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Workers' Compensation

District of Columbia: Hearings Department Has Jurisdiction to Decide Which of Two Contractors Should Modify Residence of Quadriplegic

The District of Columbia's Compensation Review Board ("CRB") committed error when it agreed with the District's Adjudication and Hearings Department ("AHD") that the latter did not have sufficient jurisdiction to determine which of two building contractors should be awarded a contract to modify an injured worker's residence (located in Florida) to accommodate specialized physical therapy equipment that had been prescribed by the injured worker's physician. The injured worker, a quadriplegic, supplied the name of a contractor to his employer's workers' compensation insurer, but the insurer objected because the proposed contractor would not guarantee that all workers on the project would be covered by workers' compensation insurance. The insurer proposed a different contractor who would make such a certification. The AHD said it lacked jurisdiction since the disagreement was not whether the modifications constituted "medical services and supplies" under the D.C. Act--the insurer agreed that the modifications were compensable--but based solely on the identity of the contractor. The CRB agreed with the AHD, but the appellate court reversed, finding the CRB's "cursory" explanation as to jurisdiction was unsatisfactory. The appellate court stressed that the dispute was integral to both the "character" and the "sufficiency" of the home modification for which the worker sought authorization.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Young v. District of Columbia Dept. of Empl. Servs., 2020 D.C. App. LEXIS 456 (Dec. 3, 2 020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 94.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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