Workers Compensation Lawyers
Work-related injuries can impact every facet of your life. They come from nowhere, making it difficult, if not impossible, to deal with all the issues personal injuries bring with them. The Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at Ingerman & Horwitz can help you get your finances back on track. Contact a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer to help with your claim and get back to the business of healing.
No one wants to think about getting injured. You’ve probably never considered what you would do if you were suddenly unable to work. For many people, it isn’t just the time that they are away from their job that causes a financial burden. It’s also the influx of medical bills you’re facing for getting your injury treated. If your injury is severe, you might be unable to work for a long time. Once the financial burden takes hold, the emotional burden is soon to follow.
Injured employees often rely on workers’ compensation insurance to take care of their financial needs. If your employer’s insurance company isn’t cooperating, don’t assume they are right. Almost every employee who gets hurt on the job or while acting on the part of their employer has the right to financial compensation. If you get turned down, a workers’ compensation attorney from Ingerman & Horwitz can help.
Some people work in high-risk environments where accidents occur frequently. Construction jobs often pose a risk of falls or injuries from using heavy equipment. But people in almost any setting get injured at work. They might have joint injuries from repeated use. They might develop respiratory illnesses due to working with toxic chemicals. Back strains often occur with heavy lifting. Even sitting at a desk every day poses the risk of getting strained muscles. Some other ways that people get injured include:
- Ladder fall accidents
- Defective or improper equipment
- Fires or explosions
- Exposure to hazardous materials
- Slippery floors
- Working with heavy equipment
- Items falling from overloaded shelves
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation is insurance that your employer takes out to protect their employees. Nearly every employer must have workers’ comp insurance by law. When you get injured at work, you will file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits. There are two types of incidents you can file a claim for, and those are Accident or Occupational.
Accident claims are for unexpected events on-the-job that lead to injuries. If you fall, a fire breaks out, or you dropped something heavy on your foot, your injuries result from an event that clearly caused the injury.
Occupational claims are the opposite of accident claims. Occupational injuries occur over time with repeated actions or exposure.
In either case, if the injury is work-related, the process is similar. You fill out a claim with your employer. If you hire a workers’ compensation lawyer, they will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Negotiating on your own might result in you not getting a fair settlement or enough money to pay your medical bills.
Workers’ Compensation Injuries in Maryland
Workers’ compensation law differs somewhat among states. In Maryland, not all injuries that occur on the job are covered. Maryland law states that “Accidental personal injury must arise out of and in the course of employment.” The best way to determine if workers’ comp will cover your injuries is by seeing a Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer.
If your injury occurred while you are at work but not while you were following your normal course of work, you might not qualify for workers’ compensation. For example, if you were at lunch, taking a break, or you failed to follow the company’s safety protocols, your injuries might not be considered ‘working’ injuries.
Get the Most from Your Settlement
Ideally, you will submit a workers’ comp claim, the insurance company will pay, and you’ll get the benefits you need to pay your expenses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go that way. Your benefits should cover your injuries and short-term or long-term treatment. More severe injuries usually require longer treatment and more time off from work.
An experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorney knows what to expect for your injuries. They can explain the process for filing your claim and for what happens afterward. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you might require temporary, long-term, or wage reimbursement benefits.
If your injuries only cause you to miss work for fourteen days or more, you might receive Temporary Total Disability benefits. These benefits include money for your medical bills and, potentially, compensation for the time you miss from work. If your injury doesn’t require a full fourteen days to heal, you might only receive compensation for your medical expenses.
Once you receive temporary benefits, they will end in one of two ways. One way is when you reach the point that you can return to work in some capacity. The second is when a medical professional determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement. That doesn’t mean that you have returned to your pre-injury condition; only that treatment will no longer be beneficial.
Severe injuries and occupational disease sometimes require indefinite medical treatment. When that happens, workers’ compensation might cover any of the following:
- Hospital Stays
- Home Nursing Services
- Emergency Room Visits
- Medical Devices Such As Crutches or Wheelchairs
- Prosthetic Appliances
Wage Reimbursement Benefits
For injuries covered under workers’ compensation, you might also be entitled to reimbursement for lost wages. You might receive reimbursement for wages if you take your employer to court for compensation. If a Maryland court rules that you deserve compensation, the judge may rule on lost wages for the time you spend at commission hearings.
When Should I File an Accident Claim?
Most states have a deadline for how long you have to file a workers’ compensation claim. The time frame for accidental injury claims in Maryland is two years. If you don’t file a claim within the allotted time period, you could lose your right to file a claim altogether.
When an employee’s workplace injuries are so severe that they result in death, the surviving family members might have the right to file a wrongful death claim. The state of Maryland requires you to file a wrongful death claim within 18 months of the loved one’s date of death.
Occupational injuries are different because they don’t have a specific date for when they occur. Instead, you have two years from the date when you are no longer able to carry on with the duties of your job. If a loved one loses their life because of their work duties, the family members have two years from the time of their death to file a wrongful death claim.
Re-Opening Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Sometimes, a workers’ compensation case gets reopened after reaching a settlement. If your condition gets worse over time, you have the right to apply for additional compensation within five years of the date the accident occurred.
If your condition or injury hasn’t gotten worse, your case might still remain open. If your employer is obligated to pay your medical expenses for your lifetime, the state won’t close your case.
Workers’ Compensation FAQs
Do you need a lawyer for workers’ comp?
Workers’ compensation claims can get complex. Sometimes the lines that determine if you can receive compensation aren’t clearly defined. If you fail to follow the legal process, you could lose your right to compensation that you really need.
A workers’ compensation attorney can explain your rights according to the state’s laws and the policies of your workplace. If you get injured at work, you have a limited time period to report your injury to your employer. In Maryland, employees have 10 days from the time of the accident to report their injuries.
The best approach is to write a letter or email that includes your personal information and the details of the accident. Get the document signed by your supervisor. If you have an occupational disease, you have one year to file an occupational claim.
Your attorney will help you make a stronger claim within the time limits. The sooner you file your claim, the faster you will get the compensation you need for your medical treatment.
Workers’ compensation insurance is there to make it easier for employees to heal. But employers and their insurance companies usually want to pay as little as possible. Filing a claim isn’t enough. You have to prove that your injury is work-related and that it’s as severe as you claim. It takes an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to get the best outcome for your case.
Can you sue for workers’ compensation for pain and suffering?
Although serious injuries often cause significant pain and suffering, workers’ compensation in Maryland largely ignores this type of damages. However, if a third party is responsible for your injury due to their negligence, you might file a personal injury lawsuit to get the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Can I get a settlement from workers’ comp if I go back to work?
Returning to work after a work-related injury is a big milestone. It means you’ve gotten the medical treatment you need to heal. Those with very serious injuries might never return to work. Every aspect of their life changes.
Some people go back to work with restrictions on what they can do. If the doctor determines that you can return to light duty, you have to take it if it’s available. Often, that means taking a cut in pay. If your employer tells you they don’t have light duty, your workers’ compensation benefits should continue.
If you reach maximum medical improvement without being able to return to work, then you can pursue permanent disability benefits. But this isn’t the same as the doctor releasing you to return to work. It just means that further treatment isn’t likely to result in an improvement.
Can you lose your job while on workers’ comp?
Legally, no. An employer can’t fire you in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is your legal right to seek compensation. But if the employer gives another reason for firing you, you can still lose your job. Sometimes your injury might prevent you from doing your job safely and effectively. For example, if you lose a limb, you might not have the ability to perform the construction work you did before. Also, the employer isn’t obligated to provide you with another job within your capabilities.
The good news is that you can still receive temporary total benefits and permanent partial benefits even if you lose your job. As long as your injury occurred while performing your job duties, you can continue to receive the benefits you are entitled to.
Can my employer demote me while I’m on workers’ comp?
Maryland law says that your employer can’t terminate you solely due to a workers’ compensation claim. However, it doesn’t specify that your employer can’t demote you. Like many other areas of Maryland’s workers’ compensation law, there are exceptions to the rule. If you can prove your employer demoted you in retaliation for your workers’ compensation claim, you may have a case. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you understand whether your employer violated your rights by demoting you.
Workplaces have gotten safer over the last century. Still, on-the-job injuries and work-related deaths happen far too frequently. When injuries occur, employees have the right to receive compensation to pay their damages and their lost income.
Too often, employees are denied the benefits they deserve. They don’t understand their rights or the process for filing a claim. Getting workers’ compensation benefits can make the difference in whether an injured employee can provide for their family. It can also mean getting the medical care they need to recover.
Dealing with the impact of a serious injury is difficult enough. You shouldn’t have to worry about the growing mountain of medical bills treatment adds to your regular expenses. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney from Ingerman &Horwitz can help. Contact us today for an evaluation of your case. Whether you’re considering filing a claim or your employer and their insurance company denied your claim, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.