How to File a Workers' Compensation Claim in MD
If you are a worker who is injured on the job or sustains an illness or injury because of the work you do for your employer, you are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Maryland law.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurers sometimes deny workers’ compensation benefits to injured employees or pay them less than they deserve. When an employer or insurance company refuses to pay fair workers’ compensation benefits, an injured employee is usually required to file a workers’ compensation claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission is not always an easy process. One mistake could cause you to miss out on the benefits you’re entitled to. That’s why it is essential to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney by your side to help you through the claim process.
Below is a brief overview of what the workers’ compensation claim process looks like.
Steps to Take Immediately
When you are injured on the job or recognize you’ve suffered an injury or illness because of your work, there are steps you should immediately take to protect your legal rights and options and to give you the best chance at successfully claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
- Seek medical treatment. Prompt medical treatment is critical for your health and to establish your exact injuries or illness, and the course of treatment you will need to achieve maximum recovery.
- Report your injury to your employer. It is critical that you report your work-related injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible after an accident or as soon as you are aware of your injury or illness. If you wait too long to report your injury or illness to your employer, critical evidence for your claim may be lost. Your employer may try to use a long delay in reporting your claim as evidence that your injury or illness is not work-related or that you are not as seriously injured or ill as you claim to be.
- Take notes about your accident and get statements from anyone who witnessed your accident or injury. It can also be helpful to write out a statement describing your recollection of your accident or injury. You should also obtain statements from any eyewitnesses to your accident.
- File your claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. This is a critical step in pursuing a workers’ compensation claim. Many people believe that once they receive a claim number from their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer that they have a filed claim. However, an official workers’ compensation claim must be filed by an employee with the state commission.
Steps to Take as Your Claim Moves Forward
Once you have filed a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, there are further steps you should take to ensure that you have the best chance at a successful workers’ compensation claim.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. You should always follow all of your physician’s instructions. Not only will ignoring your treatment instructions impede your recovery, but failure to do so may allow your employer to claim that you were not seriously injured or that you have achieved maximum recovery from your injuries.
- Save all paperwork. It is also vital to keep all your paperwork, especially all your medical records and invoices. You should also be sure that you keep all the documents you receive from the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
- Stay off social media. If you are out of work due to your injuries or illness, you should avoid broadcasting your activities on social media. If you post about being active or traveling, your employer may point to these posts as evidence that you were not actually injured or that you have recovered from your injuries.
- Do not discuss your claim or injury with anyone other than your medical providers and your attorney. You should avoid speaking about your claim to anyone other than your medical providers and your legal counsel. Discussing your claim or injuries with others might allow your employer or its insurer to use those statements against you.
Be Prepared for a Denied Claim
Unfortunately, in cases where the facts are not entirely clear that your injury or illness is work-related, it is possible that the Workers’ Compensation Commission denies your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. If the commission denies your claim, don’t despair. You have options to pursue it further.
First, within 15 days of the denial of your claim, you can request that the commissioner who denied your claim reconsider the decision. Typically, you are required to submit additional information in support of a request for reconsideration or identify material evidence previously submitted to the commissioner that you believe was not considered by the commissioner in his or her initial decision. However, reconsideration is only rarely granted.
In addition to or as an alternative to a request for consideration, you can also appeal a denial of a workers’ compensation claim to the trial courts. The trial court will ultimately render a judgment on your claim. If you file both a request for reconsideration by the commission and a complaint in the trial court, the trial court’s ruling takes precedence over any reconsidered decision by the commissioner. If the trial court enters an adverse judgment against you, you have a right of appeal to the Maryland appellate courts.
Let Our Charles County Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help
If you’ve had a workers’ compensation claim denied by your employer, you need an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you through the complex process of pursuing a workers’ compensation claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission or with the courts.
You have a limited time in which to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits with the Commission, so don’t delay contacting our Charles County worker’s compensation lawyer.