Maryland Workers’ Compensation FAQ
Most Maryland workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are hurt on the job or diagnosed with an occupational illness. Workers’ compensation provides payment of medical expenses, partial wage replacement, and disability benefits for eligible employees.
Securing maximum workers’ compensation benefits can be critical to keep families afloat while an individual is out of work. But the process of applying for and obtaining benefits can be filled with obstacles. Knowing what to do from the very beginning can improve your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.
When you have questions, Trollinger Law LLC has answers. Check out the following Maryland workers’ compensation FAQ or call us today for a free consultation.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Maryland?
Deadlines are important throughout the workers’ compensation process. You must let your employer know as soon as possible if you are hurt on the job. You should do this in writing and include your name, address, date of injury and a short account of what happened. An employer usually has their own internal work injury or incident reports available when one of their employees is hurt on the job.
An employer must file a report with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission within 10 days after they have knowledge of a work injury causing three or more days of missed time from work or disability. This is called the Employer’s First Report.
You must file your own report with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission if you are seeking any benefits from your workers’ compensation claim (e.g., lost wages, medical bill payment, mileage, or permanent partial/total disability benefits). This form can be found on the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission website. This is called an Employee Claim Form or C-1. This can be done online and in nearly every case, it must be done within two years of your injury or you will be barred from all benefits.
If you filed the claim, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will notify your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer that you are seeking benefits. Your employer or its insurer will then investigate your claim and determine that your injury or illness should be compensated. If there are disputes (or “issues”) with the claim, the insurer will file what are called “contesting issues” and it will be set in for a hearing in front of a commissioner.
Because the claims process is so document-sensitive, it’s a good idea to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney review your claim and prepare your forms to prevent errors from delaying your benefits.
How Long Will My Claim Take to Process?
Many people ask how long their workers’ comp claim will take. After you file a claim for a work injury or occupational illness, your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer has 21 days to either accept your claim or file contesting issues, which will lead to the claim being filed with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. Within 30 days of your claim being filed with the commission, a commissioner will either issue an award or schedule your claim for a hearing if your employer challenged the claim.
What Is Involved in a Workers’ Comp Hearing?
A workers’ compensation hearing operates much like a trial. Both you (and your lawyer, if you hire one) and your employer (and its insurer) will be present. During the hearing, all parties may review each other’s evidence and cross-examine witnesses. The commissioner may also ask questions in order to reach a resolution.
Can I Hire My Own Work Injury Doctor?
Yes. In Maryland, you can choose to be treated by any physician you wish. All reasonable and necessary treatments must be covered by your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer.
However, when a doctor accepts a patient for a workers’ compensation injury or illness, the payment he or she can receive is established in a fee schedule set by the state. The provider can only receive the payment listed on the fee schedule and may not bill the patient for the difference of his or her usual and customary fee.
How Are Workers’ Compensation Payments Determined?
If you receive temporary total disability (TTD) payments while receiving workers’ compensation, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, calculated over the 14-week period prior to your injury. However, your pay cannot exceed 100 percent of the average weekly wage in Maryland, calculated annually by the state.
If you can return to work, but your injuries prevent you from earning your pre-accident level of income, you are entitled to receive 50 percent of the difference between your average weekly wage and your current wage-earning capacity, capped at 50 percent of the state average weekly wage. This is called temporary partial disability (TPD).
Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are paid out according to a schedule set forth by the state, which lists the payment amounts based on the type of disability. Workers who are permanently and totally disabled (PTD) are also entitled to indefinite two-thirds wage replacement, subject to reduction for any Social Security disability payments.
Can I Work a Second Job While Receiving Workers’ Compensation?
No. If you take a second job while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, your employer may determine that you have the capacity to return to your first job and terminate your benefits.
What Should I Do If My Claim Has Been Denied?
If your claim for benefits is denied by the insurance company, you may request a hearing before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission but only after an Employee’s First Report is filed. Because hearings have formal procedures that resemble trials, including applying the Maryland rules of evidence, you’d be well advised to work with a workers’ compensation attorney rather than try to handle the matter yourself.
How to Appeal Workers’ Comp Claims
There are several levels of appeal if you are denied workers’ compensation benefits. If the insurance company denies your claim but you have not yet had a hearing, you can request a hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner. If, after a hearing, you are dissatisfied with the commissioner’s decision, you may request reconsideration or rehearing of the decision, which is usually only granted for newly discovered evidence that could not have been obtained prior to the original hearing or when the commissioner makes a clear error of law.
Following a request for reconsideration/rehearing or as an alternative to such a request, you may decide to appeal an adverse claim decision to the circuit court in Maryland by filing a complaint. If the circuit court enters a ruling against you, you will need to follow the appellate system of the Maryland courts.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for My Claim?
You are not required to hire an attorney to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you are having trouble getting anything involving your claim approved by the adjuster with the insurance company or your employer, or if you are scheduled for a hearing before a workers’ compensation commissioner, you are highly encouraged to seek out legal representation. Oftentimes there are unreasonable delays when injured workers do not receive calls back from the adjuster. This is because they do not fear an injured worker without an attorney, because that employee will have less likelihood of success holding them accountable for their actions at a hearing.
Why Should I Choose Trollinger Law to Help Me?
At Trollinger Law LLC, you’ll benefit from the top-quality experience and legal resources associated with a big firm and the personalized attention you’d expect from a small firm. Waldorf workers’ compensation attorney Matt Trollinger and his legal team understand how important it is to receive maximum benefits if you’ve suffered a workplace injury. We know that you deserve respect and dignity as well. You can count on our legal team to push for the best possible resolution for your case.
Learn more about what we can do for you in a free consultation. Call or contact us today.