Workers’ compensation benefits are available to most employees in Maryland because the system exists to support workers financially until they can get back to work. Many employees take advantage of their benefits by filing a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (MD WCC). Every year, the agency receives around 22,400 claims for injuries, including the head, neck, spine, and knees. You might be surprised to learn that more than 21 percent of all claims are related to lower back injuries through accidents at work and repetitive strain injuries.
Filing a claim does not automatically mean you will start to receive benefits, as your employer and workers’ comp insurance company will investigate. They may uncover reasons to not approve your claim or offer lower benefits than what you deserve. When defenses are raised, it is important to have assistance from a Baltimore County workers’ compensation attorney. Some of the following concepts could harm your rights unless you have skilled legal help.
If you allow one of the statutory deadlines to pass with your workers’ comp claim, your employer may defend it due to expiration. There are three key time limits to note:
- You need to notify your employer about an accidental injury within 10 days after, and you have 1 year to report an occupational disease.
- The deadline to file Employee Claim Form C-1 is 60 days after the injury occurs, and you submit this document to MD WCC.
- If you eventually need to sue for a workers’ comp claim, the Maryland statute of limitations for these lawsuits is 2 years.
Injury is Not Work-Related
Maryland workers’ comp benefits only extend to medical conditions that occur because of accidents or factors in the workplace. An employer or insurance company may try to raise the defense that your injury was not work-related and within the scope of employment. However, your injuries will qualify if you were hurt at any time while you are performing job tasks.
Status as a Covered Employee
Subject to limited exceptions, all employees in Maryland are covered by workers’ comp laws if the employer has 1 or more workers. To avoid paying your claim, the employer might allege that you are not eligible because you are an independent contractor. This defense ties into the problem of misclassification of employees, which is unlawful.
Another Party is at Fault
Your employer could have a solid defense if a third party caused your injuries while you were working. Fortunately, this means you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover pain and suffering. Workers’ comp does not offer these damages.
A Maryland Workers’ Comp Lawyer Helps Overcome Challenges These are just a few of the more common defenses that employers and insurers use when denying workers’ comp benefits. Attorney Michael A. Freedman is prepared to fight to ensure you receive the benefits you are entitled to by law. Please call our offices at 410.363.6848 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Baltimore County, MD.