Where Do I File My Workers' Comp Claim in DC?

When you need to file and seek medical aid in Maryland, Virginia, or DC

By Super Lawyers staff | Last updated on January 29, 2023

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Worker safety remains a significant problem. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses are reported each year. A work-related injury can cause a serious disruption to a person’s life. Through state-based workers’ compensation insurance programs, an injured employee can get medical bill coverage and financial support for lost income.

This raises an important question: Which state has jurisdiction in my workers’ comp insurance claim? The answer depends—though, in some cases, an injured worker might have a choice of multiple jurisdiction. In this article, you will find an overview of the key things to know about where to file a workers’ compensation claim in the greater Washington DC area.

Seek Emergency Medical Attention Right Away

If you were injured on the job in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. Report your injury or illness to your supervisor right away. In an emergency situation, you should receive care from the nearest hospital or emergency medical center. In a non-emergency situation, it is still important to get yourself evaluated as soon as possible. To simplify the claims process, it is a best practice to seek medical care in the same jurisdiction in which you are planning on filing your workers’ compensation case.

Filing for Workers’ Compensation in Washington DC: Extraterritorial Coverage

Under Washington DC law (Code of District of Columbia § 32–1503), employers are required to provide no-fault workers’ compensation benefits for all employees, including part-time staff. As workers’ compensation coverage is “no-fault”, you can get benefits even if your employer did not “cause” your accident. Similar to many (but not all) jurisdictions, Washington DC mandates “extraterritorial coverage.”

Simply defined, extraterritorial workers’ comp coverage provides financial benefits to workers who were hired in Washington DC, but were injured while working in another state (Maryland, Virginia, etc). Though, it should be noted the District’s extraterritoriality provision only applies if workers whose employment is principally located in Washington DC.

DC Workers Can File in the District—Even If Injured in Maryland or Virginia

As the District of Columbia has strong extraterritorial coverage provisions in its workers’ comp statute, a worker who is employed in Washington DC can generally file for workers’ comp benefits in the District, even if they were hurt while on a temporary assignment out-of-state. If you are employed in Maryland or Virginia and you were hurt while working in DC, you will generally file for benefits in your state of employment. Though, there are some exceptions. Multi-jurisdictional workers’ comp claims can be complicated. Professional guidance and support is available. If you or your loved suffered an on-the-job injury in the greater DMV area, contact an experienced Washington DC workers’ compensation lawyer for help with your case. For more information, read our workers’ compensation overview.

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