Frequently Asked Workers’ Compensation Questions in Washington, D.C. and Maryland

Answers from knowledgeable injury attorneys in the District of Columbia

At May Lightfoot, PLLC, our attorneys help workers from a wide range of industries to file workers’ compensation claims and appeal unsatisfactory claims decisions in D.C. and Maryland. When you have questions about your eligibility, benefits, the claims process and other matters, we are prepared to provide answers. Among the questions we hear most often are these:

Contact respected Washington, D.C. workers’ compensation attorneys for a free consultation

For more in-depth counsel on workers’ compensation, we invite you to speak directly with an attorney from the law firm of May Lightfoot, PLLC in Washington, D.C. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 202-919-6463 or contact us online.


What should I do after being hurt at work?

Report the injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. Within 30 days of the incident or discovery of the illness, you must also report the injury in writing to the Office of Workers’ Compensation.

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How do I file a workers’ comp claim in Washington, D.C.?

In addition to formally reporting your injury or illness, you will need to complete and file DCWC Form 7 and DCWC Form 7A with the Office of Workers’ Compensation. An experienced attorney can provide valuable advice and guidance during the workers’ compensation claims process.

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Can I choose my own doctor?

Yes, you can choose your own physician. When your workers’ compensation claim is approved, your employer must cover the costs of necessary medical care resulting from your workplace injury. If you want to switch doctors at any point, you will first need to obtain authorization from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.

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How much will my workers’ compensation benefits be?

Your benefits will depend on the severity of your injury and whether your disability is temporary or permanent. In addition to receiving compensation for your necessary medical expenses, you may be able to obtain two-thirds (66.67%) of your average weekly wages for your lost income.

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What if my employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance?

Every business in Washington, D.C. with one or more employees is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer violated this law, the Office of Workers’ Compensation maintains a Special Fund Unit that may provide compensation for lost wages or medical care.

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Are all on-the-job injuries covered by workers' compensation?

Workers’ compensation can be used to cover the full costs of your medical care for a wide range of injuries, from minor sprains to permanent disfigurement and life-threatening conditions. An injury can be covered as long as it occurred while on the job or was caused by conditions of the job, such as exposure to chemicals.

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Does workers' compensation cover only injuries, or does it also cover long-term problems and illnesses?

Workers’ compensation covers one-time injuries as well as illnesses and conditions caused by or worsened by job performance. For example, a person may file a claim for a broken bone, nerve damage or cancer caused by long-term exposure to carcinogens at work.

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What do I do if my claim is denied?

If your claim is denied, you may formally appeal the decision and advocate for a different outcome. The workers’ compensation appeal process may extend over the course of several months, so it is often beneficial to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer before you file your claim in the first place. 

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