Worker’s compensation is the right of American working professionals to receive material support while recovering from an injury suffered on the job. It is not, however, a one-size fits all program, adjudicated by the federal government. Indeed, worker’s compensation programs vary from state to state, with unique quirks forged by each state’s legislature. To describe the systems of worker’s compensation in all 50 states would be impractical. Let’s make use of our own DMV area as an example. Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC have deeply interlinked economies and many residents who travel across state lines for work. Let’s take this opportunity to explain the workers comp filing process for out of state workers, as well as summarize the worker’s comp differences between states.
If you are injured while working out of state, you’ll file for worker’s comp in the state where the injury occurred. This is always the case. However, if your place of employment requires you to travel across state lines on a regular basis, you may wish to investigate whether they have purchased worker’s compensation insurance in the states you visit most frequently. Failure to do so may considerably complicate your path to compensation, as well as exposing your employer to serious legal and financial penalties.
So let’s begin to draw distinctions between worker’s comp systems in our region.
In the event of an on the job injury or occupational illness, an employee at a company located in Maryland may receive benefits to cover medical bills as well as a percentage of wages lost during recovery. The Maryland Workers Compensation Commission defines injuries eligible for worker’s comp as “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.”
In the event of disability, worker’s comp also makes provisions for disability benefits to compensate for lost income. It may also subsidize vocational rehabilitation training.
Maryland also makes provisions for surviving family members to claim benefits in the event of a workplace death. In Maryland, this privilege extends to any family member financially dependent on the deceased. These benefits can extend between five and twelve years and may also cover funeral expenses.
The statute of limitations for Maryland worker’s comp claims is two years from the date of the injury. However, an injured worker should generally notify their employer within ten days of the injury. A claim should be filed with the worker’s comp commission within sixty days.
At first glance, Virginia worker’s comp is similar to Maryland. It provides coverage for lost wages and medical bills. It also makes provisions for extended benefits in the event of temporary or permanent disability as well as death benefits. However, it should be noted that these death benefits only extend up to 500 weeks from the date of injury and are only extended to surviving spouses, children, and other dependents. In addition; Virginia mandates that care for injuries must be provided by an authorized doctor for the injured employee to be eligible for benefits. Virginia also has a two year statute of limitations for filing worker’s compensation claims.
The District of Columbia has three major differences that separate it from Maryland and Virginia’s workers compensation systems. The first is a shortened statute of limitations. DC only allows one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. The second is the right to choose one’s treating physician for their recovery. The third is a more complex approach to death benefits.
Under DC law, a surviving spouse is entitled to 50% of their deceased partner’s weekly wages until they remarry, at which time they may be entitled to a lump sum accounting for two years of benefits. The percentage of benefits may rise to 67% if there are surviving children left behind by the deceased.
The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased worker, any surviving children under the age of 18, any children who are unable of supporting themselves due to a physical or mental disability, and full-time students under the age of 23 are considered eligible dependents. However, if no dependents matching these criteria exist, parents, siblings, grandparents, or grandchildren whom were financially dependent on the deceased may qualify for these death benefits.
If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury and plan to pursue worker’s compensation benefits, a trusted attorney in your corner can be your best asset. Malloy Law Offices is home to the DMV’s worker’s comp specialists. Our experienced team of attorneys can navigate the state to state worker’s comp differences and secure maximum compensation on your behalf. Don’t wait to seek justice for your workplace injury. Contact us today to get started.