You make WC sound really good. The only problem with your analysis is that I haven't received a single penny since my accident in late March 2012. My employer/WC insurer contested my claim, and it'll have been 5 months from my accident to my WC hearing. Maryland a "no-fault" WC State, yet they've denied authorizing payment for my two doctors (Chiro, Ortho), and for me to get x-rays, an MRI, an EMG, and physical therapy. Oh, and, no money this whole time (almost five months) for my lost wages (as I'm still not released by my doc to return to work), so now in addition to being injured and unable to work, they've basically made me into a pauper. WC may look good on paper, but in reality it's just another pro-business protection racket... and it's the only option!
You said: "If you were injured at work AND nobody else was responsible (e.g. defective machine), the only recourse is through WC."
I was injured when I asked a co-worker to help me separate two shopping carts that were "stuck together" (so I could put returned items into them, to be taken to the back of the store for claims processing), and when we each pulled from opposite ends, the carts came apart suddenly, and I fell backwards onto the floor.
1. Could I sue the co-worker who contributed to my injury?
2. Could I sue the shopping cart manufacturer for possible defective product, which contributed to my injury?
3. Would 1 and 2 be filed as separate actions or as one action naming 1 and 2 as co-defendants?
The suggested actions are not viable and should only be considered if you are a law student analyzing a hypothetical. Ask your attorney when was the Request for Emergency Hearing under Section H26 R was filed because I don't believe it has been pending with no action for 5 months.
Date of accident 3/21; WC claim filed online 3/24; Defense contested issues filed/recorded 4/19; Notice of Hearing 6/29 (hearing date set for 8/22). 5 months (no money received; no other benefits authorized/paid by insurer - luckily my chiropractor has been willing to see me 2-3x/wk since 3/26 without payment).
The whole process, which is the ONLY process afforded to me, and which is supposed to be "streamlined", just seems like one big SHAM!!!
I understand your frustration. I have two observations: 1.) Please note
that on your facts, you waited MORE than 3 months before you filed a Motion
for Hearing; and 2.) If this were civil litigation instead of WC, you would
be waiting another 2 years for money.
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Thanks for the additional input.
Maryland Work Comp Comm automatically sets a hearing, if within the 21 day consideration period from input of the claim they receive issues/objections from employer/insurer (no motion for hearing required).
In my case the consideration date was 4/25 and the issues were logged by WCC on 4/19, so even with the auto-hearing method in MD, the hearing date was still 4 months out, which is a long time to wait while the insurer denies any/all diagnostics/treatment/medicine, nor are they paying you for lost wages.