Washington, D.C. Nurse Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In the fast-paced and high-stress environment of healthcare, nurses are the backbone that holds the system together. However, this essential role also places them at a high risk for workplace injuries. When injuries occur, it is important to find a reliable Washington, D.C. nurse workers’ compensation lawyer who can help guide them through the process of receiving the support they deserve. For help after a Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation claim, contact Lightfoot Law to schedule a free consultation. 

Washington, D.C. Nurse Workers' Compensation Attorney

Why Hire Lightfoot Law For Your Nurse Workers’ Comp Case?

When it comes to choosing legal representation for your workers’ compensation claim, you want a firm that can get you the results you need. Here’s why you should work with Lightfoot Law: 

Experience and Aggressive Representation

Our attorneys deliver aggressive representation in the civil courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia. We have successfully handled countless nurse workers’ comp cases and have a deep understanding of the complexities involved in navigating the workers’ compensation system.

Personal Attention and Clear Communication

At Lightfoot Law, PLLC, we understand that dealing with the pressure and intricacy of a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit can be stressful. Our lawyers are committed to providing clear communication and responsive service every step of the way.

Wealth of Experience in Negotiations

Our attorneys have a proven track record of successfully negotiating satisfactory settlements for our clients. We will use our wealth of experience to fight for the compensation you deserve and minimize the stress of the process.

How a Lawyer Can Help With a Nurse Workers’ Compensation Claim

A workers’ compensation lawyer can provide valuable assistance in several ways:

  1. Evaluating Your Claim: An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can analyze your situation and help you understand your rights and options within the workers’ compensation system.
  2. Filing a Claim: A lawyer will guide you through the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim, ensuring all necessary documentation is completed accurately and promptly.
  3. Gathering Evidence: To build a strong case for compensation, your lawyer will gather crucial evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, and documentation of your workplace conditions.
  4. Negotiating Settlements: In many cases, it is possible to negotiate a fair settlement with the workers’ compensation insurer without going to court. A skilled lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome.
  5. Representing You at Hearings: If your claim cannot be resolved through negotiation, your lawyer will represent you at administrative hearings and, if necessary, appeal an unfavorable decision to the higher courts.

Common Injuries Nurses Face at Work

Due to the nature of their profession, nurses are exposed to various hazards that can lead to severe injuries. Some of the most common workplace injuries faced by nurses include:

  1. Musculoskeletal Injuries: Nurses often have to lift, transfer, and reposition patients, which can lead to back, neck, and shoulder injuries. 
  2. Slips, Trips, and Falls: Wet floors, cluttered workspaces, and hastily moving through narrow halls can all contribute to slips, trips, and falls that cause injuries to nurses. These incidents can result in fractures, sprains, and even traumatic brain injuries.
  3. Needlestick Injuries: Accidental needlesticks can happen at any time, exposing nurses to bloodborne pathogens and potentially serious infections, such as HIV or Hepatitis B and C.
  4. Exposure to Hazardous Substances: Nurses frequently come into contact with hazardous substances, such as chemotherapy drugs, radiation, and biohazard waste, which can pose risks to their health.
  5. Workplace Violence: Unfortunately, nurses may experience physical and emotional violence from their patients, family members, or coworkers. This can lead to both physical injuries and psychological trauma.

In the event of a work-related injury, seeking legal representation from an experienced Washington, D.C. nurse workers’ compensation lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.

What To Do After an Injury at Work

Injuries at work are common, particularly in the healthcare industry, and nurses must know how to respond and protect their rights after sustaining an injury at the workplace. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury, take the following steps: 

Mention Injury to Supervisor

The first step you should take after experiencing a workplace injury is to inform your immediate supervisor or nursing manager. This step helps ensure that appropriate actions can be taken and that your injury will be properly documented. Make sure to fully describe the injury and the circumstances of the incident, including the time and place it occurred and any witnesses present.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

Your health and well-being should be your top priority. After reporting the injury to your supervisor, seek medical attention right away even if the injury seems mild. In some cases, injuries may not present severe symptoms immediately, but could worsen over time. By seeking prompt medical attention, you are not only ensuring your well-being, but also creating documentation to support your injury claim.

Inform Employer of Work-Related Injury in Writing

It’s crucial to provide your employer with written notice of the injury. This documentation should include a detailed description of the injury, its cause, and its effect on your ability to work. This written notice should be submitted as soon as possible (but no later than 30 days) after the injury occurs. Failure to provide timely written notice will jeopardize your ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

File OWC Form 7 and Provide a Copy to Employer

Filing an OWC (Office of Workers’ Compensation) Form 7 is crucial to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. This form is used to provide details about the injury and any related medical treatment. It’s essential to complete the form accurately and within the 30-day deadline. Failure to file OWC Form 7 in time may result in the denial of your claim.

File OWC Form 7A and Provide it to Employer and Office of Workers’ Compensation

OWC Form 7A is a supplementary form that must be filed after your initial OWC Form 7 submission. This form is used to provide additional information about your workplace injury and the benefits you’ve received. You must file this form within one year of your injury. Failure to submit this form within the appropriate time frame can affect your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Nurses

Washington D.C.’s workers’ compensation insurance system offers coverage to nurses for various expenses. These include:

  1. Medical Costs: Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical bills and treatment necessary for treating work-related injuries or illnesses. This can include the cost of doctor visits, diagnostic tests, prescription medications, therapies, and even transportation costs to attend medical appointments.
  2. Employees’ Wages: Workers’ compensation benefits often include temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, which cover a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages while they recover. Qualified individuals may receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly wage.
  3. Short-term and Long-term Disabilities: Disabilities sustained in work-related incidents may be adequately compensated through workers’ compensation benefits. Two of the most common types are temporary partial disability (TPD) and permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.
  4. Funeral Expenses: In the unfortunate event that a work-related injury or illness results in death, workers’ compensation insurance can help cover the cost of funeral arrangements.

Coverage Does Not Always Apply

Despite providing a safety net for workplace injuries and accidents, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover all types of incidents. More specifically, it does not generally cover situations where negligence or illegal activity took place. Both employers and employees should take note of these exceptions, as they can have serious implications for all parties involved.

Injuries Resulting from a Violation of the Law

One major exception to workers’ compensation coverage is when a workplace injury occurs as a result of a violation of the law. For example, if an employee intentionally disregards safety regulations, resulting in injury, workers’ compensation may not cover the damages.

Accidents Resulting from Using Drugs or Alcohol

Another common exception to workers’ compensation coverage is when an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the job. If an injury occurs while a nurse is intoxicated, they may not be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Injuries that Did Not Occur in Connection with the Job

Perhaps one of the most important aspects that determine whether workers’ compensation will apply is whether the injury took place while the employee was performing duties directly related to their job. For instance, if a nurse becomes injured during their lunch break, they may not be covered under workers’ compensation.

Clear Company Policy Violations

If an employee is injured while willfully violating a clear company policy, workers’ compensation may not apply. Employers in Washington, D.C. must ensure that their staff is aware of these policies and the consequences of violating them.

What To Do If Your Nurse Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied

What To Do If Your Nurse Workers' Compensation Claim is Denied

If your compensation claim is denied, you’re not out of options. It’s helpful to know what to expect and what you can do about it.

File an Appeal

If you’ve received a denial for a workers’ comp claim in Washington DC, you can file an appeal, but it’s important to act quickly. The first step you can take is to request an informal conference with a claims examiner from the Office of Workers’ Compensation. At this hearing, the goal is to come to an agreement with your employer’s insurance company so you don’t have to proceed to the next level of appeal.

Formal Hearing is Conducted

If an agreement can’t be reached, the next step is to file a request for a formal hearing (this can also be done right away instead of opting for an informal conference). This hearing should be scheduled within 90 days of your request. 

During the hearing, you or your attorney will need to present your evidence, examine witnesses, and argue your case. The employer or their representative will also be given the chance to present their side of the story. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will then consider all the information provided and make a decision.

This decision must be made within 20 days of the hearing date, at which point a compensation order will be issued.

File an Appeal with the Compensation Review Board

If you are dissatisfied with the ALJ’s decision, you can file an appeal with the Compensation Review Board (CRB). The CRB reviews the decisions made by ALJs and ensures they are in compliance with the law. 

If you don’t like the outcome, you can request that the CRB take one more look at your claim for reconsideration. This must be done within 10 days of the decision.

Final Appeals can be Made to the D.C. Court of Appeals

In certain cases, you might feel that the CRB’s decision is still unfair or incorrect. In such instances, you can file an appeal with the D.C. Court of Appeals. You have 30 calendar days from when the CRB issues their decision to file this appeal. 

Hiring an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Increase Your Chances of a Successful Outcome

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be a valuable asset during the appeals process. With their intricate knowledge of the workers’ comp system and legal procedures, an attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and submitted on time. 

Additionally, a skilled lawyer can help gather crucial evidence, formulate compelling arguments, and represent you during negotiations and hearings, ultimately increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

One thing to keep in mind is that you will not receive any benefits while the appeal is ongoing.

Contact Our Washington, D.C. Nurse Workers’ Compensation Lawyers For A Free Consultation

Nurses face various challenges in the workplace, including potential work-related injuries and illnesses. Understanding Washington D.C.’s workers’ compensation system is crucial for receiving the benefits needed to recover—both physically and financially. Assistance from a knowledgeable nurse workers’ compensation lawyer can be invaluable in navigating this complex process. For help, contact Lightfoot Law to schedule a free consultation.