If you were injured at work, you may have many questions about Maryland Workers’ Compensation and whether you might be entitled to receive benefits. At the Law Office of Sara El-Shall, we know that the aftermath of a work accident can be a confusing time. We are committed to guiding clients through the Workers’ Compensation process and addressing their concerns. The following questions are those that we are asked most often:
Workers’ Compensation is no-fault insurance that allows employees who have been hurt on the job to obtain medical benefits, lost wages, and permanency benefits. Generally, every employer in Maryland with one or more employees is required to carry Workers’ Compensation coverage.
The first thing an employee should do if they’ve been injured on the job is to report the injury to the employer and seek immediate medical attention. Not only is this important for health purposes, but also to document the injury. After receiving the necessary treatment, an employee should report the injury to the employer as soon as possible. Critically, there is a 10-day time frame to notify an employer in order to avoid an initial denial of a Workers’ Compensation claim.
All employees who have suffered an accidental injury arising out of and in the scope of employment may be eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, it’s important to understand that because independent contractors are not considered employees, they are not entitled to these benefits.
It is a violation of Maryland law to discriminate against or terminate an employee because they filed for or received Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Under Maryland law, an employee who was injured on the job is entitled to see their own physician. An employee is not obligated to be treated by a doctor selected by the employer. Not all healthcare providers take Workers’ Compensation cases — it’s critical for an employee to find out whether they do in advance. The Law Office of Sara El-Shall has a network of medical providers who accept Workers’ Compensation insurance and can assist you in coordinating medical treatment.
In addition to covering accidental injuries sustained on the job, Maryland Workers’ Compensation also provides benefits for occupational illnesses arising out of and in the course of employment. An occupational illness is any chronic health condition that occurs as a result of work or an occupational activity. Work-related repetitive stress injuries may also be covered by Workers’ Compensation.
Employees may be eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if they are partly to blame for the accident — provided they did not intentionally cause it. However, proving willful or intentional misconduct is difficult for insurance companies to prove. Workers’ Compensation benefits are usually not available if an employee’s intoxication from drugs or alcohol caused the accident to occur.
If the employer or the insurance company requests an Independent Medical Examination (IME), the employee who filed the claim must attend by law. But it’s essential to be aware that the IME doctor does not provide medical treatment and no doctor-patient relationship is created during the examination. They are hired by and paid for by the insurance company to evaluate the injuries and resolve questions about the claim.
There can be many reasons a Workers’ Compensation claim is rejected. In the event a Workers’ Compensation claim is denied, an employee may be able to request a hearing and appeal the decision. If an employee is unsatisfied with the outcome of the hearing, a rehearing may be requested. An appeal can be filed with the Circuit Court if the rehearing is unsuccessful.
Due to Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation laws, an employee is typically not able to bring a lawsuit against their employer for a work-related injury. But they may still pursue a personal injury action against a responsible third-party. An experienced personal injury attorney can best evaluate whether there is a party besides the employer who can be held legally liable for the injury.