When someone who works hard, lives paycheck to paycheck, gets thrown down temporarily – the system of workers’ compensation, established in 1914, gives him or her a fighting chance to get back on the road to recovery and gives them the opportunity to keep their family life on track. They do not have to expend great sums of money to sue a large corporation for an accident caused by faulty parts, bad maintenance or hazardous conditions.
Public safety employees injured in the line of duty need to know that they will be protected. Medical personnel and those working within our school system will have coverage. Supply chain workers, grounds keepers, food workers, construction workers, and all who are the back bone of our country, have a safety net.
What Types of Injured Workers’ Cases Are Considered Compensable?
The system, of no fault coverage, allows certain defined accidents or occupational diseases, subject to defenses by the employer, to be considered compensable. There are checks and balances. Cases are heard before a small group of specialized appointed Commissioners who are educated as to the law and know the community of lawyers that appear before them in administrative hearings. There is an appeal process to the circuit court. The most important thing for claimants to know is that there are time deadline for every type of claim, from accidents, to dependency death claims. Failure to proceed in timely fashion could bar the claim for ever.
Although under the radar to many folks, the workers’ compensation machine is one the largest economic engines in the state, involving multi-million dollar allocations annually.
How Long Are My Medical Coverage Benefits Available in a Compensable Case?
Being an advocate for the disabled matters. The injured will know they have coverage. They will be able to have support and guidance - even if it’s for a little while. And they will know that medical bills from the accident will be covered and not bankrupt the family. Or we can help if they need some rehabilitation to re-enter the workforce or receive permanent partial payments to supplement a return to work. And for the worst cases, they will be able to receive permanent total protection and benefits. After a fatality, dependents are able to petition for dependency benefits.
How Do I Handle a Preexisting Condition in Maryland?
We have a fund in Maryland established for employees injured while working for uninsured employers, as well as a fund to capture preexisting injuries so that employers are not concerned about being liable for the preexisting injury if the combination of the preexisting condition and the accident related injury combined, reach a certain threshold.
Can I Sue Someone, at Fault, Who Was Not My Employer and File Workers’ Compensation?
When there is also a third party case involved, there are rules regarding liens and net recovery set offs that must be handled properly to protect the client. When we consult with our client, we advise of all benefits, and how the system of social security and retirement all interact. Without careful planning, one benefit might wipe out another!
Is It Legal to Terminate an Employee on Workers’ Compensation?
By law, one cannot be terminated for the filing of a workers’ compensation claim per se. However, Maryland is an at will State, and one might still get terminated if not under contract or union agreement that spells out the procedure for terminations, while under workers compensation. Furthermore, if you are terminated and then want to file after, it may be seemed as a retaliatory filing. Its best to consult an attorney as soon as you get injured to plan a course of action ahead of time, before it’s too late.
There are also other programs like FMLA, that sometimes can run concurrent with the workers’ compensation that does protect your position. Plan smart.
*Please NOTE this is all general information and not intended to be relied upon for legal advice. Please request a consultation from our experienced attorneys at Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A. for your specific case facts.