Workers’ Compensation Exemptions in Washington, D.C.

In almost every state, most employers must provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. However, there are several exceptions and exemptions that can apply in certain circumstances. As a result, it is important to check the laws in your state to determine which workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If you have questions about workers’ compensation laws in Washington, D.C., contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

What is a Workers’ Compensation Exemption?

Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program that provides benefits to employees who sustain injuries while working or who become ill because of their job or job-related conditions. Typical workers’ compensation benefits consist of medical expenses, income replacement, and death benefits. In most states, businesses with employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. However, employers may be able to apply for a workers’ comp exemption for specific types of employees, like independent contractors. This means you don’t have to provide workers’ comp coverage for those employees if they get injured or sick while on the job.

You Can Apply for an Exemption to Provide Workers’ Comp Coverage to Employees 

To be exempt from workers’ compensation coverage, your business must go through your state’s screening process and file a Notice of Election To Be Exempt Form. To become an exemption applicant, you’ll need to provide employee information, details on the type of business you own, proof of ownership, and contact information for your workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If your application is approved, you will not be required to provide workers’ compensation to certain employees. You will then receive a certificate stating that you are exempt from providing workers’ compensation insurance to those employees. 

Common D.C Jobs Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance 

In Washington, D.C., specific jobs and types of workers are typically excluded from workers’ compensation requirements. The most common ones include volunteer workers, government workers, railroad employees, farm and agriculture workers, maritime workers, shop owners, part time employees, and domestic employees, such as nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, independent contractors.

Other Situations Where Workers’ Compensation Won’t Cover Injuries

Even if an employer is required to provide workers’ compensation coverage, there are situations in which an employee won’t be covered. The most common situations include the following:

Intentional Injuries: If an employee is injured as a result of their own deliberate actions, they will not be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, if an employee harms themselves intentionally in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, their injuries will not be covered if the employer can prove that this occurred.. 

Injuries Caused by Alcohol or Illegal Drug Use: If an employee is injured while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, the injuries will not be covered by workers’ compensation. This also applies to employees who are injured while performing illegal activities. 

Horseplay: If an employee is injured as a result of horseplay or any other type of prank, they will not be covered by workers’ compensation. 

Pre-existing Conditions: If an employee is injured and it is determined that the injury was caused by a pre-existing condition, they may not be covered by workers’ compensation. This can be a more complicated matter, though, as an injury could exacerbate a pre-existing condition, in which case you still might be eligible for certain benefits.

If you are injured on the job in Washington, D.C., it is important to understand the workers’ compensation system and whether you qualify for benefits. The workers’ compensation exemptions and exceptions can be complicated, so it is best to contact an experienced Washington D.C. workers’ compensation attorney who can help you navigate these waters. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.