Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your Maryland workers’ compensation benefits:
(1) Call An Attorney For A Free Consultation
Call an attorney who handles Maryland workers’ compensation cases. All consultations regarding workers’ compensation accidents are free. The attorney only gets paid if you decide to hire them and they win your case for you. Therefore, you have nothing to lose in at least making a phone call to an attorney so that a professional can guide you through the initial steps of your claim. There is no reason to do this on your own.
(2) Report Your Injury
You must report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you are hurt, no matter how small the incident, you should notify your supervisor immediately. Failure to give notice to your employer can potentially bar your Maryland workers’ compensation claim.
(3) See Your Doctor
Do not delay medical treatment. Safeguarding your health is the most important aspect of any Maryland workers’ compensation claim. The money and your legal case are secondary considerations. Getting yourself “fixed” should be your primary goal. Also, insurance companies may not look favorably on your claim if you delay in seeking medical treatment. The insurance company will assume that a truly injured person would seek medical care promptly. They may be suspicious of your claim if there is a gap between the time you claim you were injured and the time you actually seek medical care.
(4) Be Careful What You Say
Be very careful when talking to your boss or an insurance company prior to seeing an attorney. You should probably see an attorney before you give any formal statement to an insurance company regarding your on the job accident. Insurance companies often try to tape record a statement from you over the phone. Don’t do this without seeking a lawyer’s advice. You may say something in a very innocent manner, which may be construed against you later. When in doubt, call an attorney. Remember, it is a free consultation.
(5) File A Claim Form With The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission
You must file an official claim form with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission located in Baltimore. This is different from filing a claim with your employer or the insurance company. If you do not have this official claim on file with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, your claim could be barred. If you have a dispute with the insurance company, your ability to request a hearing may be delayed. Many clients come to us after having a work related injury, which the insurance company is (at least in the beginning) covering. They are being paid for the time they are off work and their medical bills are being paid. They have filed a claim with the insurance company, but not with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission in Baltimore. This is not sufficient to protect your legal rights.
You must file this claim within two years from the date of accident or disablement. If you do not have a claim on file, I will be happy to file a claim for you online, over the phone, even if you do not want to hire me. I believe in the Maryland workers’ compensation system, and I believe you need to have a claim on file to protect yourself. Call me to at least discuss it.
You can access the form online at the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Click this link to go directly to that site – wcc.state.md.us. Be aware their website is confusing and difficult to use. They were cutting edge when they first set it up, but it has been ignored since then and looks like a relic of the past. It works like one too! You can also write the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission at 10 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201.
(6) Make Sure You Are Receiving Your Benefits From The Insurance Company
Read the previous sections of this guide dealing with benefits. Make sure they are covering your medical bills and paying you for 2/3 of your lost wages. After your doctor releases you, make sure you receive permanent disability benefits (and get an attorney for this part if for nothing else). Know when to ask for benefits such as vocational rehabilitation. If you have any problems with the insurance company or questions about your benefits, call an attorney. Remember, consultations are free. I cannot speak for everyone, but I promise I will not put sales pressure on you.
(7) Get Well And Get Back To Work Soon
Of course everyone wants you to get well soon, but I’m not just saying this to be nice. Workers’ compensation is a money losing game. You will never get as much money on workers’ comp as you will if you are healthy and working full time. In Maryland, workers compensation benefits are designed to help you scrape by when you don’t have anything else. Nobody gets rich off a Workers’ Compensation Claim, at least not in Maryland. Your primary goal should be to recover quickly and get back to work as soon as possible.