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Maryland Workers' Compensation: When No "Light-Duty" Work Is Available From Employer?

Baltimore, MD |

After defense IME releases employee to light-duty/20-pound lift restriction, but treating chiropractor hasn't released employee to return to work (and WCC finds injury compensable, denies TTD beyond IME, finds claimant at MMI, denies ongoing/future medical), and employee inquires of employer about light-duty/modified work (letter by certified-mail) and no work is offered (no response from employer either by mail or phone), what is the employee's/claimant's options (aside from judicial review/appeal in circuit court)?

WC hearing was held. Commissioner allowed TTD through IME date (19.43 weeks; specifically denied TTD beyond IME), found claimant at MMI (but made no explicit mention of work restrictions, though IME report said light-duty and treating Chiro said still TTD) and specifically denied ongoing/future medical treatment. Body parts have been listed for PPD benefits. Filed motion for rehearing/reconsideration because Chiro referred to Ortho who at initial visit ordered an EMG (denied by insurer during contested pre-hearing period, no seconday insurance, so EMG not obtained) and 3 months later IME also recommended EMG in report as a prelude to determining MMI and releasing to "regular duty". Motion denied. 30 days to file for judicial review./appeal in MD State Circuit Court. Claimant still not able to work due to neurological issues related to fall (numbness/tingling, pain, loss of strength in right arm/hand/fingers and leg/foot/toes).

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

It sounds like you had a trial and your benefits were terminated from the IME forward. Your attorney can explain what this means to you. If you are no longer disabled per the ruling of the Magistrate your benefits cease in MIchigan. Are you currently on appeal or is the case over? Talk to your lawyer, since he tried the case, certainly he can advise you on this issue.

You should consult an attorney in your State at once. Visit our webpage and tell us what you think. www.schnitzerlaw.net

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Posted

I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

I am not commenting on any workers' compensation aspect of your case. I write to make sure you are aware you may have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA). Many on-the-job injuries meet the definition of "disability" under the ADA. If they do, you may be entitled to reasonable accommodation for your disability. This would require the employer to alter the way work is done so that you are able to perform the main parts of your job. Your rights under the ADA are separate from any rights you may have under workers' compensation.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=disability-discrimination-in-employment.

You may also have rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA). To be eligible under the FMLA, all of the following must be true: (1) your employer has at least 50 employees who work within 75 miles of one another; (2) you have worked for this same employer for a total of one year, even if not consecutively; (3) you have worked for this employer for at least 1,250 hours in the immediately preceding year; and (4) your medical condition meets the definition of “serious medical condition” under the family leave laws. Your rights under the FMLA are separate from any rights you may have under workers' compensation.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA): http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=family-and-medical-leave-fmla-summary-of-key-provisions.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

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5 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you very much for including links to the information on these potentially overlapping areas of law.

Brett A. Borah

Brett A. Borah

Posted

Ya just gotta love Ms Spencer for her very complete and correct answers.

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Posted

: ) It's the power of macros.

Brett A. Borah

Brett A. Borah

Posted

Yeah, but that doesn't diminish it from being complete & correct!

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Posted

Using macros allows me to provide more in-depth answers than I would otherwise have the time to provide. I cannot understand why everyone doesn't use them. I love technology.

Posted

You need to talk this over with your attorney because it appears that the judge agreed with the IME and not your doctors. Thus, you are not getting any more benefits. If you do not have an attorney I strongly suggest you get one ASAP.

Good luck

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

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5 comments

Jay B. Shuster

Jay B. Shuster

Posted

You say you are looking for light duty, but you also say you have problems that might indicate ability for only very light duty. The main point is you have to file an appeal, because once time runs out, you have no options.

Asker

Posted

Mr. Shuster, Thanks for your input. On a DC/MD/VA lawyer's website, http://www.donahoekearney.com/library/does-your-employer-provide-light-duty-for-workers-injured-on-the-job.cfm it states: "What if your company doesn't have light duty work and can't make up a light duty job for you? They have to pay your full workers compensation benefits, also called temporary total disability, or TTD, just as if your doctor said you could not do any work because of the injury." Is the above statement true in MD?

Jay B. Shuster

Jay B. Shuster

Posted

No. In MD its MMI that determined the end of tt. The point is, if he has issues, he has to file an appeal promptly.

Asker

Posted

Mr. Shuster, OK, that clears up that point. If I may ask for one other clarification... how does a circuit court appeal affect WCC jurisdiction and the timeline for determining PPD Award/Settlement (body parts are already listed by WCC)?

Jay B. Shuster

Jay B. Shuster

Posted

While an appeal is pending the Commission has no jurisdiction for an award but does for a settlement.

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