A new emergency piece of legislation will affect how Washington, D.C., handles a credit for benefits paid and received by a workers’ compensation claimant in another jurisdiction. The new law essentially permits claimants who file in D.C. to still pursue benefits under the Act even if they have received an order/benefits from a sister jurisdiction.
The law in D.C. has been interpreted for over 20 years to provide that an employee that obtains benefits in another jurisdiction, primarily Maryland or Virginia, is not entitled to seek additional benefits in D.C. Because D.C. has historically been very strict in refusing jurisdiction over any claims that have already been accepted and paid in another jurisdiction, if dual jurisdiction was possible, the claimant would have a tough choice – proceed in Maryland or Virginia where the process is efficient, or go to D.C. where the case is much more valuable but where the claimant may have to wait a longer time to get paid.
DC Act 32-1503(a-1) now permits a claimant to receive compensation in D.C. even after having received it in another jurisdiction. It also gives the employer a credit for the amounts paid in the other jurisdiction. The emergency legislation expires in May 2023, but it is being considered as part of a permanent part of the statute.
The impact of this new piece of legislation would permit a claimant to file in either Maryland or D.C. (assuming jurisdiction is appropriate in both) and pursue the first part of the case in Maryland. The claimant could then move directly to D.C. either if they do not have success in Maryland, or when they get to the stage of PPD and want to seek the higher PPD rates afforded under D.C. law.
Semmes is closely monitoring the emergency legislation and its impact, and will provide further updates as D.C. considers making this measure permanent. For questions about how this legislation might impact you, please contact attorney Joel Ogden.