Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
The Maryland Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton help clients when they have been hurt on the job. Because we have a wide range of experience in the industry, we have worked with clients in many different situations. Someone who is hurt on the job should be served by their company’s Workers’ Compensation insurance provider, but that is not always the case.
When workers have been injured on the job, we are there to help them receive the compensation and coverage they deserve. The Workers’ Compensation system can be confusing. Managers might not know how to file these claims, and some companies even break the law by not carrying Workers’ Compensation insurance. There are a few things that could happen for which our clients need to be aware. We will review any case, help our clients receive the compensation they need, appeal denied claims, and navigate a difficult situation in which their employer or the insurance company engages a lawyer.
Work injuries can occur for a variety of reasons. Following are some common types of work injuries:
Overexertion: Overexertion injuries are easy to avoid as long as there are enough people to do the job. Workers tend to overexert themselves when they have too much work to do on their own. Moreover, a worker who does not have a back brace could easily overexert themselves, sustain a back injury, or damage tendons and ligaments in their arms and legs.
Fall injuries: Workers could fall at any time if they walk on scaffolding, work in open construction areas, and climb ladders. Workers may be subjected to problems with harnesses that are meant to prevent falls. Work sites should be properly marked with places that workers should not go, and similar areas should be set up to prevent injuries around machinery. Workers should have a spotter when they climb a ladder and be taught how to use harnesses before they climb to extreme heights.
Struck-by injuries: Workers could be struck by objects that were knocked loose by a machinery accident, or workers might be struck by equipment, such as a forklift or crane wire.
Head injuries: These injuries can cause a lack of focus and concentration. Injured workers might have memory problems, or they may develop mental conditions. Some workers believe they are fine because they are not experiencing symptoms the moment an injury occurs, but symptoms could present themselves later.
Cuts and burns: Small cuts and burns might seem minor, but they should be addressed as soon as possible because they could become infected. These injuries could be so severe that the worker may have to call 911, and the staff should know how to respond to these accidents.
Car accident injuries: Workers might be driving a vehicle for work, or they might be struck by a vehicle because they were working near the road.
Chemical exposure: These cases could cause medical problems many years in the future and these workers need skilled legal counsel to take their case so that they can file a claim for coverage.
How can Work Injuries be Prevented?
Work-related injuries can be prevented if employees and employers work together to make the workplace as safe as possible. Businesses can take simple steps to prevent work injuries, including the following:
- Training employees to use all machines, tools, and safety devices
- Creating a safe work environment that is free of standing water
- Using modern tools that are kept in good repair
- Regulating worker shifts to prevent fatigue
At the same time, employees must be especially careful when they are at work. Someone who is on the job should try to do the following things before becoming engrossed in a particular task:
- Ensure that all tools and harnesses are working properly
- Work with a partner who can provide accountability for safety, as well as support with difficult tasks
- Inspect all tools for frayed wires
- Check power sources to ensure they are not shorted out
- Avoid standing water
- Wear approved safety gear, boots, and clothing
Workers must understand how Workers’ Compensation is managed, how to report their injuries, and how to receive care. Workers cannot sue their employers for their injuries, but there are instances in which third parties, such as manufacturers and even colleagues, may be held accountable.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system that is used to provide medical care to injured workers. Businesses with at least one employee are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. In most cases, the business will use a third-party insurance company to manage Workers’ Compensation. There are times, however, when the business will use a self-paid model that is handled in-house.
Because this is a no-fault system, the worker cannot sue their employer for their injuries. However, the worker may have legal recourse against a manufacturer that used faulty parts or provided defective products. The same could be true if another worker was directly responsible for the accident as a result of their negligence or carelessness. We ask our clients to avoid complaining to their employer or harassing a colleague who may have caused an accident. We will investigate the case and determine who may be liable for the accident.
Workers’ Compensation relies on a self-reporting system that requires workers to report their injuries as soon as they happen. The manager or supervisor who takes the report will pass that report on to the insurance provider or in-house insurance handler. The worker will be covered regardless of how the accident was caused, and there are only a few instances in which coverage is denied.
How is a Worker Covered for Injuries?
Once the worker has reported the injury, they should be sent to a doctor who is within the network of the Workers’ Compensation insurance provider. Workers who do not report their injuries cannot be covered or receive any benefits for missed work shifts. Injuries could be minor or severe, but any injury could cause a worker to lose money.
Because Workers’ Compensation is a no-fault system, the worker is given benefits that helps them pay for missed shifts and covers medical costs. The formula used allows the worker to receive a large percentage of their regular pay, and they can come back to work when they have been cleared by a doctor. We work with clients to determine their weekly pay and understand how much they should be paid for time missed because of a workplace injury.
What Should a Worker Do if Injured?
A worker hurt on the job should immediately go to their supervisor to report their injuries. The process is fairly simple if a worker tends to be in a busy or crowded location when they are hurt. Other people who saw the accident can help workers report an injury. The steps to use after any work-related accident include the following:
- Call for help from another employee
- Call 911 when necessary
- Receive the appropriate medical attention
- Ensure that the injury was reported to a superior
- Go to the doctor that was recommended to follow up
- Continue to receive medical care from the Workers’ Compensation doctor until the employee is cleared for work
- Request retroactive benefits to pay for lost shifts
When workers do not report their injuries, they cannot be compensated. However, there are cases in which the worker is afraid to report an injury, they have been told not to report it, or they have been told they will be fired if they raise safety concerns. These situations are handled under federal employment law because intimidation and retaliation are illegal.
We will help our clients report their injuries and protect their rights if their employer has made this process difficult. In the most extreme cases, the employer will not allow Workers’ Compensation coverage, even though the worker was performing their job duties at the time of the accident. We will step in to show that the worker should be covered and request the appropriate compensation.
Are There Different Types of Workers’ Compensation Coverage?
When workers are injured, they can receive several types of coverage. Injuries vary in scope and severity, and that is why coverage in Maryland changes to suit the needs of the worker. The following types of coverage are assigned to workers once a doctor completes an examination:
Temporary Partial Disability: A temporary partial disability is any injury that partially prevents the worker from completing their work for a short period of time. In other words, the worker will not be able to work, or they may work in another capacity until they recover. When the doctor believes the worker can go back to full-time employment, they will be approved to resume a normal schedule.
Temporary Total Disability: Temporary total disability is an injury that leaves the worker unable to work at all for a short period of time. Again, the doctor will decide when the employee can return to work. The worker will not be able to work at any time during their recovery, and they will resume a full-time schedule after their recovery.
Permanent Partial Disability: A permanent partial disability requires a worker to move to a different job role as soon as possible. The worker is disabled to the point at which they absolutely cannot do the job they had before they were injured. At the same time, these workers only have a partial disability. This means that they can do another job. For example, a crane operator might sustain a leg injury that prevents them from operating cranes. They could, however, start managing workers or handle office tasks instead.
Permanent Total Disability: Permanent total disability is used to pay for any worker who cannot return to work in any capacity, and simply cannot maintain gainful employment. This type of disability causes a complete life change, and workers need to be covered so that they can provide for their families.
It is important to remember that each type of compensation is calculated based on the degree of disability. We will work with our clients to ensure that they have been provided the appropriate type of compensation. For example, someone who can no longer walk is much more disabled than someone who cannot lift their arms over their head. These injuries should be compensated properly, and we will confront employers or insurance companies about this coverage, depending on who made the decision.
Are There Other Types of Workers’ Compensation?
There are people who are not covered under Workers’ Compensation, but instead are covered by a range of different laws and statutes. Some workers are not covered by Workers’ Compensation at all. There are a few professions that do not qualify for Workers’ Compensation, including:
- Service workers, such as housekeepers
- Outside contractors
These workers fall outside of Workers’ Compensation coverage, but they can receive medical care with their medical insurance. This means that anyone who does not have private medical insurance should ensure that they have coverage. People who believe they have been misclassified or deserve coverage should reach out to an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer in Maryland for assistance. We will fight to restore an injured worker’s rights.
Anyone who works in defense contracting, overseas, or for the military is covered by a different type of compensation system. People who are in the maritime industry and work on the shore or docks are covered by federal laws that have been designed to serve them specifically. Some workers are covered by various compensation systems, such as:
- The Maritime Act: This Act provides compensation to injured maritime workers.
- The Defense Base Act: This Act covers anyone who is working for or is enlisted in the military. Those stationed overseas or on a military base are consistently tied to their jobs and should receive compensation for any injury.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act: This Act is used to serve all workers who are on the docks or working in longshore jobs. These workers are covered under this law for any injury that occurs on the job. Even though these workers are on state land when they are injured, they are covered under federal law because their jobs are dangerous.
When someone has been injured or killed on the job, they need to know how they are covered. We are happy to help those who should have been covered under these alternative compensation systems. Families who lost someone to a work-related accident should know how death benefits should be paid. We can help determine the level of compensation that should be cited.
Are Some Injuries Disallowed?
Injuries that are caused by poor decision-making and wanton or reckless regard for life and limb are not allowed. This means the following situations can be denied coverage:
- Engaging in horseplay
- Avoiding work
- Being intoxicated or otherwise impaired
- Being reckless on the job
We will help clients who have been accused of not doing their jobs, and we will prove that these workers should be compensated. Many Americans assume that they cannot fight negligent employers. An employer who does not classify someone properly must be notified so that that employee can be covered. At the same time, we will call forth witnesses who can testify that an injured or deceased worker was doing their job in good faith.
Are Occupational Diseases Different?
Occupational diseases occur when the worker experiences prolonged exposure to chemicals and substances. This is something that can present itself much later in life, and the person who has a disease caused by prolonged exposure might not think that it has anything to do with their job. A doctor will likely make inferences given the nature of the condition, and that might point back to the worker’s job.
We will help the worker file a claim for an occupational disease, such as mesothelioma, which can be caused by exposure to asbestos. Someone who worked with and around asbestos for years could easily develop this disease, and that is why it is important for the worker and their family to file a claim. Occupational diseases need to be reported properly. Because an occupational disease will likely be diagnosed after the deadline for filing a claim has passed, we will formulate a case for coverage under Workers’ Compensation and go to the employer or insurance company on the employee’s behalf.
What If the Worker is Driving?
Employees who are driving as part of their work duties are still covered under Workers’ Compensation, even when that worker is not in the office or a company facility when the accident occurs. Some insurance companies will claim that the worker was not working when the accident occurred. If an employer or insurance company says that a claim cannot be filed, a Workers’ Compensation lawyer will help the worker receive compensation that is deserved.
Because auto accidents involve multiple levels of liability, it is important for drivers to know that they can file an injury claim against the driver who caused the accident. Drivers can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential, and even wrongful death. We are happy to handle both cases so that the driver or the family receives all entitled benefits that should be provided.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
In Maryland, workers have 60 days to file a claim and report their injuries. However, that limit can be waived in cases of occupational disease, intimidation, and other situations that make the worker uncomfortable when coming forward. Because the state has a 60-day time limit on these cases, this gives the worker time to figure out how they want to proceed and speak with a skilled Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Injured workers need an attorney because many clients do not understand the intricacies of the Workers’ Compensation system. This system is set up to aid workers when they have been hurt on the job, but these workers may not know how state and federal laws govern their coverage.
An experienced work injury lawyer will build a strong case to help the injured worker and their family recover from an injury. We handle all filings and speak with the insurance company or the employer’s lawyers. We can guide clients through the process and prepare to go to court or settle out of court.
How are Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Paid?
Our Workers’ Compensation lawyers do not get paid until our clients have been paid or covered. We take great pride in obtaining the coverage and compensation that our clients deserve, but that does not mean that we will ask for money upfront. We work with our clients on a per-award basis. We get paid when the case is closed, and money has been dispersed properly. Although it is not a requirement to have an attorney represent the worker, our clients can be sure that the insurance company or the employer will have a team of lawyers working on their case. We only want to help our clients handle the challenges of their case and receive the compensation they deserve. Clients can work with us during the consultation to learn how payment is arranged once the case has been closed.
When is the Case Closed?
Workers’ Compensation cases do not close when compensation and coverage has been obtained. We understand that workers need to return for treatment in the future and may have worsening conditions that need to be addressed. Because coverage may have been set after a claim was brought against the insurance company, we are willing to go back and ask for more coverage if the injury worsened. We work with medical experts to ensure that injured or sick workers can prove that they need further coverage.
Are Wrongful Death Claims Allowed?
Workers’ families have three years to file a wrongful death claim for any accident that fatally injured a loved one on the job. These claims may also be filed for occupational diseases. When we take these cases, we make sure that we know who is filing the suit on behalf of the deceased’s estate. We want to know if there are immediate family members who have been impacted, along with any extended family members who depended on the deceased. We will work to obtain compensation for the following:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
Although these cases can be traumatic, we ask that families come to us as soon as possible. Our lawyers will fight for everyone’s right to compensation, but we cannot do that if the statute of limitations has expired. Contact us now to avoid any delays.
Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Serve Injured Workers Across Maryland
If you have been hurt in a work accident, contact the Maryland Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton for help. These cases can become complicated and even involve wrongful death claims. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.