Can I Get Workers’ Comp for Heart Disease If I’m a Correctional Officer?

On-the-job injuries are common among correctional officers. However, many officers don’t know their legal right to compensation if they suffer a work-related illness in Maryland. If you are unable to work because of an on-the-job injury, you should contact a workers’ comp lawyer in Maryland. In the meantime, this article will explore some of the considerations relating to heart disease.

Since October 2018, correctional officers in Maryland have been eligible for special workers’ comp benefits. It is also presumed that certain types of injuries or illnesses are job-related. Previously, only police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters were entitled to special consideration. However, it is now presumed that if a correctional officer develops heart disease, it’s a consequence of the job. Cardiac arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, and sudden heart failure are among the covered conditions.

What Happens if You Get Diagnosed with Heart Disease

Even if you were diagnosed with heart disease after you retired, you may still be entitled to benefits. You may also still be eligible if you had a heart condition before you began working in corrections. Of course, every case is different so you should reach out to an attorney to get expert legal advice. The presumption for heart disease is restricted to officers employed by Anne Arundel County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County.

It’s also important to note that the presumption of occupational illness is limited. More specifically, you’ll only be presumed to have a work-related illness if you meet all the following criteria:

  • You’ve been diagnosed with heart disease
  • Your condition causes you to be partially or totally disabled
  • Your condition is more severe now than it was before you began working in corrections
  • You submitted to a medical examination to determine the extent of your illness before you were hired

If you don’t meet all these conditions, the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) won’t allow the presumption of an occupational disease. If you meet these conditions and your claim was denied, you should seek legal help. Reach out to a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer for guidance.

Other Special Privileges Extended to Corrections Officers

In addition to the presumption of occupational illness for heart disease, corrections officers get other special benefits. These aren’t accessible by the average worker in Maryland who suffers an occupational illness or injury. For example, corrections officer may receive benefits at a higher compensation rate than other workers. Usually, they get about twice as much as another worker would if they had the same injury. Maryland corrections officers are also entitled to benefits if they’re diagnosed with hypertension. This is also presumed to be an occupational disease given the nature of the job.

Workers’ Compensation Benefits You May Be Able to Claim

Maryland’s workers’ comp system provides several benefits for injured workers. These include:

  • Payment of your medical fees
  • Payment of your missed wages while you can’t work
  • Compensation for permanent disabilities
  • Help with vocational rehabilitation if you can’t return to your previous duties
  • Repayment of money spent on tests, medication, medical equipment, and therapy

What to Do If You Suffer an On-the-Job Illness Such as Heart Disease

There are certain steps you need to take if your doctor diagnoses you with an occupational disease. If you don’t do what’s required, you may not be able to get compensation. You need to get prompt treatment from a medical doctor. Also, at your earliest opportunity, you should inform your employer that you have a work-related condition. You should also reach out to an experienced workers’ comp lawyer for advice.

Unless your attorney gives you the go-ahead, you shouldn’t make any statements to your employers’ worker compensation insurer. Even things that may seem harmless could put your benefits in jeopardy. Your lawyer will help you to file your claim correctly and within the specified time. If your valid claim gets denied, they will fight on your behalf. However, you need to seek legal advice as soon as possible. You should give your attorney the maximum amount of time to work on your case.

Contact the Team at Pinder Plotkin LLC Today

The presumption of an occupational illness does not automatically guarantee that your claim will be approved. The insurance company may attempt to prove that your heart disease is not related to your job as a corrections officer. It can, therefore, be difficult to get your workers’ comp benefits. However, if your illness is really work-related, the skilled Maryland workers’ comp attorneys at Pinder Plotkin will help you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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