Washington, D.C. Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Across the United States, private employers report millions of workplace injuries every year.

In the District of Columbia alone, employers paid out more than $2.3 million in compensation for injured workers in only the first three-and-a-half months of 2020. It’s not uncommon for employees to be injured at work, and when they are, they have the right to seek compensation from their employers.

At the law firm of Lightfoot Law, PLLC, our Washington D.C. workers’ compensation attorney helps clients who have suffered a job-related injury or illness obtain the payments they need while they’re unable to work.

Workers who suffer job-related injuries or occupational illnesses should not have to fight for benefits promised to them under workers’ compensation. However, many valid workers’ compensation claims are rejected, leaving injured workers unsure how they will pay for their medical bills and replace their lost wages.

Washington, D.C. Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Why Choose Lightfoot Law, PLLC For Your Workers Compensation Claim?

The workers’ compensation attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, protect the rights of workers who are hurt on the job and the families who lose loved ones to workplace accidents. Here’s some additional reasons why you should choose us as your team of attorneys.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience. Our lead attorneys, William J. Lightfoot and William P. Lightfoot handle workers’ compensation cases regularly, representing people during some of the most difficult times of their life. We do the legal work for you while you focus on your recovery.

Our case results speak for themselves. At Lightfoot Law, PLLC, we know how to obtain positive case results on behalf of our clients. We have successfully resolved multiple workers’ compensation cases in the last decade, successfully recovering millions of dollars for our clients.

Our team never charges a fee, unless we get paid. When you choose our team to handle your workers’ compensation case, we work on what’s called a “contingency-fee basis”. What this fee structure means is that when you hire us, it does not cost anything out of your pocket. Instead, we take a percentage of the settlement after recovery, offering accessible legal representation for all. So if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

Our law firm is dedicated to using the law to make positive changes in the lives of our clients. At Lightfoot Law, PLLC, we care about the injured people we represent. At our firm, you’re not a number. You are someone we will seek the best possible outcome for and a member of our team. When clients join our team, they know that they are working with attorneys who seek the best possible outcome.

If you get hurt on the job, don’t count on your employer or the workers’ compensation system to treat you fairly.

To receive the benefits that you deserve and your family needs to get by during your recovery, you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side.

Let Lightfoot Law, PLLC, ensure you are treated with respect in your workers’ compensation matter. Contact us today or call (202)-919-5453 for a complimentary claim evaluation.


Here’s what some of our clients have to say. (Google Reviews)

Mr. William P. Lightfoot did excellent work for my father. He will be considered in the future for my family and recommended to my friends and family members as well. I would highly recommend Mr. William P. Lightfoot because of his expertise, service and patience with people.


My husband and I were very happy to have Mr. Lightfoot represent us. He was meticulously prepared, gave excellent arguments, made us feel as comfortable as one can feel in court and had a good sense of humor as well. He and his staff were very accommodating, answering our calls promptly and over weekends. We recommend him!


Lightfoot Law has some of the brightest minds in the business! I myself have enjoyed our partnership. They put clients first and give maximum effort that produce results!


Table of Contents

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault, employer-funded insurance program that provides medical and wage benefits to injured workers.

In Washington, D.C., all private-sector businesses with at least one employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance, supplying coverage that takes effect upon the first day of employment.

The District of Columbia’s Workers’ Compensation Program makes medical benefits and cash payments available to people who require medical treatment for illnesses and injuries sustained on the job.

Each employer providing coverage must use a four-digit classification code to identify the type of work its employees perform.  If a company’s workers are engaged in riskier work, such as on a construction site, the business’s workers’ compensation policy will be required to provide greater coverage.

If employees primarily perform clerical tasks, the coverage amount will be lower.

The Workers’ Compensation Program is in place to make sure that workers are protected by insurance for both sudden injuries and illnesses that develop over time so that they are not left with bills for conditions caused by occupational exposure.

How Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help My Case?

You are not required to hire an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim or appeal a denied claim.

However, if you are seriously hurt, there is too much at stake to try to handle your own workers’ compensation claim.  Your employer’s insurance company will be represented by an attorney throughout the process; without representation, you are at a serious disadvantage.

When you retain Lightfoot Law, PLLC, for your workers’ compensation claim, we serve your best interests and customize a legal strategy that seeks to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits.

Our workers’ compensation attorneys guide you through the claims process and help support your claim so you receive the maximum benefits available by law.

An experienced Washington D.C. workers’ compensation attorney from Lightfoot Law, PLLC, does the following and more on your behalf:

  • Files your initial claim for workers’ compensation benefits;
  • Gathers the necessary evidence to support your benefits claim;
  • Comprehensively documents your claim;
  • Argues your case at any hearings if your claim is disputed;
  • Manages appeals of adverse rulings such as denial of benefits;
  • Refers you to medical professionals for second opinions when needed;
  • Demands the maximum monetary benefit to which you are entitled by law;
  • Stands beside you throughout your recovery to assist and advise you regarding maintaining your benefits qualifications.

Working with an experienced Washington, D.C., workers’ compensation attorney from the beginning means your application is complete and filed on time the first time.  This helps your claim avoid any unnecessary delays in the administrative process.

You only have one year to file your workers’ compensation claim in Washington, D.C.  Therefore, it is imperative you contact a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney to begin work on your claim right away.

At Lightfoot Law, we handle your entire workers’ compensation claim allowing you to focus on healing and moving forward with your life.

We are dedicated to getting you the benefits that you need. If you or a loved one were hurt in a work-related accident or suffer from an occupational illness, please call us in Washington, D.C. today for a confidential consultation.

Washington, D.C. workers compensation attorney

The Maximum Weekly Payment For Workers’ Compensation

According to The Workers’ Compensation Act of 1979, the maximum weekly compensation payment for DC private sector workers’ compensation claims is $1,631.56. The minimum weekly compensation payment is $407.89. This amount can help those injured on the job with their medical bills and lost wages while they recover from their injury or illness.

Types of Disability Benefits From Workers’ Compensation

The scope of benefits available for a workers’ compensation claim depends on the severity of the injury or illness and the amount of time that the employee is unable to work.

Types of disability recognized by the District of Columbia include:

  • Temporary total disability (TTD) — When an injury prevents the employee from performing any type of work for a temporary period of time, the employee is entitled to two-thirds (66.67%) of his or her average weekly wage, generally until he or she is able to return to work.
  • Temporary partial disability (TPD) — Benefits of two-thirds of the injured employee’s average weekly wage can be paid to the employee until he or she fully recovers, including during a period of time that he or she returns to work to perform a job with fewer responsibilities and a lower wage.
  • Permanent total disability (PTD) — If the injury prevents the worker from returning to employment of any kind or results in the loss of both eyes, hands, feet, arms, or legs, the worker may collect two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage in lost income benefits for as long as benefits are needed.
  • Permanent partial disability (PPD) — Benefits for the permanent loss of some bodily ability that does not prevent the employee from returning to employment are determined based on the nature of the disability and the worker’s occupation. Payment duration is capped at 500 weeks but may be for far less time.
  • Medical benefits — Workers’ compensation may cover medical, surgical, and hospital care as well as the cost of prescriptions and medical devices for as long as they are needed to bring about recovery.
  • Disfigurement — A worker may receive an additional $7,500 in compensation for serious disfigurement to the face, head, neck, or another area of the body normally exposed during work.

Additional benefits include vocational rehabilitation services and survivor benefits to the spouse and dependents of a deceased worker.  For answers to questions about these and other benefits, visit our Workers’ Compensation Guide.

How Long Does it Take For Workers Comp to Kick In?

Workers’ compensation benefits depend on the approval or rejection of your claims. Once approved by the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC), benefit payments generally start within 14 working days from the date of the injury.

Successful claims entitle you to receive payments every two weeks, which continues as long as your medical condition necessitates time off work. You must remain under the active care of a doctor who verifies that your health or injury status prevents you from safely returning to work for these payments to continue. If at any point your physician declares you fit enough to resume to work, those benefits will cease.

However, if your claim is denied, you’ll be notified through DCWC Form 11 delivered by your employer or their insurance carrier, at which point you can file an appeal so you can try to get the benefits you need to focus on your recovery.

How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The DCWC Form 7a, Employee’s Claim Application must be filled out by the injured employee and submitted to their employer within one (1) year after their injury occurred or within one (1) year after the last payment of benefits. 

This time limit applies to all types of workers’ compensation claims, regardless of whether they are for medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disability, or other forms of compensation. It is very important that you file your claim before this time limit expires as failure to do so can result in a denial of these essential benefits. 

To ensure that your claim is properly filled out and filed before this deadline passes, it is important to have all necessary information ready when filling out the form. This includes details about your injury such as where and when it happened, how it happened, and what type of medical treatment you received as a result. 

Additionally, you should also provide any relevant documentation such as doctors reports or photos related to the injury if applicable. Having all relevant information available can help make sure that your claim is processed quickly and efficiently. 

What Happens If My Claim Gets Denied?

In Washington, D.C., either an employee or the employer may appeal the original decision of the Office of Workers’ Compensation. You may want to appeal the decision if you were offered fewer benefits than you think you are entitled to, or if your claim was denied outright.

There are several steps to appealing a workers’ compensation decision:

  • Informal conference — After your claim is denied, or granted with inadequate benefits, you can request an informal conference with a claims examiner from the Office of Workers’ Compensation. During the conference, the examiner will try to mediate an agreement with your employer’s insurance company and issue a recommendation for terms of compensation within 30 days of the conference.
  • Formal hearing — Instead of requesting an informal conference, or after a conference that leads to a poor outcome, you can file an Application for Formal Hearing with the Administrative Hearings Division. If you wish to have a formal hearing, you must inform the OWC in writing within 14 working days, and file for a hearing within 34 working days. At the hearing, which will generally be scheduled for a time within 90 days of your request, an Administrative Law Judge will review the evidence of your case and will ask to hear from you and your employer. Because your employer will likely hire an attorney, it is wise to have an attorney on your side as well. After the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge has 20 days to issue a Compensation Order.
  • Compensation Review Board — If you are dissatisfied with the Compensation Order, you have 30 days to request a review from the Compensation Review Board. A panel of judges on this board will review your case and issue a final decision.
  • Court of Appeals — If the final decision from the Compensation Review Board is not in your favor, you have 30 days to file an appeal with the D.C. Court of Appeals. In search of a satisfactory benefits decision, an attorney can argue your case in court.

As an alternative to litigation in the Court of Appeals, after the Compensation Review Board issues its final decision, you can submit a request for consideration within 10 days of the decision. The board will then take another look at your case.

Keep in mind that no benefits will be paid out until the appeal process is concluded. This means if you were awarded some benefits but believe you were entitled to more, you won’t receive anything for the time being if you decide to appeal.

How Long Does A Workers’ Compensation Appeal Take?

The length of the appeals process depends on how many steps you need to go through to obtain a resolution. It may take less than a month or several months. While you await a final outcome, you may be prevented from receiving the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and the many other expenses that pile up when you aren’t receiving income.

Common Reasons Your Claim Might Be Denied

Understanding the common reasons that workers’ compensation claims are denied can help you avoid making the same mistakes.

While sometimes a claim denial is unavoidable, often, it’s just about making sure you follow the rules and meet the deadlines.

Some of the most common reasons for denied workers’ compensation claims include the following:

1. Unexplained or Previous Injuries

If you had prior injuries that seem to be similar to the ones in your current workers’ compensation claim, or you fail to explain how you were injured, your claim could be denied. Even if your pre-existing injuries have nothing to do with your current claim, some employers attempt to exploit your injuries and use this as an excuse to deny your claim. 

2. Lack of Supporting Medical Documents

One of the most important aspects of your claim will be the medical records you provide. If you don’t provide the right information or enough information, this can be used as an excuse to deny your claim, even if you should be entitled to compensation.

3. Failure To Report Your Injuries On Time

In order to successfully file a workers’ compensation claim, you must report your injuries within a specified period of time. If you fail to meet the proper deadline, even if you clearly suffered injuries at work and should be entitled to compensation, your claim could be denied and you may receive nothing. 

4. Your Employer Disputes Your Injuries

In some cases, your employer may dispute that your injuries actually occurred at work or that the injury was related to your job. It’s also possible for your employer to claim that you were injured as a result of your own carelessness – such as being under the influence at work when you suffered the injury. These are all reasons that an employer can use to deny your claim.

Some additional reasons a workers’ compensation claim may be denied include the following:

  • The injury is not covered by workers’ compensation;
  • The employee failed to provide the employer with timely notification of the injury;
  • There are no witnesses to the injury;
  • The worker filed for benefits after being fired or laid off;
  • There are discrepancies in the claim documents;
  • No evidence is provided of an injury; and
  • The worker has not followed their doctors’ orders.

Any workers’ compensation denial letter provides a deadline for filing an appeal. Sometimes denials are easily remedied and are due to clerical errors or misunderstandings.

However, other workers’ compensation denials require legally complicated appeals and are best handled by seasoned workers’ compensation attorneys. For more information on filing, check out our step-by-step guide on filing a D.C. workers’ compensation claim.

For clarification of a specific workers’ compensation denial letter and to learn more about workers’ compensation denials and appeals, reach out to an experienced Washington, D.C., workers’ compensation attorney.

What to Do After a Workplace Injury in Washington, D.C.

There are certain requirements and deadlines an injured or ill worker must meet to obtain workers’ compensation benefits and maintain eligibility for payments.

Making a mistake can be financially devastating for an injured worker or a family relying on workers’ compensation payments.

When hurt at work, an injured worker must do the following:

  • Report the injury. Notify the employer of any injury right away.  There may be internal policies for reporting an accident that need followed in order to avoid a claims dispute.  Complete a work incident report as soon as practical;
  • Seek medical attention immediately. Get medical care from the employer’s specified provider if at all possible.  Choosing the employer’s provider will make the approval of your claim go smoother.
  • Inform the doctor of any symptoms, limitations, and actions that worsen or irritate the injury. It is imperative to provide the doctor with a detailed medical report so that the injury is properly documented for the workers’ compensation claim;
  • Submit a written report about the injury to the Office of Workers’ Compensation within thirty days of the injury. You could forfeit your rights to workers’ compensation benefits if you do not complete this step. 
  • File a workers’ compensation claim within one year of the injury.
  • Speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer from Lightfoot Law, PLLC.

After a work-related injury, employers also have duties.  An employer must report any injury to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration within ten days of the injury and incident or be subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.

When an injury or illness occurs while on the job, immediately notify your employer in writing. It is important to document when, where, and how the incident occurred as well as any symptoms that may have developed after the incident.  

Injured workers in Washington, D.C. can choose their own doctor if they incur a work-related injury. However, once the worker has chosen the doctor, the injured party cannot change the physician again unless they get approval from the Office of Worker’s Compensation or from their employer’s insurance company.

These deadlines are different from the statute of limitations, but they are just as important. 

If the incident is a work-related fatality, employers must report it within eight hours. Any in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or loss of an eye must be reported within twenty hours of being informed of the injury and the incident.

What Injuries are Excluded Under Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the injury or illness must have occurred during the course of regular work duties or as a result of work duties.

This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Injuries sustained on an employer’s property;
  • Injuries or ailments acquired as a direct result of work; or
  • Injuries suffered on the property of another but which on work duty and performing job-related duties.

Workers’ Compensation does not extend to:

  • Injuries or illnesses caused by an employee’s use of alcohol or other drugs;
  • Self-inflicted injuries;
  • Injuries suffered while the employee was committing a crime;
  • Injuries or ailments acquired while the employee was not working; or
  • Injuries or ailments suffered due to an employee’s violation of a company policy.

Workers’ compensation applies to more than just physical injuries resulting from a single event. Repetitive-stress conditions like carpal-tunnel syndrome and occupational illnesses including those linked to chemical exposure may also be covered by workers’ compensation.

workers' compensation lawyers in Washington D.C.

What Are Third-Party Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Workers’ involved in workplace accidents generally qualify for workers’ compensation to provide for medically necessary treatments, medications, rehabilitation efforts and time off of work.  However, workers’ compensation does not pay damages for non-economic losses like pain and suffering, emotional trauma or mental anguish.

If someone other than your employer contributed to or caused the workplace accident, then a worker may have a third-party claim.  This other person or entity is who contributed to or caused the workplace injuries is known as the third-party.

A third-party may be:

  • An individual person whose careless or negligent actions caused the accident;
  • A company, general contractor, property owner or other business entity whose oversight contributed to the accident; and
  • A manufacturer whose poorly designed or defective products caused the injuries.

A third-party lawsuit is a civil personal injury claim.  Both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim may be filed at the same time.  For more information about filing a third-party claim, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Washington, D.C.

Contact Our Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Washington, D.C.

Contact an Experienced Washington, D.C. Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you or a loved one suffered a job-related injury or occupational illness or workplace death in Washington D.C., Lightfoot Law, PLLC, can help you fight for the benefits you deserve.  Contact our Washington, D.C., workers’ compensation attorneys for a no-cost legal consultation about how we can help you and your family.

We will respond promptly to set up a confidential, no-obligation consultation at one of our offices or by FaceTime or Zoom, whichever you prefer.

Based in Washington, D.C., the lawyers at Lightfoot Law, PLLC help injured workers with workers’ compensation claims and appeals in Maryland and throughout the D.C. metro area. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, call (202) 919-5453 or contact us online.