Maryland, like most states, has a workers’ compensation statute that provides financial benefits for costs associated with work-related illnesses or injuries. Obtaining benefits from the system can unfortunately seem unnecessarily difficult and complex.
The first element in obtaining workers’ compensation benefits is proving that the claimant suffered an illness or injury that is caused by the claimant’s employment. An injury could be the result of any one of numerous causes so long as it is related to the claimant’s employment. A work-related illness can be any illness that is caused by a condition on the worksite or other place related to the claimant’s employment.
A claim for benefits must be filed within 10 days of the accident for an injury and within one year of the diagnosis of a work-related injury. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurer then reviews the claim.
A claim can be allowed, denied or allowed in part or denied in part. The decision will have three sections: whether the claim is allowed, whether the injury is permanent and the allowance of benefits. A worker can disagree with any part of the decision with which he or she disagrees.
If the worker disagrees with any aspect of the employer’s decision, he or she can appeal to the state Workers’ Compensation Commission. The case will be scheduled for a hearing before the commission. If claimant disagrees with the Commission’s decision, an appeal may be filed with the district court in the county where the case arose.
Unless a claim is granted in full with no appeal, which is a rare occurrence, an injured or sick worker is likely to require the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for advice and representation before the commission.