Workers’ Comp Injury In Maryland? Claim What’s Yours
Are you feeling conflicted or confused about a Maryland or Baltimore work-related injury or illness? Could this injury end your career? Have you filed for workers’ compensation benefits? Are you worried your citizenship status may preclude you from making a workers’ compensation claim? You need Bob Katz Law and his personal injury attorneys in Maryland. They know how to navigate the workers’ compensation claim process. You can’t afford to wait.
Call Bob Katz Law today to discuss your options: 410-576-4287.
How Can a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help You?
If you have been injured on the job, it is important that you consult with a Maryland workers’ compensation attorney. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that each year, almost 3 million persons are injured on the job. Over 50 percent of these injuries are serious enough that they require the employee to take time off from work or restrict their work duties.
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you must:
- Be an employee of an eligible employer.
- Have suffered an injury that arose out of or in the course of your employment. This means that the injury occurred while you were working on duties that were part of your job.
- If the injury is an illness, it must be an “occupational illness.” This means that the illness must be caused by the nature of the job.
If you meet the above criteria, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, including:
- Reimbursement for lost wages
- Temporary total or partial disability benefits
- Permanent total or partial disability benefits
- Medical and hospitalization expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
Workplace injuries in Maryland fall into four classifications: temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability, and permanent partial disability. Most injuries fall into the following classifications:
Some of the most frequent injuries are:
- Slip and fall
- Being hit by a falling object
- Machine entanglement
- Injuries resulting in amputation
- Vehicle accidents
- Injuries from repetitive motion
- Injuries caused by co-workers
Workers’ Compensation Eligibility in Maryland: A Three-Step Test
One of the most common questions that we receive from injured workers regards whether or not they are eligible for workers’ compensation. Although eligibility questions can involve complicated details, eligibility can be thought of generally as a three-step test. If each of the steps is satisfied, it is likely that you are eligible.
- Step 1: Your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance. In Maryland, this step is generally satisfied because all employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance from a licensed insurance company. Failure to obtain workers’ compensation is a criminal offense.
- Step 2: You must be a qualifying employee. Maryland workers’ compensation law only protects employees. Independent contractors are not covered and are generally not eligible for workers’ compensation. In determining whether a relationship is an employer-employee relationship or an independent contractor relationship, the Maryland Department of Labor and Maryland Courts will look at the “economic reality” of the employment relationship. A signed agreement stating that the employee is an independent contractor is not, by itself, sufficient to make an employee an independent contractor. Determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor can be one of the most complex parts of the workers’ compensation process.
- Step 3: The injury must be work-related. To be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, an injury must “arise out of the employment.” This means that the injury must be 1) caused by a job-related task or requirement or 2) caused or contributed to by an event or exposure in the workplace environment.
What If My Employer Has Denied My Claim?
Employers may deny a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The most common reasons for this are that the employer believes the worker is an independent contractor or that the injury did not arise from the employment.
If an employer denies benefits, the employee has the right to a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission. This includes the right to be represented by a Maryland workers’ compensation attorney at the hearing. An attorney will be able to identify the best arguments for eligibility and apply Maryland law to the specific facts of your case.
Even with the best Baltimore workplace safety practices and the most careful employees, accidents still happen. That’s why employers are legally required to provide workers’ compensation insurance. If you suffered an injury while on the job, you’re entitled to compensation. Most employees are eligible for benefits regardless of:
- Size of business
- Duration of employment
Workers’ compensation isn’t only for full-time salaried or hourly-paid employees. Most benefits cover most workers, including:
- Part-time employees
Workers’ Compensation Law & Insurance Companies
When an employee is injured on the job, the first step is filing a workers’ compensation claim. Although an attorney is not required for this step, it is encouraged. Filing paperwork incorrectly or not quickly enough can result in delay or denial of workers’ compensation benefits. A Maryland workers’ compensation attorney can help you file all of the necessary paperwork and help you throughout the workers’ compensation claim process, including taking your claim to court if that is necessary.
Many people believe that if they file a claim correctly, they will receive the compensation they deserve. However, this is often not the case. When the employee files a claim, the employer’s insurance company, not the employer or the Workers’ Compensation Commission, is the one who pays the claim. It is in the best interest of the insurance company to pay as little as possible.
If the insurance company disputes a claim, that claim will likely proceed to be heard by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. Although a Workers’ Compensation Commission hearing is less formal than a trial, the insurance company will have attorneys there to present their case in the best possible light. In order to receive the compensation you deserve, you should have a workers’ compensation attorney looking out for your best interests, too.
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Law & Preexisting Conditions
The presence of a preexisting condition can complicate a workers’ compensation case. In Maryland, the presence of a pre-existing condition does not bar a disabled or temporarily disabled employee from compensation. Rather, the compensation is reduced to reflect only the amount of the disability that results from a workplace injury.
In instances where an employee believes that their entire disability is the result of a workplace injury, an insurance company may argue that some of the disability is instead the result of a preexisting condition. This could result in the employee receiving less compensation than they deserve. A workers’ compensation attorney can help an injured employee make the best case that their disability is the result of a workplace injury.
Maryland law also provides that employees can recover workers’ compensation for a preexisting condition that was made worse because of job activities. Insurance companies are likely to deny these claims; however, a workers’ compensation attorney can help an injured employee to show that the preexisting condition was aggravated so that they can get the compensation that they deserve.
Claiming What You Are Due
Your employer must follow specific steps after an injury happens in the workplace. This is where it can get complicated for you. You can do all the right things, but your claim may still be denied. That’s why Bob Katz Law is available to step in at any point in your workers’ compensation claim process. Your attorney will be beside you to:
- Interpret your state’s benefit laws in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia
- Recommend reputable medical providers convenient for you
- Ensure the timely filing of mandatory claim forms that your employer might not readily tell you about
- Fight for your maximum rightful benefits
Read More About Workers Compensation Legal Topics: