Workers' Compensation Hearings in Maryland
A work-related injury can be aggravating. Even a minor incident may leave you out of work for medical treatment and recovery. At a time when you’re dealing with pain and immobility issues, you’re also losing wages until you can return to your job. Maryland workers’ compensation law is intended to help you get back to work as soon as possible, so the system is a no-fault concept: You don’t have to prove your employer was responsible for the injury. You can prevail on a workers’ comp claim by showing that you were hurt while on the job, and sustained losses as a result. Under certain circumstances, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) will award sufficient benefits to compensate you for your losses until you return to work.
Other times, it may be necessary to attend a hearing before the WCC if there are disputed issues with your claim. A Maryland workers’ compensation attorney can assist you through the hearing process, which is relatively complex.
Common Reasons for WCC Hearings: A hearing may be scheduled by the WCC for many different reasons, but some of the more common situations on the employer’s side are:
- Your employer or insurance company is contesting liability based upon the facts you stated in your workers’ compensation claim;
- An employer or insurer may also dispute the injury itself, and whether you should receive compensation for it;
- Your employer may want to dispute whether the claim qualifies as a workers’ compensation case; or,
- An employer or workers’ comp insurer may not agree that lost wages are payable or may contest the reasonableness of your medical treatment.
If you have included certain information in your claim, a hearing may be scheduled to address these issues, such as:
- You are seeking medical treatment for your injuries;
- You are requesting compensation for a temporary or permanent disability; or,
- There are questions regarding the determination of rating for permanent disability.
Permanent disability ratings may be called into question where the injury will linger after an employee is cleared to go back to work or gone through rehabilitation. In a typical case, you would indicate one rating and the insurer will designate another – usually must lower – rating.
The WCC Hearing Proceedings: A WCC hearing is similar to a court proceeding, but is not so formal. There is no jury, but a commissioner hears the case. In general, you will be called to testify about the accident that resulted in your injuries, your course of medical treatment, and your current state of recovery. You’ll also be required to present medical records in order to establish your treatment, which may require testimony from an expert witness.
While it’s not necessary to retain a lawyer for your workers’ compensation hearing, you can see the advantages of having an experienced attorney to represent your interests. You risk being undercompensated for your work-related injury losses, or you may not recover any benefits at all. A skilled workers’ comp lawyer will consult with you to prepare you for your hearing, and fight for your rights throughout the process. If you’ve been injured on the job or are already pursing a workers’ compensation claim, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman for assistance with your case.
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