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Maryland Workers' Compensation Lawyers
In Maryland, work-injury cases and claims are handled by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. All employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, not all injuries are covered. In Maryland, your injury must be an “accidental personal injury” that arises “out of and in the course of employment.” In other words, you must be injured while performing your job.
Types of injuries that may be covered include pre-existing conditions that are worsened, and occupational diseases, which are illnesses that are caused by the nature your work. For example, a skin disease caused by exposure to chemicals may be covered even though it’s not necessarily an “accidental injury.” Repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel from excessive typing, may fall into this category.
Maryland has a no-fault system, meaning that the injury doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault. Even if it’s your fault that you got hurt, it doesn’t matter. In most cases, you cannot sue your employer for negligence.
In Maryland, you may receive the following benefits if you suffer a work injury:
- Medical. All reasonable medical treatment required by your injury should be covered in full, for as long as you need treatment. There are no co-pays or monetary limits. In Maryland, workers have the freedom to choose the doctor who treats their injury.
- Temporary Total Disability. You may receive these benefits if you are totally disabled by your injury and unable to work at all while recovering. The amount is usually 2/3 of your average weekly wage. These benefits continue until you are able to return to work or reach “maximum medical improvement” (your doctor determines that you have healed as much as you are going to). There is no time limit on these benefits.
- Temporary Partial Disability. If you are not completely disabled by your injury, you may receive these benefits while your injury is healing. These usually apply when the employee can go back to work but only in a limited capacity (light duty or part time). The amount of benefits is equal to 50% of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and your average weekly wage after the injury. These benefits will continue until you recover, or until your doctor determines that you are at maximum medical improvement.
- Permanent Total Disability. For serious injuries, such as the loss of a limb, you are entitled to receive benefits in the amount of 2/3 of your average weekly wage. Cost-of-living increases are available. These benefits may continue for the rest of the injured worker’s life.
- Permanent Partial Disability. A permanent disability may entitle you to benefits as well. The amount and duration of these benefits is based on a formula that includes the type of injury as well as the severity of the injury, which is usually determined by your doctor.
Injured workers in Maryland also may receive job counseling and retraining.
If you suffer an injury caused by your job, we recommend that you hire an attorney who handles these types of cases exclusively. We also recommend finding an attorney with a track record of success in representing injured workers. Workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if you get money. If you receive no benefits, you do not have to pay your attorney. Attorney fees in Maryland are based on a set schedule and must be approved by the commission before they are paid. Because there is no hourly fee, it makes sense to go with the very best attorney you can find.
It’s important to notify your employer as soon as possible after a work-related injury. Specifically, Maryland law requires that you notify your employer within 10 days, and the Commission within 60 days. However, failure to give notice can be excused as long as the employer or insurance company’s case is not harmed.
If you need to file a claim with the Commission because you have been denied benefits or disagree with the benefits you are receiving, the statute of limitations (deadline) is two years from the date of injury. If you are reopening a case for monetary benefits, the deadline is five years from the date of your last payment.
In Maryland, a workers’ compensation claim is not a lawsuit; it’s more like a claim for health insurance. Your lawyer will deal directly with the insurance company, not your employer. But workers’ compensation claims are different in that quick action can make a difference.
If you are injured on the job, we recommend consulting with an attorney. At the very least, this will give you an idea of the benefits process. Hiring an attorney can give you peace of mind. And in the event your benefits are denied or there is some type of dispute, you can be confident that you are doing everything you can to get the benefits you’re entitled to.
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