Dealing with an on-the-job injury or illness can leave an injured worker at a loss for what to do next. Filing for workers’ compensation can be a complicated process as there are a number of important steps you must follow to file a claim in Maryland. Below, we have outlined the process for filing for workers’ compensation and the time it will take between each step. Our workers’ compensation lawyers can guide you through the process and handle the details for you.
Notifying Your Employer
The first thing you should do following a workplace injury is to immediately report the accident to your employer by following any internal reporting procedures. An employee generally has 10 days from the date of the accident to notify his or her employee about an injury, though you should report the incident immediately.
Within 10 days of receiving notification of a workplace death, illness or injury that requires a worker miss three or more days of work, the employer will submit an Employer’s First Report to the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Although this form is the responsibility of your employer, it is important that you make sure it has been submitted. This form begins the statute of limitations for submitting an employee’s claim for compensation.
Filing a Claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission
The next step is to file an Employee’s Claim for Compensation with the Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). This form must be submitted within two years of the accident. You can submit your claim online by downloading and completing the Online Employee Claim Form C-1.
Once your form has been submitted online, you must then print and sign the form and mail it to the WCC. If the WCC does not receive your signed form within 10 days of the electronic filing, your claim will be dismissed.
If there are no errors or missing information in your claim, it will typically take two to three business days from the date the WCC receives your claim to process it and issue a Notice of Employee’s Claim. If there is any information missing, you must follow the instructions on the documents sent back to you. Once your employer or its insurer receives the Notice of Employee’s Claim, it has 21 days to begin paying benefits or to file an issue to contest the claim. If no issue is filed, the Commission will deliver an award within 30 days of filing the claim. You can check on the status of your claim by visiting the Public Claim Data Inquiry or by calling the WCC.
Issues Relating to Work-Related Injuries
If your employer or insurer wishes to contest your claim, it will have 21 days to file an issue. Most often, issues are filed if the employer or insurer does not think the injury is work-related. If an issue is submitted, a hearing will be scheduled to address any problems an employer has with a claim. If an issue is submitted that is not related to a causal connection between the injury and work, the WCC will likely move forward with issuing an award for the employee.
An insurer may also submit an issue for temporary total disability benefits if the employee is receiving accident leave or sick pay. This simply means that additional deferred payment may be needed and is not a contest to the claim. It could take an additional two weeks to issue an order for temporary total benefits and another two weeks for the employee to start receiving weekly checks.
An employee can receive temporary total disability benefits as long as he or she is receiving treatment and is unable to return to work. There is no set amount of time that treatment should last, though an employee will receive payments until he or she reaches maximum medical improvement. Once maximum medical improvement has been reached, a rating physician will review all of the employee’s medical records and determine the employee’s disability rating based on treatment records and a physical exam.
Both parties will then schedule a rating appointment to determine the amount of permanent or death benefits that will be awarded. If benefits are not paid voluntarily, an issue can be submitted to schedule a hearing after which an order for awards will be granted. Because this is a complicated process, it is recommended that employees hire a lawyer to represent them. Our Silver Spring workers’ compensation lawyers are experienced in helping injured workers and their families get the compensation they need. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more.