Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Hurt on the job? Call the workers’ compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We have been representing injured employees with workers’ comp claims throughout the state of Maryland since the 1970s.
Know your rights! If you have been injured as a result of a work-related accident, call us now. The Maryland workers’ compensation law is jam-packed with specific timelines and subtleties of law that you may not fully understand. And if you fail to properly make your workers’ comp claim, you could ruin your chances of receiving any compensation.
The insurance companies that pay out Maryland’s workers’ compensation benefits have attorneys on their side, protecting their best interests. And so should you. Call our experienced staff of Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers at (800) 358- 4529 and receive a consultation. The initial consultation is free and so is the call.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is workers’ compensation?
- What benefits are available to the injured employee?
- What are the employer’s duties?
- What are the differences between Temporary Partial and Temporary Total Disability, and between Permanent Partial and Permanent Total Disability?
- Are there any exceptions to the rule that injured employees are entitled to workers’ compensation?
- Are all injuries on the job compensable?
- Do I need an attorney to handle my workers’ compensation claim for me?
- What are examples of workplace injuries handled by your firm?
- How is your firm paid for handling workers’ compensation cases?
- Are there time limits for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
- What is an occupational disease and how does it differ from an accidental injury?
- I drive for a living. Recently while I was driving for work I was injured when another vehicle ran a red light and struck my vehicle. Can I receive workers’ compensation?
- When I receive an award is my workers’ compensation case over?
Workers’ compensation is a system established under Maryland law to provide injured employees with a means to obtain benefits including, but certainly not limited to, medical treatment and compensation for lost earnings. The biggest advantages of this system to the injured worker are that the benefits are both predictable and simple to obtain in the sense that the employee is not required to prove that the employer was at fault or that the employee is without fault. It should be noted that in exchange for this simplified system the employee gives up his or her right to sue the employer. As with all things, there are exceptions to the rule, but in the vast majority of workplace injury cases the exclusive remedy is workers’ compensation.
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission is charged with administering the state’s workers’ compensation program. The commission functions within a framework established by statute under Maryland law. This law creates defined standards for what constitutes "disabled," whether totally or partially, temporarily or permanently. The law also provides a schedule of benefits for particular injuries and losses, including:
- Payment for medical expenses.
- Compensation for loss of earnings, whether total or partial, temporary or permanent.
- Compensation for the complete loss of, or loss of use of, a body member.
- Vocational rehabilitation where the injured employee is unable to return to his or her original work.
Employers in Maryland have an obligation to obtain, at their expense, workers’ compensation coverage for the benefit of their employees. Some employers in Maryland are self-insured, but the vast majority obtain coverage through an independent source such as a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Even if the employer fails to obtain coverage, the injured employee still has recourse. He or she may apply for compensation through the Uninsured Employers’ Fund. Employers have other duties as well, including the duty to notify the Workers’ Compensation Commission of the job injuries and the obligation to provide employees with information regarding the workers’ compensation claims process.
What are the differences between Temporary Partial and Temporary Total Disability, and between Permanent Partial and Permanent Total Disability?
The heart and soul of workers’ compensation is the concept of "disability" and how it applies in any particular case. Under Maryland law, and indeed in most states, disability is broken down into four categories, each one defined by the "nature and extent" of the disability:
- Temporary Partial Disability, or a disability which is temporary in nature but partial in extent. The injured employee is receiving medical treatment but is working; however, the employee is unable to work full time at his or her job or works at a different job for a lower rate of pay than was earned prior to the injury.
- Temporary Total Disability, or a disability which is temporary in nature but total in extent. The injured employee is receiving medical treatment and while treating is completely disabled and unable to work due to the injury.
- Permanent Partial Disability, or a disability which is permanent in nature but partial in extent. The injured employee has reached "maximum medical improvement" and is working; however, the employee’s ability to perform his or her job has to some extent been impaired by the injury.
- Permanent Total Disability, or a disability which is permanent in nature and total in extent. The injured employee has reached "maximum medical improvement" but nevertheless is incapable of performing any work of any kind for which a market exists.
Yes. As a rule of thumb, workers’ compensation is available to all employees, but not every hired worker is considered an employee. For example, a person hired to use independent judgment and particular skills in performing a task may be an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee, and as such is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits from the employer. Likewise, temporary employees, those hired to work 30 days or less in and around the private home of the employer, are not eligible for benefits. Also, casual employees or individuals hired for a short term to perform accidental or incidental tasks are not eligible for benefits. As you can see, the term "employee" is subject to some interpretation. In each case an analysis must be made to determine the individual’s "status" and whether he or she is eligible for benefits.
No. The injury must be accidental in nature and arise "out of and in the course of employment." These concepts of "accidental injury," "arising out of employment" and "arising in the course of employment" have been the subject of much debate and litigation since the inception of the workers’ compensation laws. While there is no simple definition, as a general proposition if an employee suffers a physical or mental injury while in the process of performing tasks for or at the direction of his employer, that injury is compensable. But note well, not every injury that fits this definition is compensable. For example, when a workplace injury results from horseplay, willful misconduct or intoxication, it is not compensable. In addition, there are special rules that apply when the workplace injury is caused by an assault by a co-worker. As always, in each case an analysis must be made to determine compensability.
No. There is no requirement that an injured worker retain an attorney to either file or pursue a workers’ compensation claim. However, as the previous questions and answers demonstrate, workers’ compensation is a complex area of the law with many pitfalls, some of them fatal to the uninformed. In our experience here at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, few laymen truly understand the law well enough to manage their own cases. This often means that injured employees fail to obtain all the benefits to which they are entitled. And on the other hand, you can bet that the employer, and the employer’s insurance carrier, will be represented by an attorney in EVERY case.
The Baltimore law firm LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton has been handling workers’ compensation cases for over 33 years. In that time, we’ve seen just about every conceivable injury. We’ve even handled claims for the families of employees who have died as a result of workplace accidents. The simple fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as a completely safe workplace. And some workplaces, by their very nature, carry a high risk of injury. Over the years we’ve found that construction workers have by far the highest incidences of on-the-job injuries. Not surprisingly, employees in the landscaping industry also suffer a high incidence of workplace injuries. These occupations stand out, but they are by no means exclusive. We encourage ANY employee who is injured on ANY job to call us for a free consultation.
To begin with, no attorney may receive a fee for handling a workers’ compensation case without the approval of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. In order to qualify for a fee, the attorney must recover compensation benefits for his or her client. The amount of the fee is strictly regulated by law; there are no exceptions. It should be noted that any money paid to our firm comes from the employer’s insurance company, not out of the employee’s pocket.
Yes. Under Maryland’s workers’ compensation law, where there has been an accidental injury, the employee must file a claim for compensation within 60 days of the date of the injury. However, the workers’ compensation commission is authorized to waive the 60-day time limit under some circumstances. As a general rule, failure to file the claim within 2 years of the date of the accidental injury may result in a complete bar to a potential claim. The rule of common sense applies here ... the sooner the claim is filed, the sooner the benefits begin to flow. Call us today!
An accidental injury is generally defined as an injury arising from a specific event. For example, if an employee falls on the job injuring his or her back, we can relate the back injury to the specific event, i.e., the fall. Occupational disease, on the other hand, is not a time-specific event, but is rather a condition that arises over a prolonged period of time. An example might be an illness, such as emphysema, which an employee contracts over a period of years due to environmental conditions on the job. An occupational disease is compensable in much the same way as an accidental injury, but the law still recognizes occupational disease as a separate category of "injuries." It should be noted that claims for compensation due to occupational diseases must be filed within one year of the date that the employee knows or has reason to believe that he or she in fact has an occupational disease.
I drive for a living. Recently while I was driving for work I was injured when another vehicle ran a red light and struck my vehicle. Can I receive workers’ compensation?
Yes, you can. But in this situation, you have TWO remedies, not just a workers’ compensation claim. First, of course, you may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits (and please note well, even if you had been the "at fault" party you may still be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits). Second, in addition to the workers’ compensation claim, you may bring a negligence claim for damages against the at-fault driver. Now it may appear that you have an opportunity to "double dip," that is, to be compensated twice from two different sources. But in fact, in the vast majority of cases, the law acts to prevent this result by giving your employer, or your employers’ insurance carrier, a "lien" against your recovery in the negligence case. Simply stated, a "lien" is a claim for reimbursement. Applied here, it means that your employer, or your employer’s insurance carrier, must be reimbursed from your recovery in the negligence case, on a dollar for dollar basis, for all sums paid to you or on your behalf in the workers’ compensation claim. So why would you even pursue both possible remedies? As always, there is no general answer applicable to all cases. This is where the experience and expertise of LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. comes into play for you. Our goal is to obtain for you EVERY benefit to which you are entitled. Rest assured that we will analyze your case for maximum results.
No. Unlike a negligence claim where the signing of a release, or the recovery of a verdict, ends the case, a workers’ compensation claim continues even after an award. As a general rule, where an injured worker obtains an award for disability, he has a period of five years from the date of the last payment of compensation to reopen his case for additional compensation benefits due to a worsening or deterioration of his condition. In addition, an injured worker may return to medical treatment for additional care of the accident-related injury. But note well, it is possible to close a workers’ compensation claim and end ALL future potential benefits. The process is a called settlement, and in some cases it may be advantageous to the claimant to take advantage of this process and simply close the claim once and for all. You may rely on our expertise in helping you to make the decision as to whether or not to settle. And, of course, if you have received an award and you believe that your condition has worsened, call us ... even if we did not handle the original claim in your case.