All sorts of accidents happen on the job. In Maryland alone, fatal work-related injuries totaled 73 in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Out of these 73 fatal on-the-job injuries, 24 were the result of violence and other injuries by animals and persons. Transportation accidents accounted for 29%, and slip and fall incidents accounted for 16% of the state’s workplace fatalities. Every business with more than three employees and with an annual payroll that totals more than $15,000 in Maryland is required to carry workers’ comp insurance to cover on-the-job accidents. This coverage is designed to recover a worker’s financial loss during their period of healing and recovery.
A Maryland workers compensation lawyer from Pinder Plotkin can help if you have been hurt at work but you’re unable to obtain adequate treatment and for your injuries. Our personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case for free and help you obtain the benefits you are entitled to under Maryland workers’ comp laws.
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What Should I Do If I’m Hurt On The Job?
There are specific steps that workers must take following a workplace accident in Maryland, to preserve your workers’ comp claim and increase your chances of obtaining maximum compensation. These steps include:
Notify Your Employer(s)
One essential requirement of workers’ comp claims is to inform your employer of the nature and degree of your illness or injury and how it occurred. So make sure you file a notice of injury with your employer.
Receive Medical Treatment
Injured workers should seek medical treatment immediately after a work injury. Note that your treatment is vital for your recovery, and also for your workers’ compensation claim. Your doctor will provide expert opinion regarding the extent of your injuries. Make sure you attend all doctor appointments and follow the doctor’s instructions.
Document Your Injuries Or Illness And Symptoms
More often than not, employees have had their workers’ comp claim denied because they failed to document their injuries. Make sure you take pictures of your injuries and obtain medical records related to your injuries or illness.
Keep Track Of Lost Time From Work And Expenses
Make an effort to track and record all expenses, including travel costs related to your injuries. Also, keep track of the dates and hours you missed work while focusing on treatment and recovery. Create both soft and hard copies of every record you save and share copies with your lawyer.
File A Workers’ Comp Claim With The Assistance Of An Attorney
Many people assume that filing a notice of injury with the employer is the same thing as filing a workers’ comp claim. However, it’s not! You need to file a formal claim with Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Commission. An attorney can make sure you file your claim correctly and on time.
Rest And Recuperate
The final step is to rest, follow the doctor’s instructions and recuperate.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Maryland Workers Compensation Lawyer?
In the state of Maryland, there’s a strict fee schedule for workers’ compensation cases. A lawyer, by statute, is not allowed to charge a client any fees at the beginning of a workers’ compensation claim. Instead, attorneys are entitled to a certain percentage of the amount awarded to the claimant after compensation is awarded. For workers’ compensation cases, the maximum fee is set at a maximum of 20% of the compensation awarded. This makes hiring a worker’s compensation attorney in Maryland a relative bargain.
What Should I Do If My Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
One of the most crucial things you can do if your claim for workers’ compensation benefits was denied is to determine why your claim was denied. Some of the reasons why insurance companies may deny workers’ compensation claims include:
- The employee did not report their illness or injury within the set deadlines
- Your injury isn’t severe enough
- You were intoxicated or under the influence
- Your injury or illness is not related to your job
- You failed to follow the doctor’s instructions
If your workers’ comp benefits have been denied, you should immediately contact an attorney to assist you with filing an “Issues Form” with the commission that points out your request for a hearing. Your chosen attorney will then represent you at the hearing. Once the hearing is over, the Commissioner will publish an order stating the exact figure owed to you by your employer’s insurance company. If you don’t agree with the order, you can lodge an appeal in the Marlyland Court.
The process of appealing a workers’ compensation claim can be daunting for an injured person, and it would be best to proceed with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
What Responsibilities Does The Employee Have In A Maryland Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The following are the responsibilities of an employee in filing a workers’ comp claim:
- The employee must work responsibly, which means adhering to safety rules and guidelines.
- The injured worker must inform their employer(s) about their illness or injury either in writing or orally within ten days of injuries.
- Seek medical attention.
- The injured worker must file Employee Claim Form C-1 either online or get a print form the WCC.
- Participate in the return-to-work program
- Maintain accurate records of the injury, symptoms, expenses, and missed workdays.
- Cooperate with the employer and their insurance provider.
- Act responsibly after injury.
What Responsibilities Does An Employer Have In The Maryland Workers’ Comp Process?
The employer of the injured employee shares some responsibility in the claim process. If you were injured on the job, your employer is responsible for the following:
- Provide a safe workspace by implementing the necessary safety and risk management practices to prevent workplace injuries.
- Inform insurance carriers about the accident.
- File an accident report or an equivalent document with the WCC within ten days of knowing about the incident.
- Cooperate with the WCC and investigative parties, including the employee’s attorney.
- Facilitate employee’s return to work.
Can I Be Let Go For Claiming Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In Maryland, employees are protected from retaliation, which means it is against the law for an employer to terminate a worker as punishment for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That means you cannot be demoted, transferred, disciplined, discriminated against or fired for exercising your right to claim workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury. However, it’s still relatively easy for employers to replace injured workers, and it would be best to consult an attorney to understand more about employer rights to replace injured workers in Maryland.
Is There A Time Limit To File A Workers’ Comp Claim In Maryland?
An injured employee in Maryland must inform their employer(s) of their illness or injury within ten days of the illness or injury. A claim must be lodged with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission within 60 days. The statute of limitations for Maryland workers’ comp cases is two years following the date of the injury.
Time limits related to workers’ compensation claims in Maryland can be extended if the employer failed to file the first report on time or if the worker was misled by the employer or their insurer about the claim process.
The time limit may be different for cases involving an employee’s death. For instance, a claim for death benefits caused by an accidental workplace injury must be filed with the WCC within 18 months from the date of death. On the other hand, a claim for death benefits caused by an occupational illness must be filed within 2 years from the date of death, regardless of whether the worker’s dependents were aware that their occupation caused the passing of their loved one.
Can Independent Contractors File A Workers’ Compensation Claim In Maryland?
In Maryland, independent contractors do not have a right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are cases where some employers knowingly choose to misclassify their employees as independent contractors when the employee is, in fact, an actual employee. If you’re an independent contractor and you’ve been hurt while working, our workers’ compensation attorney might be able to help. We can help evaluate your employment status and confirm if your employer has misclassified your employee status.
Review Your Claim With Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
In Maryland, workers are protected by the law in the event of workplace accidents. However, while many people think that filing a workers’ comp claim is a straightforward process, things often get complicated, and the insurance company may deny an employee’s legit claim. Note that unlike other states, in Maryland, not all workplace injuries are compensable.
For an illness or injury to be covered under workers’ compensation, the injury or illness must have been an occupational illness or an accidental personal injury arising in the course of doing your job. Workplace accidents can be catastrophic, and you may never be able to do the same job again. Some injuries may even cause permanent disability. For this reason, you owe it to yourself to claim the benefits you deserve to move on, and we can help. Call our Maryland injury law firm for a free consultation today.