Most working people in Maryland never give workers’ compensation a thought until they are hurt on the job. But when expensive medical bills come in and they’re unable to work due to an injury, they need information on Maryland workers’ comp claims right away. Because workers’ comp law is extremely complex and detailed, it’s critical that you understand what happens after your injury and what you can expect from a workers’ comp claim in Maryland.
What You Should Know About Maryland Workers’ Comp Claims
Who is covered. Every Maryland company with one or more employee on its payroll must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Only regular employees are covered. Usually, independent contractors, casual laborers, and volunteers are not eligible for benefits.
What workers’ comp provides. Winning Maryland workers’ comp claims generally cover lost wages and medical expenses of employees who sustain work-related injuries or develop occupational illnesses as a result of doing their jobs. In some cases, it also pays for vocational rehabilitation and death benefits. It does not compensate you for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
How much workers’ comp reimburses. Workers’ comp generally pays all your medical expenses and about two-thirds of the weekly salary you were earning during the two weeks before your accident, up to a weekly maximum amount that in 2021 was just over $1,000 but changes annually. There are no taxes or other payroll deductions taken from your weekly benefits check.
What to do if you’re hurt. You have 10 days from the date of your accident to report your injury to your employer’s claims representative or insurance company, but you should do so as soon as possible. If you have an occupational illness that’s developed over time, you have one year from the time of diagnosis to report it, but again, you should not wait. You have 60 days to file your claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC). Once you’ve reported your injury/illness, see a doctor certified by the insurance company.
Retaliation/firing. Your employer may not retaliate against you in any way. If you are fired for filing Maryland workers' comp claims, you have grounds for a wrongful termination suit in Maryland.
Lawsuits. In most cases, you cannot sue your employer for your accident/injury. Workers’ comp essentially takes the place of lawsuits. You might, however, have a third-party claim against someone who caused your workplace accident or against the manufacturer of faulty equipment that caused your injury/illness. A lawyer can help you identify third-party defendants.
The need for an attorney. Not all Maryland workers’ comp claims require an experienced workers' compensation attorney. The insurance company is likely to accept and pay your claim if:
- Your injury is minor.
- Your medical bills are not high.
- You’ve missed less than a week of work.
- You’ve reported and filed on time.
Maryland workers' comp claims for more serious injuries with expensive treatment and long recovery times, however, are sometimes disputed and denied by the insurance company. In such a case, you have the right to request a hearing with the MWCC and to appeal the denial of your claim to the circuit and appellate courts. Obtaining legal representation from a workers’ comp attorney is highly recommended for expensive, complex, and denied claims.
How long it takes. Once a settlement is reached, it should take about two weeks for the insurance company to issue your check, but the time it takes to reach a settlement can vary from one case to another. You really don’t know what your future healthcare needs/expenses will be until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). How long this takes depends on your injury/illness. Medical treatments and tests can also be delayed if the insurance company is slow to approve them. Experienced Hagerstown workers' compensation lawyers will know how to address delays and evaluate your future needs to determine a reasonable settlement amount.
Disability: Disability claims lead to the most expensive and most complex workers’ comp cases. Once you reach MMI, your doctors will give you a disability rating that puts you into one of four categories:
- Temporary Partial Disability
- Permanent Partial Disability
- Temporary Total Disability
- Permanent Total Disability
Your category determines what benefits you will receive and for how long. You’re most likely to get the disability benefits you need and deserve with the help of a lawyer.
Contact Our Hagerstown Workers' Compensation Lawyers About Your Work-Related Injury or Occupational Illness
Experienced Hagerstown workers’ compensation lawyers can help you get the benefits you need and deserve when filing Maryland workers' comp claims. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.