Maryland law requires every business with one or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The only exceptions are agricultural businesses with annual payrolls under $15,000 or fewer than three employees. Workers’ comp is no-fault coverage for medical bills and lost wages for employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses.
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC) has specific guidelines for what workers’ comp covers:
- Only accidental injuries and occupational diseases arising out of and sustained in the course of employment fall under workers’ comp protection.
- Only official employees of a business are covered. If you’re paid as a contractor or working “off the books,” workers’ comp does not protect you unless you elect to pay for your own coverage.
- A covered accidental injury is one that happens by chance or without design and takes place unexpectedly or unintentionally.
- Occupational diseases are covered if they result from unavoidable conditions of the job or workplace.
Work-Related Injuries Our Workers' Comp Attorneys Handle
Although employers are responsible for keeping workplaces safe, some work environments are safer than others. Accidents can occur frequently, including:
- Slip and falls
- Company vehicle crashes
- Defective equipment mishaps
- Heavy lifting injuries
- Falls or contact with falling objects
- Exposure to toxic chemicals, fumes, or fire
These and other workplace accidents/conditions cause a variety of injuries:
- Back injuries
- Sprained or strained joints
- Spinal cord injuries
- Concussions or traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lung and breathing problems
- Lacerations and scarring
Reporting and Filing
In order to receive benefits for workers’ compensation in Maryland, you don’t need proof that your employer has done anything wrong. Furthermore, your employer can’t fire you or retaliate against you for filing a claim. As long as your injury/illness meets the MWCC requirements, you may begin the process of submitting your claim. Here are some general guidelines and information for doing so:
- Although you have 10 days to report your accident to your employer, it’s best to report it right away. If you miss the deadline, you could lose your right to benefits. Your employer should inform the insurance company of your report.
- If you have an occupational disease that’s developed over time, you have one year from the time you become aware of the illness to report it. Again, you shouldn’t wait.
- You might have to complete an accident report and provide evidence of your accident/injury.
- You should seek treatment from a doctor and follow all medical advice.
- File an employee claim form with the MWCC. You have 60 days to do this. You may fill the form out online, print it, sign it, and mail it in. You may also request that a paper form be mailed to you. The MWCC accepts only original hard copies (not photocopies) and does not accept any claims via email, fax, or attachment.
- The insurance company will consider your claim and give you its decision within 21 days. If your claim is approved, you should begin receiving benefits shortly thereafter.
Workers’ Comp Benefits
If your claim is approved, your benefits should cover:
- Medical expenses including:
- All treatments
- Medications/other prescriptions
- Physical therapy
- Assistive equipment
- 67% of your average weekly wages
- Vocational rehabilitation services if you have to be re-trained for a new job
- Death benefit/funeral expenses if your injury/illness is fatal
If your injury/illness has left you with a disability, it will fall into one of the following four categories:
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
If you’re completely unable to return to work for a period of time, you’re eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. If this period of time is 14 days or less, you’ll receive no benefits for the first three days except for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
If the period of time exceeds 14 days, you’ll receive all benefits, plus a 67% wage reimbursement for your entire period of TTD, including the first three days, up to a statewide weekly maximum of $1,080 (as of 2020). The minimum weekly payment is $50 unless you were earning less before your injury.
Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)
If you’re able to return to work but can perform only a part-time or light-duty job, with temporary partial disability you’ll be reimbursed for 50% of the difference between your previous weekly wage and your current light-duty or part-time wage, up to a statewide weekly maximum of $540 (as of 2020).
Permanent Total Disability (PTD)
You are considered permanently and totally disabled if you lose or lose the use of:
- Both legs
- Both arms
- Both hands
- Both feet
- Both eyes
- A combination of two of the following:
- An arm
- A leg
- A hand
- A foot
- An eye
In addition to your medical expenses, you’ll be reimbursed for 67% of your lost wages up to the statewide weekly maximum. The minimum weekly payment is $25, and there is an annual cost-of-living adjustment. Your benefits will continue for as long as you are totally disabled, potentially for life.
Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)
If you’ve reached the stage of maximum medical improvement (MMI) and still have a partial disability that restricts you to a part-time or light-duty job paying less than your previous job, your doctor will rate your disability in the form of a percentage. This rating will determine the length of time for which you can receive permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.
Even if your claim is legitimate, it could be denied by the employer or insurance company for a number of reasons, including:
- Your claim form was incompletely/incorrectly filled out
- You’ve missed reporting/filing deadlines
- Your employer/insurance company claims your injury/illness was:
- Not work-related
- Caused by drug/alcohol impairment
- Caused by a pre-existing medical condition
If your claim is denied for any reason or you don’t receive adequate benefits, you have the right to three levels of appeal, all of which are best pursued with the help of an experienced lawyer:
- A hearing before the MWCC
- An appeal to the Maryland circuit court
- An appeal to the Maryland appellate court
Have You Been Injured on the Job in Maryland? Our Workers' Comp Attorneys Can Help!
Increase your chances of getting fair benefits by consulting our experienced Maryalnd workers’ comp attorneys. 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.