Can Your Employer Force You to Use Sick Time After Your Workplace Accident?

If you have never suffered a workplace accident before, then the workers compensation system is completely new to you. Understanding how it works and how your benefits work can be confusing. Even attorneys who don’t specialize in workers compensation law don’t fully understand the system. That’s why we recommend that you call and speak with one of our Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyers as soon as possible after your workplace accident. This way, they can answer any questions you have. They can also help if your employer gives you a hard time about using your sick and vacation time to cover time you miss due to your injury. It isn’t fair that you should be forced to use the time you earned. It wasn’t your fault you got hurt. However, you want to be careful because there’s a chance you’ll want to use some of this time to cover your first week or two out of work.

We offer new clients the chance to meet with one of our Maryland workers comp attorneys for no charge. This gives us a chance to review your case before we decide whether to represent you. It also gives you the opportunity to meet with an attorney and decide if you want to retain our services. The first few weeks after your workplace accident can be extremely frustrating. It seems like nobody wants to answer your calls or emails. Your employer keeps putting you off and telling you that they are waiting to hear from their insurance carrier. The truth is that you have rights and it may take hiring a Maryland workers comp attorney to help protect them.

Your Employer Can Never Force You to Use Accrued Time Off

If your employer tries to pressure you to use your vacation or sick time after your workplace accident, let us know. Your employer has no right to force anyone to use their accrued time to deal with a work-related injury. After all, if they had provided you with a safe work environment, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt in the first place. If you are forced to use this time, or if the payroll department automatically deducts your time, let your Baltimore workers compensation lawyer know.

You May Wish to Use Personal Time for the First Seven Days

One thing to keep in mind is that you will not be paid benefits for the first seven days you are out of work. The seven days start on the first day after your workplace accident. The seven days are also business days, not calendar days. By the time your workers compensation claim has been processed, it will have been about ten to fourteen days. This means you probably won’t start to receive your weekly benefits for at least two or three weeks. It can be hard to survive without an income for that long. You may choose to work some of your vacation, sick, or personal time in this situation. If your employer gives you a hard time, tell your Maryland workers comp attorney. They will reach out to your employer and their insurance carrier and make sure this issue is fixed. You earned that time off and nobody should be allowed to deny you the chance to use it, especially if you are out with a workplace injury.

workplace accident

You Should Remember That You Don’t Receive a Full Paycheck While on Workers Comp

One other thing you need to consider is the fact that you won’t be receiving a full paycheck while you’re out on workers’ compensation. Instead, you only receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages. Your Baltimore workers compensation lawyer will ensure that your benefits are the right amount. If they are lower than you expected, make sure you let us know. We can review the calculations done by the insurance company and make sure the issue is corrected.

You are entitled to 2/3 of whatever your average weekly wages were for the past 52 weeks. All they have to do is take your total income for the previous 52 weeks and divide it by 52. If you have only been with the company for a few months, then your employer will need to figure out the average weekly wages for the time you have worked there.

The Important Thing is That You Don’t Go Without an Income

Regardless of whether you have personal or sick time saved up, nobody wants to go without an income. Most of our clients can’t afford to do this even for a week. However, even if your workers comp claim is approved, you won’t receive your benefits for at least a couple of weeks. It takes anywhere from seven to ten days to process your claim. Then, it takes another week or so to get your benefits started. At some point, you will be paid retroactively for any time you have missed. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the first seven days. Our Baltimore workers compensation lawyers meet with clients every week who are frustrated at how long it takes to receive their benefits.

As much as we understand how frustrating this can be, there is nothing your Maryland workers comp attorney can do about it. This is the way the system works. While you won’t be paid for this first week through your workers compensation benefits, that doesn’t mean you can’t use sick or vacation time. If your employer doesn’t allow this, make sure you tell your Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyer. They will reach out to your employer and let them know that they will report the issue to the workers’ compensation commission if need be.

We suggest that you call and speak with one of our Maryland workers comp attorneys as soon as possible after your injury. There’s no reason to try to handle this on your own. If your injuries were serious, you will be in no shape to fight with the insurance carrier. Nor will you want to go back and forth with your employer about whether you’re going to be paid. Let your attorney handle this for you while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

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