Orders from the Workers’ Compensation Commission

GavelThis article explains Orders of the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission and how you can appeal them if you do not like the result. Read it over if you have received an Order from the WCC. I always call people about them, but I often see my mail early or late so we may not be able to talk immediately. And you may need to review this information more than once.

I do not like the format of these Workers’ Comp Orders because they can be difficult to understand. We will discuss the exact details, but here are some tips to help you figure out the details of your Order:

  • If the Order awards money, they usually award it per week – and you have to do the math to figure out the total. I will break it down for you, but if we haven’t spoken about it yet, you should multiply the weekly payment amount by the number of weeks to get the total, then subtract the fees and costs at the bottom. Pay attention to the start date of the weekly payments. The WCC often backdates the start of payments. If so, you will get one “catch up” check covering the payments due from the start date to today, and future checks every week or two as ordered. If all of the payments are already due and owing, you will get one lump sum check. (This is confusing as heck and I hate how they do this. Don’t blame the WCC though. It’s because of how the Maryland workers’ compensation statute is written by your politicians in Annapolis.)
  • If the Order requires payment to you, the insurer must pay within 15 days of date of the Order. They will likely send the check to me directly, and we will call you when we get it.
  • If the Order approves medical care, go ahead and schedule it now. Tell the doctor’s office you won. I can send them a copy of the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s Order if they need it. Any treatment ordered will now be approved. If they have any problems, have them call my office.
  • If your claim was contested from the beginning, the Workers’ Compensation Commission should have decided whether the claim is “allowed” (which means you won) or “disallowed” (which means you lost). They can’t just say “won” or “lost” for some reason.

Appeals: If you wish to contest this decision, there are tight time limits in which to do so. You can appeal this decision within 30 days of the date of the Order (not the date you received it – the actual date of the Order) by filing a Petition for Judicial Review in the Circuit Court of the Maryland county in which you live. This is like filing a lawsuit in Circuit Court and asking for a jury trial.

An appeal will request a jury trial, and the jury will make the ultimate decision. The party filing the appeal is asking the jury to overturn the decision of the Commissioner. Like any other jury trial, it can take up to a year to have your trial. There is nothing we can do about that. The Court is already forced to set it as early as possible under Maryland law. The Courts are just that backed up.

Failure to file your appeal at the Courthouse within 30 days of the date of the Order will forever prevent you from appealing this decision. Call me immediately if you think we need to appeal, and be mindful of that deadline.

Obviously, the insurer can file an appeal too. If so, you will be in the same situation. However, if the WCC Ordered benefits paid to you, the insurer does not normally get to delay paying them simply by filing an appeal. They still must pay, and you do not have to pay them back if the insurer eventually wins the appeal. They will instead receive a credit against any future benefits they may have to pay you.

Conclusion: Again, call me if we haven’t spoken yet. If not, I will be calling you soon. Each Workers’ Compensation Order is unique, and most of the time they are a little confusing unless you are used to seeing them.

About Southern Maryland Law

Andrews, Bongar, Gormley & Clagett is one of the oldest and largest law firms in Southern Maryland. We have been serving clients here for over 50 years. With more attorneys and a larger staff than most other local law firms, we can handle a wider variety of legal matters. Each attorney concentrates his or her practice in a few key areas, so you can be assured of the expertise you need. But we are not so big that we forget about personal service. Your legal matter is unique, and requires a personalized approach. We will always remember that. If you have a legal issue, call us today to schedule your consultation.