The Basics of Baltimore Workers' Compensation
When you are employed in Maryland, you may be eligible for Baltimore workers’ compensation if you are hurt on the job. If you think you have a workers’ compensation claim, you need to understand the basics of workers’ compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in Maryland
Workers’ compensation laws are created to financially compensate employees who have been hurt or killed on the job. If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you can’t file a lawsuit against your employer, even if your injury was your employer’s fault. But you do get a quick payout if you are ruled eligible, rather than having to go through an expensive and uncertain lawsuit.
In Maryland, all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation in Maryland, your injury must have been an accidental personal injury that came about during the course of your employment. You may also be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove you have an occupational disease.
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act provides for the following benefits:
- Temporary total disability benefits that are paid when an employee's injury has resulted in a disability that prevents the person from returning to work at all
- Temporary partial disability benefits that are paid when the worker can only perform limited or part-time duties at a reduced income level
- Permanent total disability benefits that are paid when injuries are so serious that a worker is permanently, totally disabled
- Permanent partial disability benefits that are paid when injuries are not so serious as to leave a worker permanently, totally disabled but may nonetheless result in some permanent impairment
Defining Who Is Eligible
Figuring out whether you qualify for workers’ compensation can be more complicated than it seems. The wording of the Maryland workers’ compensation claims laws is very specific, and it can make a big difference in deciding whether you have a claim.
For one thing, only employees are eligible. Under Baltimore workers’ compensation laws, a genuine employer-employee relationship has to exist. But even if you are an independent contractor, you may still be eligible if you have chosen to be covered by Baltimore workers’ compensation insurance. There is a procedure for electing to be covered by the insurance, and you need to have obtained the right insurance.
Your injury must also arise out of the employment and be in the course of employment.
Also, different types of employees may be covered by different workers’ compensation laws. For example, if you work for the federal government or the post office in Baltimore, your workers’ compensation claims are covered by the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, not state law. And only certain types of injuries are covered by workers’ compensation.
What Qualifies for a Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The types of injuries that are covered by Maryland workers’ compensation can include:
- Traumatic physical injuries
- Repeated trauma injuries
- Mental injuries
- Occupational disease
You may be eligible for different types of benefits. These can include:
- Medical care
- Temporary disability benefits that are designed to at least partially replace lost wages if you couldn’t work for more than three days
- Permanent disability benefits meant to replace at least some of your lost wages
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Death benefits
How to File a Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Claim
When you are at work and you have been hurt, or you develop an occupational disease that is job-related, the first thing you should do is to seek medical treatment. Tell your employer as soon as possible.
Claims are filed through the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. If your employer disputes your claim, the Commission will schedule a hearing where your claims will be decided. If you are denied a compensation claim, you can also request a hearing.
The Commission doesn’t actually pay your claims. Once the commission has made a determination in your case, insurance companies and self-insured employers are responsible for making payments.
If you think you may have a workers’ compensation claim, you should talk to a Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyer. He can explain exactly how the laws work and whether you are eligible. He can also represent you during the hearing process, if that is necessary.