If you suffer work-related injuries, Maryland workers’ compensation laws may allow you to take action against your employer. These laws provide certain benefits intended to assist with your recovery and return to work. The workers’ comp system is somewhat complicated, but here are the basic details you need to know if you may have a claim.
How does workers’ comp work in Maryland? At one time, an employee who was hurt while on the job would have to sue his or her employer in order to recover for losses due to injury.
This system was inefficient and didn’t properly protect employees, because the legal requirement of negligence is difficult to prove; plus, litigation is time-consuming and expensive. States started passing workers’ compensation laws as a solution to the problem, to provide a sort of insurance that employers must obtain to safeguard employees.
Do I have a claim? The purpose behind Maryland workers’ compensation system is to return an employee to work as soon as possible after recovery, so there is a low standard of proof for claims. You do not need to prove negligence or fault in order to establish that you are entitled to benefits. The only issues involved in a workers’ comp case are:
· Jurisdiction: Your employer was doing business in the state of Maryland;
· Employment: You are a true employee, as opposed to an independent contractor;
· Injuries: Your injuries occurred in connection with job-related duties;
· Causation: Your injuries were caused by the accident instead of some other condition; and,
· Notice: You must file a claim within the time period required by law.
How can I file a claim for workers’ compensation? Reporting an injury to your employer is not the same thing as filing a workers’ comp claim. It’s necessary to complete the required paperwork with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission within two years of the accident to obtain benefits under the law. You can file by obtaining the claim form online or a paper form from the MWCC.
Once you file your claim, your paperwork is typically processed within 2-3 business days. If your claim is approved, an order is issued for your employer to pay the benefits as directed by the MWCC.
What can I expect for workers’ compensation benefits? Under workers’ comp law in Maryland you may be able to recover for:
· Medical care, including surgery, visits to doctors and specialists, physical therapy and medications;
· Some of your lost wages;
· Job training, if you are unable to perform tasks as you could before the incident; and,
· Compensation for permanent injuries and chronic conditions.
Can I sue my employer in addition to filing for workers’ compensation? In most cases, you cannot sue your employer if you also file a claim for workers’ compensation. The only exception would be if your employer intentionally caused the harm or engaged in certain wrongful conduct.
Do I need a workers’ compensation lawyer?
You are not required to hire an attorney to handle your claim, but retaining legal counsel will help ensure full protection of your rights. Maryland workers’ comp lawyers have expertise in the relevant laws, and experience in dealing with the MWCC and employers. If you suffered injuries while on the job, please contact personal injury attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss the specifics of your case.
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