Frequently Asked Questions
- What is workers' compensation?
- How does workers' compensation work?
- What injuries or illnesses are covered by Workers' Compensation?
- What if an injury does not warrant seeing a physician?
- What happens if I am injured and cannot work?
- What happens if I am injured but do not lose time working?
- How does the university handle lost time due to on-the job injuries?
- How does a lost time injury affect my leave?
- What happens if I use sick leave or annual leave to cover the time lost to a work-related injury?
What is workers' compensation?
Workers' Compensation is a form of no-fault insurance that is designed to cover work-related injuries and illnesses arising out of and in the course of employment with the university. It is a statutory benefit in the District of Columbia and the cost is fully borne by the university. Because this is an insurance program fully funded by the university, injuries and illnesses claimed to have arisen on the job are subject to investigation and dispute. Reimbursement of medical expenses and lost wages are standard benefits that are paid only after it is determined that the injury or illness did in fact arise out of and in the course of the individual's employment.
How does workers' compensation work?
When an employee is injured on the job, it must be reported to Risk Management. The first step in filing a workers' compensation claim is to notify the supervisor of the injury or illness immediately. The supervisor, in coordination with the injured employee, is responsible for completing the Webform which documents the details of the injury/illness. This must be completed and returned to Risk Management within 24 hours of the incident. When it is received by our office, it serves as a formal notice to the university that an employee sustained an accidental injury or illness on the job. Of course, every claim is investigated to determine whether the injury arouse out of and in the course of employment.
What injuries or illnesses are covered by Workers' Compensation?
If the injury or illness is work-related, then it is covered under Workers' Compensation. To be work-related, the injury or illness must arise from and be suffered in the course of employment. There must be a cause/effect relationship between
the job and injury. Accidents occurring on university property during the normal work day are usually considered work-related. Occupational illnesses originating on the job such as skin dermatitis, and cumulative trauma conditions are also
covered by Workers' Compensation. Accidents occurring on university property before or after working hours or, during lunch break are not compensable. Injuries suffered away from the university by employees engaged in university business are compensable.
What if an injury does not warrant seeing a physician?
Many injuries do not require anything other than minor first aid treatment such as cleaning and dressing a wound. Not every injury should be seen by a physician. Still, every injury should be reported and a claim established to allow future medical attention should it be necessary.
What happens if I am injured and cannot work?
Any absence from work must be authorized by the employee's treating physician. An employee must be out of work three days (excluding the day of injury) before workers' compensation pay for the time lost. If an employee loses 1-3 days of work, no temporary disability payment will be made. If the employee loses 4-14 days, temporary disability will begin on day 4. However, if the employee is out of work for 14 consecutive days or more, workers' compensation disability payments will begin with day one of the absence from work. The rate of payment while on workers' compensation is 66 2/3% of your average weekly wages. The payments are tax-free.
What happens if I am injured but do not lose time working?
The claim is set up only to pay medical expenses related to the injury of illness. The employee should inform the health care provider to send the bills to the Office of Risk Management. Payments will then be made to the provider under the university's Workers' Compensation Program.
How does the university handle lost time due to on-the job injuries?
The day an employee is injured is not considered to be lost time. The employee should be paid for the full day by their respective department. It is very important that if a physician recommends time off for a work-related injury, the employee's supervisor be made aware of this as soon as possible. Additionally, injured employees who are absent from work must furnish written documentation from a physician explaining the reason for the absence, the period the absence is to cover, and a projected date for return to work.
How does a lost time injury affect my leave?
If a work-related injury or illness requires the employee to be off the job for less than 14 days, the first three days following the day of the injury will be covered by accrued sick leave, annual leave, or when there is insufficient leave accrued, leave without pay. The remaining time off the job will be covered by Workers' Compensation. If the injury requires the employee to be off the job for 14 or more days, the entire period following your injury is covered by workers' compensation. After 30 consecutive days of absence from work, injured employees will no longer accrue sick or annual leave. Employees will also be responsible for paying the entire premium for their Health Insurance and Group Life Insurance if they are out of work for 30 consecutive days or more.
What happens if I use sick leave or annual leave to cover the time lost to a work-related injury?
An employee cannot receive compensation from the university and our insurance carrier for the same period of time missed from work. If the employee is charged sick or annual leave to cover time lost in lieu of Workers' Compensation, the university will reimburse his or her leave at a rate of 2/3 days for each day missed.