Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
Qualifying for workers’ compensation in Maryland is stressful when you are already facing a denial by insurance adjusters or focused more on necessary healing. Fortunately, experienced attorneys could champion a claim for you and deal with insurance adjusters so that you could receive the compensation you need.
Differences Between Personal Injury Claims and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Everything differentiates workers’ compensation claims from other personal injury lawsuits. Workers’ compensation is not a lawsuit. It is not a tort. It is litigation in an administrative system. The workers’ compensation boards in this country are essentially administrative law. The commissioners, at least in Maryland, are equivalent to administrative law judges. They have a lot of power but only within workers’ compensation law.
What distinguishes workers’ compensation law are the rules of evidence that are different and a bit easier in a workers’ compensation hearing. Workers’ compensation is designed to be quicker than litigation and less expensive.
There are caps on lawsuits, on tort recoveries, and on jury awards. A jury could give someone $100,000, but the cap for medical negligence in Maryland might be $400,000 and changes each year. With workers’ compensation in Maryland, if someone is off of work, they may be paid the entire time they are unable to work and still in active medical treatment.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation in Maryland and the United States is a system developed in the early 1900s to protect injured workers by providing them with benefits for wage loss, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and permanent disability when they suffer an accidental work injury.
Qualifying Conditions for Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
There are two kinds of workers’ compensation claims:
- Accidental injury
- Occupational disease
An accidental injury is typically something that happens immediately in a single event such as a car crash while someone is working, or sustaining an injury after a fall at work.
An occupational disease is something that happens over time arising from the inherent hazards of one’s employment. If someone’s job involves working with chemicals and their lungs start to fail over a period of time because they inhaled chemicals, that is an occupational disease.
There may be overlap. If only two days passed where someone was inhaling cleaning chemicals and their lungs failed, two days could be an accidental injury. It does not have to be a single event. It could also be an occupational disease, just a short one.
Pre-Existing Conditions and Compensable Injuries
When qualifying for workers’ compensation in Maryland, the laws that apply to accidental injury and occupational disease are different regarding pre-existing conditions. The mere aggravation of a pre-existing condition may be compensable as an accidental injury but generally not for an occupational disease. Understanding that, the attorney helps victims fill out the claim form to explain how the injuries happened. An attorney knows the words that concisely have all the elements necessary to state a claim. People often do not know the appropriate words and terms to use and merely being honest is not the same as being honest and including all of the necessary information to concisely state a compensable claim.
Frequently Seen Causes of Injuries
Healthcare providers frequently get hurt because patients are disoriented or violent or simply heavy and resist being turned. Sometimes, patients spill liquids and a healthcare worker is injured because of those created conditions and because of who they interact with.
Public safety workers like police, firefighters and correctional officers often get hurt in fights or unsafe conditions. Factory workers and construction or demolition workers routinely suffer injuries from repetitive motions and cumulative trauma from vibratory tools.
For factory workers particularly, people could be hurt when they work with chemicals or in a hazardous environment. If someone works in a building that is moldy or has horrible air quality, it could cause an occupational disease.
Learn About Qualifying for Maryland Workers’ Compensation
When applying for workers’ compensation in Maryland, injured workers need to understand that there are many situations that could exclude them from receiving benefits. Worse yet, the insurance adjusters they deal with are often more interested in denying claims than paying what victims of work-related accidents need and deserve.
If you have been injured on your job, you need to reach out to a dedicated legal professional who could help.