Yes, you can. Although many states don’t allow an injured employee to choose a doctor in a workers’ compensation case, Maryland does. The doctor must, however, accept the fees listed in the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC) fee schedule as full payment for all services. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the difference.
Workers’ comp is no-fault insurance that covers employee work-related injuries and occupational illnesses. Almost every Maryland company with one or more employees is required to carry workers’ comp. The only exceptions are agricultural businesses with a yearly payroll of less than $15,000 or fewer than three employees. To file a claim, you don’t have to prove your employer did anything wrong to cause your injury, and your company may not retaliate against you for filing.
Workers are commonly injured on the job due to slip-and-fall mishaps, falling objects, vehicle crashes, faulty equipment, lifting heavy objects, fires, and exposure to toxic substances. The resulting injuries can include:
If you suffer any of these or other work-related injuries or illnesses, workers’ comp should cover all your medical expenses and two-thirds of your lost wages. In some cases, you might be eligible for disability benefits or vocational re-training. If you’ve lost a loved one to a work-related injury or illness, you may file a claim for death benefits, as well.
Report and File Soon
If you suffer a work-related accidental injury, you should notify your employer or a workplace claims representative, in writing, immediately. Although you have 10 days to do so, you should not wait. If you develop an occupational illness due to repetitive stress or workplace conditions, you have a year from your diagnosis to report it, but you should do so as soon as you’re aware of your condition. After reporting, you have 60 days to file a claim with the MWCC. Again, you should not wait. Any delay in reporting or filing could be cited by your employer’s insurer as evidence that you’re not as seriously injured or as sick as you say you are.
You should also see a doctor of your choice as soon as possible for an examination, a diagnosis, and a treatment plan. Follow your doctor’s advice, keep all appointments, take medication as prescribed, and keep receipts and documentation of your treatments. The doctor will inform your employer of your medical condition, your progress toward recovery, and the time when you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point at which you’ve recovered as fully as you’re going to. Your doctor might then clear you to return to your previous job or give you restrictions that require a light duty position. If you’re disabled, your doctor will inform your employer of your disability rating: Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Temporary Partial Disability (TPD), Permanent Total Disability (PTD), or Permanent Partial Disability (PPD). Your employer has the right to send you to a different doctor of its choosing for a second opinion, but it cannot force you to receive your treatment from that doctor.
When You Need an Attorney
If your injuries are minor, you don’t need to take many days off work, and your medical expenses are low, you might be able to handle your own claim without legal assistance. You could need help, however, if you have serious injuries, high medical bills, and a long recovery—all of which mean an expensive claim for the employer’s insurer. You should consult a workers’ comp attorney right away if your employer tries to influence your choice of doctors, is slow to approve necessary treatments, or does not honor your work restrictions.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, it’s critical that you have legal representation. Common reasons for denial include:
Your lawyer can make sure you meet all deadlines, request a hearing with the MWCC to address your denied claim, and appeal your denial, if necessary, to the Maryland Circuit and Appellate Courts.
If You Suffer a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Illness
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you seek fair benefits or appeal a denied claim. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.