There are several important deadlines for injured Maryland workers to be aware of. Missing these deadlines can mean a loss of benefits, so it is important to meet with a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer immediately after an accident to ensure that your rights are preserved.
Notification of Accident
Notice should be given to the employer as soon as practicable after an accident. The rules state the following deadlines:
- Accidental injury: 10 days after the accident, and 30 days after death. Notice should include the name and address of the employee, the time, place, nature and cause of the accident, and be signed.
- Occupational disease: written notice within one year after employee knows or should know he is suffering from an occupational disease, and within one year after death.
For accidental injuries, oral notice is legally sufficient. However, there are often disputes about whether proper notice was given, so the safest course is a certified letter, an e-mail from your personal account, or giving your employer a letter and having him sign and date a duplicate copy for your records.
If you had an accident or occupational disease and did not give notice, you might still have a claim. The Workers’ Compensation Commission always presumes that notice was given unless the employer can prove otherwise. Also, the employer and insurer must show that they were prejudiced by a lack of notice.
Filing a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Claim
- Accidental Injury: there is a “soft” deadline to file a claim within 60 days after an accident. Failure to meet this deadline does not typically bar a claim (though it could). More concerning is the absolute 2 year deadline—this means that a claim must be filed within 2 years of an accident, or it will be forever barred. Applications for death benefits, arising from an accidental injury, must be filed within 18 months of the date of death.
- Occupational Disease: most occupational disease cases must be filed within two years of the date of disablement or the date when the worker had actual knowledge that the disablement was caused by the job. If the worker died because of his injuries, the dependents must file a claim for death within two years of the death, in most cases.
Reopening Maryland Workers’ Compensation Claims
There are several reasons why a claim may need to be reopened. A claimant may seek additional compensation for “worsening” of his condition, or may require payment of additional injury-related medical expenses. For worsening claims, an application must be filed by the later of (1) five years of the date of accident/disablement, or (2) the last date payment was received for temporary or permanent disability.
Claims for payment of related medical expenses do not have a time limit—if the employer has an obligation to pay lifetime medical expenses, those claims can be opened at any time.
These deadlines are only general rules, and specific cases or application to your case may vary based on a number of factors. Indeed, calculation of these deadlines is sometimes subjective, so it is best to contact us as soon as possible after an injury to ensure that you preserve your rights. We’re here to help.