Nearly every Maryland employer with one or more employees is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Only agricultural businesses with fewer than three employees and a yearly payroll of less than $15,000 are excluded. Workers’ comp provides no-fault insurance coverage to employees who suffer occupational illnesses or accidental injuries in the course of carrying out their job duties.
Workers’ comp is intended to eliminate lawsuits filed against employers by injured employees, so you generally cannot sue your employer for a work-related injury or illness. Instead, you may file a workers’ comp claim in Maryland for benefits to cover your medical expenses and two-thirds of your lost wages. You don’t have to prove that your employer was negligent or did anything wrong to cause your injury or illness, and you cannot be fired for filing. There are, however, strict guidelines and deadlines that you must observe in order to receive fair benefits.
Reporting and Filing Requirements
If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or occupational illness that arises out of your job duties and is sustained or developed in the course of performing those duties, you may file a workers’ compensation claim by following certain guidelines.
Guidelines for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim
- Report your injury directly to your supervisor in writing or via email. Your report should state clearly what your injury is, when it took place, where it took place, and exactly how it happened. You have 10 days to report, but it’s always a good idea to do so immediately or as soon as possible after you’re injured. If you’ve developed an occupational illness over time, you have one year from the date you’re diagnosed to report your condition, but you should not wait.
- After receiving your report of injury, your employer should file a claim with its insurance company and notify the MD Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC), which should then issue a notice of the claim. You actually have 60 days to file your claim with the MWCC, but don’t wait. Any delay in reporting or filing might give the insurer grounds to assume you’re not as badly hurt as you say you are.
- You should see a doctor for treatment of your injury or illness. Keep receipts and other documentation from all medical visits and treatments. Follow your doctor’s orders, and take all medication as prescribed. Keep track of your days off work, wages lost, and details of your recovery.
- If for any reason your employer or its insurer does not inform the MWCC of your claim, you may do so through the MWCC website, where you can fill out the claim form online, print it, sign it, and submit it by mail. The MWCC accepts only original hard copies, so you may not submit your claim by fax or email.
- Your employer’s insurer has 21 days to approve the claim (and start providing benefits) or to deny it. Common reasons for denial are missed deadlines and inadequate evidence that the injury is work-related. The insurer might try to blame your condition on a non-work-related activity or a pre-existing condition.
- If your claim is denied, the insurer is slow to approve necessary treatments, or your employer retaliates against you for filing a claim, consult a workers’ comp attorney for help immediately.
- Family members who’ve lost a loved one due to a work-related accident or illness have 30 days to file a claim for death benefits.
If you miss the 10-day reporting deadline, it still might be possible for you to file a successful claim if you can show proof that there was sufficient reason for your failure to give timely notice and that your late notice is not prejudicial to your employer or the insurer. Your attorney can help you to move forward with your claim if you’ve given late notice of your injury.
If your claim is denied, you may request a hearing before the MWCC. Your employer’s insurer will have legal representation there, and you should, too. Having a workers’ comp lawyer in your corner will help you to present your evidence and meet all procedural requirements. If your claim is still denied after the MWCC hearing, your attorney can appeal your case to the Maryland Circuit Court and to the Appellate Court, if necessary.
Have You Suffered a Work-Related Injury in Maryland?
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you follow all guidelines, seek fair benefits, and appeal a denied claim. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 301-790-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.