Mounting Medical Bills
A work-related injury can leave you with huge medical bills. And those injuries can render you unable to work, resulting in lost wages at the worst possible time. Luckily, Maryland, like other states, has workers' compensation laws in place to make up for those losses.
Most workers' compensation claims involve a workplace accident resulting in a compensable injury. But repetitive stress injuries can be just as debilitating. Psychological injury might also be claimed if caused by a physical accident or a hazardous workplace environment. A trusted workers' compensation lawyer can assist you in seeking the benefits you deserve when you've sustained any injuries at work.
Liability in Maryland Workers' Compensation Claims
In Maryland, you can qualify for workers' compensation regardless of who was liable for your accident or injury. Your injury could be the result of your employer's negligence, the negligence of a co-worker, your own negligence, or simply an act of nature. It does not matter. As long as you were injured while working on the job, you can still file for benefits under Maryland workers' compensation laws.
Maryland Workers' Compensation Benefits
Maryland awards benefits based on who or what caused your accidents, where the accident occurred, and how serious your injuries are. Common benefits awarded in Maryland workers' compensation claims are partial disability benefits, total permanent disability benefits, lost wage benefits, medical benefits, and vocational rehab benefits. If an on-the-job accident claimed someone's life, their estate may be able to obtain death benefits, funeral benefits, and survivor benefits.
First Steps After Your Injury
If you have sustained an injury at work, the first thing you need to do is notify your employer. Your supervisor should then put together a report of the accident. This is an important step because it provides documentation that you were injured. You can then reference that document in your workers' compensation case. But make sure you report your injury as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your employer may question the accuracy of your report, and he/she may demand details about the injury that you no longer remember. This would allow your employer to shed doubt about your claim during court proceedings. A Worker's Compensation claim in Maryland should be filed within sixty days of the accident, but must be filed within two years.
If Your Employer Won't File a Report
While your employer is required to create a report of your accident, he/she may fail to do so. In that case, I recommend you send a letter to your supervisor confirming that your reported the accident to him/her. Include the date and approximate time of the incident in your message, and save a copy of the letter for your records. Your letter will provide evidence that you reported the accident, and your supervisor will be hard-pressed to stall any longer.
Your employer's report is only the first step, however. It is your responsibility to actually file your claim with the Workers' Compensation Commission. This is the government agency that oversees all workers' compensation matters in the state of Maryland. You will need to fill out Employee Claim Form C-1. Read the Employee Claim C-1 Form Instructions. Then proceed with the online Workers' Compensation Claim Form, or call 410-864-5100 to request a paper form that you can mail to:Workers' Compensation Commission: 10 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. When you file a claim with the Workers' Compensation Commission Board, they will notify your employer, as well as your employer's insurance companies, about your claim.
Can Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim Put Your Job at Risk?
Individuals who have been injured at work often fear that filing a Workers' Compensation claim could put their jobs in jeopordy. While this fear is understandable, the State of Maryland offers strong protections from hostile employers who would retailiate against injured workers entitled to compensation.
Maryland law stipulates that an employer cannot discharge an employee solely because he or she filed a claim for Workers' Compensation. However, an employer can terminate an injured worker's employment if the injury causes excessive absenteeism or renders that employee permanently unable to perform the job—based on the ruling in Kern vs. South Baltimore General Hospital in 1986 (66 Md. App. 441, 504A.2d 1154 (1986)).
Unfortunately, this situation is common. I have had some clients over the years who did lose their job after filing a Workers' Compensation claim. Mind you, this was not due to the actual filing of the claim but rather their inability to work for a substantial period of time as they recovered from their injuries. Eventually, their employers had to replace them. Of course, this would have happened regardless of whether they had filed Workers' Compensation claims or not. You can rest assured that filing a claim will have no impact on your job security. On the contrary, filing a claim will protect your legal rights and financial interests. So don't hesitate to file a worker’s compensation claim if you've been injured on the job.
Contact a Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today
Don't be surprised if your employer tries to minimize or even deny the legitimacy of your claim. Workers' compensation claims cost employers a lot of money, and they are likely to fight back. You need an experienced Maryland workers' compensation lawyer to aggressively defend your rights. I understand how devastating injuries can be, and I am dedicated to helping you get the workers' compensation benefits you deserve. I also handle workers' compensation appeals for clients who have been previously denied benefits.
I serve clients all over Maryland and Washington D.C., including Annapolis, Bowie, Essex, Gaithersburg, Glen Burnie, Hyattsville, Frederick, Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, Clinton, Landover, Laurel, College Park, Baltimore, and Wheaton. And I maintain multiple offices to make it easier for you to get legal help when you're injured. Weekend appointments are also available.