Most workers in Maryland are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they suffer a work-related injury or illness. However, some categories of workers can get enhanced benefits because of the nature of their jobs, including correctional officers. In 2018, they joined police officers and firefighters in getting better assistance if they become ill or injured on the job. They fall under the category of public safety employees.
These workers get better benefits than most employees because of the stress and risk associated with their work. Unlike regular workers, they don’t have to prove the job caused some diseases. These illnesses are presumed to be caused by the job. In addition, they receive more than double the weekly wage rate for permanent disabilities.
The added benefits relieve some of the burden on correctional officers when they are unable to work. However, it is important to remember that workers’ comp claims are quite like other insurance claims. The employer or the insurance company can still challenge your claim for benefits. Since compensation is never guaranteed, many officers find it advantageous to work with a Maryland correction officer injury lawyer. This will increase the chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Injuries for Which Corrections Officers Can Get Compensation
Most on-the-job injuries are compensable regardless of who was at fault. Correctional officers often suffer accidental injuries in the court of their duties. They may break up a fight, get attacked by an inmate or contract an illness after being exposed to bodily fluids.
Occupational diseases like heart disease and hypertension are considered to be expected given the stresses of the job. However, this presumption currently only applies to correctional officers employed by Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, and Prince George’s County. If you work in one of these counties, you are presumed to have an occupational illness if:
- You have been diagnosed with heart disease or hypertension
- Your condition causes partial or total disability
- Your condition is more severe than it was before you started the job
- You submitted to a medical exam to determine the extent of your illness before you were hired
The Workers’ Compensation Commission will only allow the presumption of an occupational disease if all four of these criteria are met. If you believe you are entitled to benefits but your claim was denied, reach out to Maryland workers’ comp lawyer.
Possible Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The workers’ comp system provides a wide range of benefits for injured workers. These include:
- Full payment of your medical bills
- Payment of your wages while you’re unable to work
- Compensation for any permanent disability even if you can work
- Vocational rehabilitation assistance if you can’t return to your previous job
- Reimbursement of money spent on medication and medical equipment
- Reimbursement of money spent on travel, therapy, and tests
What to Do If You Suffer A Work-Related Injury or Illness
What you do after you suffer an injury or get diagnosed with an occupational disease matter. If you don’t take the necessary steps, you may jeopardize your chances of getting compensation. You need to prioritize seeking medical treatment and notifying a supervisor that you suffered an injury. Then, you should call an attorney who has experience in handling workers’ comp claims. You should do this as soon as possible. While you wait to consult with a lawyer, avoid making any statements to an insurance company. Your comments, even when they seem harmless, could be used against you.
Your attorney will assist you with everything from filing your initial claim to appealing if necessary. Notifying your employer isn’t enough. You also need to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Keep in mind that there are time limits on how long you have to file a claim. You may not be aware of them but your attorney will ensure you do everything that’s necessary. However, you need to contact them as soon as possible. If you wait too late to act, you may not be able to get compensation.
In Maryland, you generally have two years from the date of injury to file a claim. However, different rules apply to corrections officers with hypertension or heart disease. You may be able to get benefits even if you are diagnosed after you retire. To find out exactly what applies in your case, you should seek legal advice.
Contact Pinder Plotkin to Discuss Your Case
If you are a corrections officer and you believe you are eligible for workers’ comp, give us a call. You don’t have to wait until your claim is denied or you get fewer benefits than you expect. We can help you from the moment you suffer an injury or discover you have an occupational illness. Call our Maryland workers’ comp attorneys to set up a consultation today.