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Top Eleven Things You Need To Know About Workers’ Compensation Claims In Maryland

Workers’ Compensation claims in Maryland can be the some of the most complex claims injury claims to pursue. They sometimes take years to resolve and often result in multiple hearings for claimants and employers alike. Every week injured workers’ call us with questions about whether they can pursue a claim for Workers’ Compensation. Below is a list of answers to the top eleven general questions we get asked about pursuing such a claim. Please note: the following is not legal advice but simply general information on the process itself. For specific legal advice or answers to how these rules may affect your specific case, please call us. This information is only meant to better educate the general public.

  1. 1. Just because an injury occurs while you are working does NOT mean that you necessarily entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Only an “employee” who has suffered from an “accidental injury” or “occupational disease” arising out of (or in the course of) employment may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Maryland. The definition of what constitutes an “employee,” an “accident injury,” or an “occupational disease,” is sometimes subject to litigation. For example, an independent contractor is not usually entitled to benefits. However, someone who is employed as an “independent contractor,” may be entitled to benefits as an employee if they are not truly an independent contractor. The law looks to various factors in order to make this determination and therefore is often wise to consult with a lawyer if you have any doubt as to whether you are an employee or a contractor.
  1. 2. You do NOT need an attorney to pursue your claim. However, we would strongly encourage laypersons to at least consult with an experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorney. Pursuing a claim for benefits can sometimes be riddled with red tape and obstacles.
  1. 3. You cannot typically sue your employer for injuries sustained in the course of your employment and simultaneously maintain an action for Worker’s Compensation to obtain benefits from the State. In most cases, if you are injured at work, a claim for workers’ compensation is sole remedy available to pursue payment of medical expenses, wages, and compensation for permanent injuries. There may be occasional exceptions to this general rule, under certain circumstances. For example, where a co-employee is negligent, a worker may be able to maintain an action directly against the co-employee, which will often be insured by the employer. Additionally, it may be possible to maintain a claim related to products liability or premises liability depending on the cause and manner of the injury and the related negligence.
  1. 4. Do NOT simply assume that your employer and their insurance company is going to look out for your best interests. While some employers take care of their own employees, usually the employer will have an insurer who will make most of the decisions regarding whether to pay your claim or deny it. The insurer often has different or competing interests than the employer.  For example, your employer’s insurer typically has an attorney to advise them on all legal matters that arise pertaining to claims against the employer. This attorney may make certain recommendations to the insurer such as whether to pay a claim or deny it based on the evidence available. All of these forces working together, (employer, insurer, employer’s counsel) may result in you being forced to contend against a team of experienced claim handlers in order to get what’s fair.
  1. 5. You have a responsibility to make sure that your employer is properly notified of your claim and/or that your claim is filed with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission within the statutory deadlines. Although, you have most likely notified your employer of your injury and completed a first report of injury, it is imperative that you protect yourself and file a claim with the Commission within these deadlines. Failure to do so may bar your claim in the future.
  1. 6. It is important to understand the difference between a claim with your employer’s insurance carrier and a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. These are not the same. When a worker becomes injured, the employer may sometimes file a report of injury to the Workers’ Compensation Commission. However, not all employers do this and some of them don’t do it in a timely fashion. If a first report of injury is completed and filed by your employer, the insurance carrier may establish a claim on your behalf with the Maryland Workers Compensation. However, they may also fail to do this. It is the Workers’ responsibility to see that this is done in a timely fashion.
  1. 7. Many workers’ compensation claims come with delays. Payment for lost wages (temporary total benefits) can be delayed due lack of medical documentation. Medical treatment can be delayed or denied due to the lack of approval on behalf of an insurance carrier for the employer.  If a doctor is orders an expensive test or procedure, prior authorization may be required from the insurance carrier prior to permitting the same. Failure to obtain this authorization may result in the insurance carrier refusing to pay for it. In these cases, the medical treatment facility will not schedule an appointment or provide the recommended treatment and it may be necessary to seek a hearing with the Workers Compensation Commission to get the treatment approved with the consent of the insurance company.
  1. 8. Hearings require certain evidentiary procedures, which may not be easily understood by laypersons. An experienced lawyer will help you stand on more equal footing against the employer at any such hearings.
  1. 9. Wages are determined by a wage statement that is provided by your employer. Under the current rule and regulations of the Commission, these wage statements are composed of the average of the wages the employee was earning in the 14 weeks prior to the accidental injury. If an employee has been employed for less than 14 weeks, the period of employment and wages earned are to be reflected on the wage statement.
  1. 10. All medical bills are subject to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation “Fee Schedule.” What do this mean to an injured worker? This means if a physician accepts a patient as a “workers comp” patient, they are required to accept the amounts for under the approved fee schedule. After payment under the fee schedule is made, the medical provider must write off the remaining balance. Providers are not allowed to balance bill patients for services after receiving payment in this manner.
  1. 11. In Maryland, an injured worker is not entitled to “pain and suffering” in the same manner as with most other Maryland tort claims. However, they may be entitled to compensation based on any permanent disabilities or loss of use or function of certain parts of their body. The percentage of permanent partial disability is determined based on ratings by medical doctors pursuant to American Medical Association guidelines. There are a number of doctors in the state that are qualified to evaluate you and determine how much permanency sustained as the result of an accident. This is to say nothing of extreme injury cases where the claimant is not partially disabled but totally disabled. The Maryland Compensation laws provide different rates of compensation for individuals that are partially disabled or totally disabled. You should consult with a lawyer to discuss your specific disability percentage.

It is our belief that Maryland Workers’ Compensation claims are complex legal matters that require a great attention to detail. Each case has its own unique facts and circumstances that vary the laws application.  Through our experience, we have found that many claims require not only legal representation, but an aggressive and competent legal representation in order to get what’s fair. If you have been involved in a serious work related injury, contact our attorneys today for a free legal consultation. We want to help you get the help you need.

Please note: the following is not legal advice. Do not assume the facts herein are applicable to your case without talking to a lawyer. Each case is unique and results depend on a variety of factors. For more information see the full disclaimer below the article.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

Kelly Kess Malone
Kelly Kess Malone
15:50 20 Nov 18
Very helpful paralegals and attorney assistants. Also informative on various types of cases. Reasonably priced for the work that they provide.
Brittany Peterson
Brittany Peterson
08:19 17 Nov 18
Had a very awesome experience fast settlements... Communication was a A+ ...Strongly recommend Mr.Katz. !!! Ms. Robin made me felt like family was always there when i needed her and when i had a question.
Yarnell Goodwin
Yarnell Goodwin
23:38 15 Nov 18
Got a little more settlement money than expected. Was provided great service and prompt responses. I greatly appreciate it!
Ashley Poole
Ashley Poole
01:05 08 Nov 18
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff are highly recommend. Customer Service was impeccable. Every phone call and email was responded to in a timely manner. Natalie Ulrich was very professional, helpful and thorough every step of the way, which resulted in a stress free experience. I will recommend this law firm to family and friends!
Tania Jefferson
Tania Jefferson
17:51 06 Nov 18
Customer service was A+. All questions were answered promptly and information was shared appropriately. Concerns were addressed and I was made aware of all updates on my case. I would whole heartedly recommend this firm.
edward Robinson
edward Robinson
03:00 06 Nov 18
I highly recommend Mr. Katz and his staff. They were friendly, compassionate and really showed they had their clients best interest at heart. There was never a time you called them they didn't respond or returned your calls and answer your questions.They took the worry, and stress and turn it into reassurance. They were diligent and just down right professional. My wife and I really thank God for allowing us to cross paths on a professional business experience. Ms. Rebecca Slatery is the most courteous, compassionate soul. We wish you all peace, love and blessings. Thank you for your service.
J JR
J JR
20:11 31 Oct 18
I decided to use this firm again for an accident I was involved in. As always they were professional and caring. Rebecca slattery was the paralegal assigned to my case and she was professional and kept me up to date with everything. I would recommend this firm to friends and family!
Cedric Jones
Cedric Jones
19:04 23 Oct 18
Erica Z is amazing with keeping you to date and staying communication with you during the entire process. Meghan Young was a wonderful lawyer made me feel extremely comfortable in the courtroom and she also fights for the best possible outcome for you..GREAT LAW FIRM
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
16:44 23 Oct 18
It was a great experience being taken care of by Rebecca Slattery and Meghan Young, they helped me resolve my case and were very courteous and professional. Highly recommend working with this law firm
Soun Gil
Soun Gil
21:35 17 Oct 18
Ms. Park helped me out through my whole accident process. She took her time with me and made sure I understood everything. I would recommend to her all of my friends if they were to get into any accident.
Yejin Chung
Yejin Chung
15:40 12 Oct 18
I highly recommend. My family’s experience with this office was great. Christina Franetovich was very helpful throughout the whole process, which made this experience less stressful. She responded to my questions immediately and made sure that I understood everything.
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
UniversalSniping
UniversalSniping
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
TheOfficalCeeandDee
TheOfficalCeeandDee
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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