Getting injured on the job is complicated for many reasons. Though you may want to get back to work, your recovery prospects may be less-than optimistic. On top of this, if you file for workers’ compensation and your employer’s insurance tries to deny it, you are looking at facing a hearing to prove your injuries apply. Do not worry: if you are dealing with issues relating to workers’ comp, you have legal options. Read on to learn more about:
- Workers Compensation Benefits and Where They Come From;
- Filing a Claim and Knowing Exactly How Long You Have to File; and
- Handling Objections at Hearings with the Help of a Lawyer.
The Source of Workers’ Compensation and Associated Benefits
If you collect workers’ compensation, it comes from your employer’s insurance. Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Law requires most employers to have workers’ compensation insurance in case of injury on the job.
Maryland does not cover every injury that happens in a workplace, but it does allow for you to file a claim for a hearing if you believe the injury you suffered qualifies.
There are levels of disability benefits paid depending on the injury you sustained. For one, there is a line drawn between Total and Partial Disability. In total, you must have suffered an injury that prevents you from returning to work entirely, whereas partial benefits are for those who can still perform certain duties, but not all.
The state also makes a distinction between Temporary and Permanent disability. Using the same standards above, if someone suffers a major disability (loss of two body parts—either the same or different ones), they may qualify for permanent disability benefits. Temporary benefits are also self-explanatory; any disability that has a recovery period associated with it, such that the injured person can return to normal life after rehabilitation or rest.
You may also qualify for other types of benefits relating to your injuries. Medical benefits that reimburse you for any hospital stays, medicine, medical apparatuses, or prosthetics are awarded periodically and if proven to be linked to the injury or disease. Wage reimbursement and vocational rehabilitation benefits are also available if necessary too.
What to Expect from the Claim Filing Process
The claims process is straightforward but does require some specific steps on your part if you are the injured party. It is important you first tell your employer about your injury within 10 days of its occurrence—not necessarily that you’re filing, but that it happened. After all, if you are filing a claim, their insurance is the one that will ultimately pay for it.
However, if your relative is the one who suffered the injury and died as a result, you have 30 days to inform their employer.
Developing a disease through a workplace has a longer notification period that lasts a year after discovering the disease. This also applies if your family member dies of a disease, and only upon death do you discover it. There are varying circumstances regarding disease-related workers’ compensation cases. Sometimes, diseases are more imminent, but sometimes they take a while to make themselves known. Though there is a two-year period of notification for occupational diseases, some diseases that take longer to find may not qualify under workers’ compensation. A popular example of this is mesothelioma, which may occur because of exposure to asbestos. Though this exposure may happen while working, mesothelioma has a long latency period that leads to a diagnosis outside the period of your employment.
You have the choice to inform your employer orally or in writing of your intention to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you proceed with the written route, you need to provide a few pieces of information. First, you must file the Employee Claim Form either online or by requesting a hard copy. You should also go see a doctor and obtain a physician’s report after sustaining an injury for further proof.
On top of informing your employer of the initial accident, you have a certain amount of time depending on the accident to file the proper forms. In the case of injuries suffered on the job, you have 60 days to file your claim; for death, you must file within 18 months. As stated above, there is a two-year filing limitation on diseases, but if you specifically suffered from a pulmonary dust disease (such as pneumoconiosis), you have three years from its discovery to file your claim.
When your employer and their insurance provider receive this, they have the option to review and contest anything regarding the claim and its details. You may end up going to a hearing if your employer chooses to object, but fear not: the help and representation of a personal injury lawyer is not far out of reach.
Handling Objections with a Personal Injury Lawyer at Your Side
You may have put in your years, so-to-speak, at your company: came to find it a second home, developed close relationships with your coworkers and supervisors alike. However, this does not mean they will pay just any workers’ comp claim.
Your employer’s insurer may take steps to deny you any benefits from an injury upon the submission of a claim, but you have the right to take these to hearing if you deserve a settlement. These take place in front of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission after filing a request for a hearing.
You should have a lawyer present with you at this hearing to make sure the presiding commissioner hears your side of the story. In general, with all the complexities and nuances that come with workers’ comp disputes, reaching out for legal counsel can help your case immensely. On a personal level, you should not have to deal with complications from injuries and planning for a legal fight.
If you are looking for effective, reliable, and compassionate legal representation, contact our offices for a free initial consultation. Our attorneys are dedicated to getting you the best settlement to make up for your injuries or loss. Need to fight for some relief? Give us a call today?