Portner & Shure receives a number of calls on a daily basis regarding injuries on the job in Maryland. Some of those injuries are considered soft tissue while others are considered much more serious, such as disc herniations or broken bones. Regardless of the nature of the injury sustained, we are asked the same questions. Our Maryland Workers’ Compensation attorneys compiled the top ten questions that we are confronted with regularly.
1) Can I sue my employer because I was hurt at work in Maryland?
The answer to this question is simple; NO. When you are injured in the course of your employment, you cannot sue your employer. Your remedies are provided under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation laws. The good news is workers’ compensation is no fault. As a result you will not have to prove your employer did anything wrong.
2) What do I do if I am injured on the job and my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?
All employers in the State of Maryland are required under the law to carrier workers’ compensation insurance. However, in the event that an employer does not have insurance a claim can still be pursued. The Uninsured Employers Fund will step into assist you with your claim. An employer who is found to not have workers’ compensation insurance will be fined by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.
3) How soon can I recover my lost wages?
The time period in which an injured Maryland worker recovers his or her lost wages varies from case to case. If all the proper procedures are followed an injured worker could receive benefits relatively quickly. Once the insurance carrier has reviewed and accepted the claim as compensable then benefits can be made almost immediately. However, if the insurance company decides to contest the claim, then a hearing before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission may be required.
4) What is the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission and what do they do?
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission oversees the workers’ compensation claims process. They act as the court system if you will. If there is a dispute between the injured worker and the insurance carrier that cannot be resolved, a hearing is requested wherein a Commissioner will hear the matter (similar to a judge) and make a decision on the matter.
5) Do I really need a work injury attorney to represent me or can I handle my Maryland Workers’ Compensation claim on my own?
A Maryland work injury attorney is not required to pursue a claim for Maryland Workers’ Compensation but it is recommended. An experienced Maryland Workers’ Compensation attorney can help navigate you through all the procedures. The workers compensation process is lengthy and full of forms and guidelines. An well versed Maryland workers’ compensation attorney can maneuver through the red tape in order to move your claim through as quicky as possible.
6) If there is a dispute with the insurance company and a hearing before the Maryland Workers’
Compensation Commission is requested, how long does it normally take to get a hearing date?
Once a hearing is requested it is up to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission to schedule the hearing date. Neither an attorney nor an injured worker has control over when the date is scheduled. It could take a month or more to get a hearing date.
7) If I call the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, can I expedite the hearing process?
No. Phone calls to the Workers’ Compensation Commission will NOT get a faster hearing date. Depending on the circumstances, a Maryland injury attorney may be able to assist with the filing for an emergency hearing. It is important to understand that even though an emergency hearing is requested that does not necessarily mean that the request will be approved. In fact, those requests are very rarely approved.
8) Can I get legal advice from the Workers’ Compensation Commission?
No. The Workers’ Compensation Commission does NOT provide legal advice.
9) I received an Order from the Workers’ Compensation Commission, when can I expect to receive my compensation? And what if I am not happy with the result?
The law in Maryland is that the insurance carrier has 15 days from the date of order in which to issue payment. Failure to issue payment within those 15 days can result in penalties. Second, if a award is issued by the Workers’ Compensation that is believed to not be fair, there is always the option to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the date of the award. Otherwise, you will be forever barred from do so.
10) I speak only Spanish, Chinese or Korean. How can I present my claim before the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission?
First, prior to the hearing, you must be prepared to testify by a Maryland work injury lawyer who has staff with Korean, Chinese, and Spanish speaking work injury paralegals. Second, the Maryland work injury attorney must request a court certified Spanish, Chinese, or Korean speaking interpreter to be present at your hearing.
To that end, we feel that any person sustaining an injury in the course of his or her employment should contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. An attorney could mean the difference lengthy painful legal process or a smooth timely claim that ends with your rights being protected.