How to Claim Benefits for Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
Those who have been subject to a workplace injury are sometimes confused about what to do next. Depending upon the nature of the injury itself and extent thereof, employees should know in general that there may be various means of redressing your circumstances. You may even wish to consult an attorney in order to obtain a better idea of what you should do next. Not all situations are equal, and assuring that the law remains on your side will also mean that you enjoy access to any and all benefits associated therewith. Failure to collect your workers’ compensation benefits sufficiently may contribute to financial difficulty and deprive you of remuneration that your deserve.
Before you speak with an attorney or further investigate your rights appertaining to workplace injury and disability associated therewith, you should also be aware that only some kinds of injuries incur worker compensation benefits. If you injure yourself on account of job performance that is standardly operative (as if to say, simply by doing the same kinds of things you typically do), then said injury may not warrant workers’ compensation amid prior understanding of the basic risks associated therewith. On the other hand, accidents that occur on the job that are themselves incommensurate with the nature of your basic responsibilities may create financial responsibilities for your employer and insurer alike. As Maryland statute itself puts it, harm warranting workers’ compensation includes, “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.”
It’s also important to remember that only employees can seek workers’ compensation in Maryland, meaning that there must be a certain kind of official arrangement from the law’s perspective. If you are, for example, an independent contractor, you are not entitled to compensation that otherwise might be granted on account of injury.
It’s also true that relevant accidents must both arise out of employment and in the course of employment. That means that an accident must have occurred with respect to conditions that are themselves meaningfully associated with the nature of employment itself and otherwise occurred wherein the time, place, and circumstances associated with said injury were effectually work-related.
Finally, you should be sure that the incident in question actually qualifies as an accident. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act defines such accidents as events that are neither usual nor ordinary, instead occurring unexpectedly and resulting in unintended consequence.
Given the possibility of obtaining (where appropriate) temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, medical treatment or vocational rehabilitation, it’s important that you take the process seriously and learn as much as possible about what you’ll need to do in order to properly collect said benefits. Your rights thereto won’t count for much if you fail to follow a few simple steps.
How to File for Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
There are a handful of things you’ll need to do before receiving any compensation on account of your disability.
The first step is to report the injurious incident to your employer (and the proper department or individual, generally a manager or human resources representative). It’s generally a good idea to document this exchange, as well. If you delay in reporting the incident, there’s an increased risk that your claim may be denied.
Next, you should see a doctor of your choice. The doctor must then determine that you are unable to work at full capacity (or at all) on account of the work-related accident or occupational disease in question. In order that you remain in good standing, you should follow your doctor’s instructions, especially as they pertain to any treatment that may be essential to returning to prior working capacity. If and when your condition improves, your doctor will release you to work accordingly (or work more completely in the event of a partial disability).
You may also wish to be deliberate with respect to the nature of your communication with an employer. Given the legal requirements associated with receiving your benefits, it’s possible that any information you provide to your employer (especially that which is written or recorded) may be used in a bid to prevent your access to those benefits. Therefore, be careful with respect to what you say and how it might be otherwise construed. Before you engage in any expansive communication regarding the incident—e.g. beyond a very basic report—you may wish to quickly read up on the law or immediately consult an attorney in advance.
Finally, you should file a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. You should also do so as quickly as possible. While the statute of limitations for such a claim is two years from the date of the injury, there’s little reason to wait and risk any threat to your benefits.
At some point amid this process, consulting an attorney is virtually essential. Receiving sound legal advice will assure that you are less likely to render any comprising or mistaken statements to your employer, and it will aid in your attempt to file your claim in a timely and legitimate manner. Fortunately, according to workers’ compensation law, an attorney can only charge you a fee in the event he or she is successful in making your claim. Your odds of obtaining the maximum amount of financial reward via those benefits also improve with the help of legal advice.
From the date of your accident, you should also keep a close eye on your health condition and continue consulting a doctor if need be. Should any condition associated with your injury and disability actually worsen over time, you may be entitled to additional compensation. Sometimes a return to work can cause precisely such a situation depending upon your medical status.
Should your claim ever be denied or subject to dispute, you do have a right to a hearing in order that the matter be reviewed. That hearing would occur before the Workers’ Compensation Commission, and the help of an attorney may be advantageous.
Seek Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits with Legal Assistance
There’s never any shame in consulting an attorney, especially when important benefits and rights are on the table. An untimely injury can be costly, and having someone qualified on your side may be essential. If you’re in the Baltimore area, Ashcraft & Gerel, LLP have the pedigree and prowess to make a significant impact on behalf of your interests. If you wish to arrange an appointment, just fill out the online order form.