How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?May 26, 2023
If you suffer a serious injury in the workplace, you are likely entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits from your employer. In order to take advantage of those benefits, there are steps you will need to take to ensure that you receive the financial benefits that you deserve, including medical expenses and a portion of lost wages.
In addition to reporting the accident to your supervisor, there are a number of timelines that must be followed in order to receive your benefits as quickly as possible. A dedicated Workers’ Compensation lawyer can assist you with the claims process.
Depending on the type of Workers’ Compensation claim you are pursuing, there will be a different statute of limitations. For example, there are three types of Workers’ Compensation claims, including accidental injury, occupational disease, and death benefits, each of which has a different filing deadline.
- Accidental injury: If you suffered an injury while on the job, you must notify your employer within 10 days of the injury, either in writing or in person. If the injury occurred while your supervisor was present, this counts as giving notice. If you do not notify your employer about your injury, you will not be able to bring a Worker’ Compensation claim unless the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission excuses your failure to provide notice. Your Workers’ Compensation claim for an accident injury must be filed with the Commission within two years of the date of the accident. In very limited circumstances, this deadline may be extended. For example, if the employer fails to notify the Commission, the limitations for you to file a claim may be extended.
- Occupational diseases: If you have been exposed to toxic material or hazardous chemicals in the workplace and developed an occupational disease, you must notify the insurer within one year after you have reason to believe that you are suffering from an occupational disease, or two years from the date that you became disabled or when you realized that the disablement was caused by your employer.
- Death benefits: If a work-related accidental injury resulted in a tragic fatality, notice must be given to your employer within 30 days of the death or within one year of a death resulting from an occupational disease. The claim for death benefits must be filed with the Commission within 18 months of the date of the death.
What Steps Should I Take After a Workplace Accident?
There are a number of steps you will need to take to ensure that you receive the financial benefits that you are entitled to, including the following:
- Report your injury or illness. You will need to notify your employer as soon as possible about how the injury happened or what caused your work-related illness. Make sure that you provide as many details about the circumstances of the injury or illness so your employer can take steps to improve the work conditions and prevent future injuries.
- Seek immediate medical attention. If you were injured at work or you are suffering from a work-related illness, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. If you avoid seeing a health care professional for any reason, your condition could worsen and be more difficult to treat. Make sure that you tell your doctor that your injury or illness is the result of a workplace accident or hazardous conditions. In addition, it is imperative that you comply with all of your doctor’s treatment recommendations. If you fail to do so, it will suggest to the insurance company that you are no longer in need of Workers’ Compensation benefits.
- Document all of your expenses. Keep detailed records of all of your expenses related to your workplace injury, including doctor’s appointments, hospital bills, physical therapy, medical devices, and prescription medication to ensure that you receive full financial benefits.
- Contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer. A dedicated Workers’ Compensation lawyer can walk you through every step of the claims process, ensure that you submit your claim on time, and assist you with any appeals.
What Benefits am I Entitled to in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
All employees in Maryland must carry Workers’ Compensation insurance, which is no-fault insurance that covers employees who become injured or ill. Workers’ Compensation coverage includes the following benefits:
- All medical expenses related to the injury or illness
- Lost wages
- Disability benefits
- Death benefits for the surviving family members
- Vocational retraining, depending on the circumstances
What Can Delay the Claims Process?
When a claim is filed properly and approved by the insurance company, you will likely start to receive benefits, including coverage for medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. The process can become more complicated, resulting in your benefits being delayed, if your claim is denied by the insurance company. The following are common reasons that a claim may be denied:
- Insufficient proof that the injury or illness is work-related. If your employer argues that you were not performing official work duties at the time of the accident, or that your injury was directly related to a pre-existing injury or illness, your Workers’ Compensation claim may be denied. Your Workers’ Compensation lawyer will protect your legal rights and help you obtain evidence to prove that your injury or illness is work-related.
- Missed deadlines for filing a claim. There are clear deadlines in place for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim. If you do not file your claim on time, you could be denied the financial benefits that you are entitled to and that will help you recover from your injury. Your Workers’ Compensation lawyer will work closely with you to ensure that your claim is filed well before the deadline passes.
Is it Possible to Reopen a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Under certain circumstances, you may be able to reopen a Workers’ Compensation claim that has been closed. If the following scenarios apply, you may be able to reopen a claim with the help of a dedicated Workers’ Compensation lawyer:
- You are seeking additional compensation. If you were awarded temporary disability benefits and your disability becomes permanent, you can apply to modify your benefits. Keep in mind, however, that you must apply to change your previous award within five years of the date of the accident or disablement if you are suffering from an occupational disease, or the date of your last benefit payment, whichever is later.
- Medical expenses. You may reopen a claim for medical expenses at any time. If you were awarded disability benefits for the rest of your life, your employer may provide reasonable expenses for your injury or illness for as long as you live.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Clients With Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you have been injured on the job and need help with your claim, contact our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.