to receive additional payments on top of the 66.6 percent of their average weekly wages. The following lays out the additional compensation in some of these circumstances:
- Lost arm: 312 weeks of additional compensation
- Lost leg: 288 weeks of additional compensation
- Lost hand: 244 weeks of additional compensation
- Lost foot: 205 weeks of additional compensation
- Lost eye: 160 weeks of additional compensation
- Lost thumb: 75 weeks of additional compensation
If you’re a worker who was injured on the job in Washington, D.C., we can help you determine what you’re entitled to receive. Contact our D.C. workers’ compensation lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.