Silver Spring Workers Compensation Lawyer
If you have been injured at work through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
At the law offices of Goldberg Finnegan, our team of experienced lawyers have recovered more than $30,000,000.00 in compensation for our clients and there are no upfront costs when we handle your case.
Am I Eligible For Workers' Compensation?
Maryland's Workers' Compensation Act seeks to provide relief to injured workers. The Act gives an injured worker and his or her dependents a no-fault remedy against their employer (this means that the employee is not required to prove that anyone was negligent).
In exchange for this no-fault remedy against the employer, the employee is limited to recover only compensation and medical expenses set forth in strict schedules, and cannot sue the employer in a negligence action, since the workers' compensation remedy is an exclusive remedy.
This means that if you have suffered an injury on the job and receive workers' compensation benefits from your employer, you cannot then sue your employer for negligence (however in Maryland, an employee can bring a negligence or other third party claim against a co-employee and/or other third parties).
In its 2003 decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals summarized the law quite nicely by stating that "Employees who follow the procedural rules of the Act and can prove they were injured while working can almost certainly recover compensation to prevent undue hardships caused by loss of wages and medical expenses.
Employers who purchase workers' compensation insurance and otherwise comply with the law of workers' compensation can likewise count on avoiding a negligence lawsuit." Harris v. Board of Educ. of Howard County 375 Md. 21, 58, 825 A.2d 365, 387 (Md., 2003).
Employer-Employee Relationship In Maryland For Purposes of Workman's Compensation Claims
To qualify for workers' compensation in Maryland, the individual must be an "employee" of the company he or she is working for at the time of the accidental injury.
Maryland Courts have created a test to determine whether an individual is an employee and therefore entitled to receive benefits, but the determinative factor is whether the employer had the "right to control" the actions by the individual.
If this is present, then the injured person is often held to be an employee and therefore entitled to benefits.
Injuries Covered By The Maryland Workman's Compensation Act
Generally, the law covers a disability or death resulting from an accidental personal injury that arises out of and in the course of employment.
Accidental Personal Injury
An accidental injury can include any injury that occurs while working. The Maryland Court of Appeals explained that "Employees who follow the procedural rules of the Act and can prove they were injured while working can almost certainly recover compensation to prevent undue hardships caused by loss of wages and medical expenses." Harris v. Board of Educ. of Howard County 375 Md. 21, 58, 825 A.2d 365, 387 (Md.,2003).
Arising out of and in the course of employment
To recover workman's compensation benefits in Maryland, the injury must "arise out of" and occur "in the course of employment."
In the course of employment
Maryland courts use this portion of the test to determine the time, place and circumstances of the injury. Generally, an injury happens in the course of employment if it occurs within the period of employment, at the place of employment or at a place where the employee may be in the performance of his duties.
Arising out of
For an employee to be entitled to benefits, the injury must arise out of the employment. This requires a connection between the conditions under which the work is to be performed, and the resulting injury. If the injury can be determined to have followed as a natural result from the work being performed, then this portion of the requirement is satisfied.
Benefits Under The Maryland Worker's Compensation Act
Benefits for injured workers are based upon four basic classifications of disability: Temporary Total Disability, Permanent Total Disability, Temporary Partial Disability, and Permanent Partial Disability.
- Temporary Total Disability
- Temporary total disability is present when the worker cannot work for a period of time due to the severity of his injury. During this period of recovery, the worker is entitled to two-thirds of the worker's average weekly wage for the period of temporary total disability. These benefits are payable until the date when the worker reaches maximum medical improvement, or the disability becomes permanent.
- Permanent Total Disability
- Permanent Total Disability is present when the injury is so severe that the worker is incapable to do work of any kind. This does not require that the worker is completely incapable of working, but rather that the worker is so injured that he or she can perform no services other than those which are so limited that a demand for those services does not exist. In these cases, the benefit is also two-thirds of the worker's average weekly wage, and the benefits are payable for life, unless the worker's condition improves to a point where they are no longer totally disabled.
- Temporary Partial Disability
- In some cases, a worker has not reached maximum medical improvement, but can still return to work. In these cases, the worker is entitled to half the difference between his average weekly wage before and after the accident. This difference cannot exceed half the average weekly wage in the State of Maryland.
- Permanent Partial Disability
- This status refers to an injury which is partial in character, but permanent in quality, such as the loss of a finger, thumb or toe. Generally, an employee who is entitled to compensation shall receive a minimum weekly compensation of $50.00 for permanent partial disability unless that employee's average weekly wage was less than $50.00. If the worker's average weekly wage was less than $50.00, they will receive compensation that equals their average weekly wage at the time of the accidental injury. Benefit payments for permanent partial disability continue for a period of weeks established by the statute; a period that varies according to the body part injured and the severity of the injury.
- Death Benefits
- If a worker dies as a result of an accidental injury, the death is a separate event and the worker's dependents are entitled to recover death benefits. Under Maryland law, there are two categories of dependents: Total dependents and partial dependents. Total dependents are individuals who subsist entirely on the earnings of the deceased worker. Partial dependents are individuals who survived in part on the earnings of the deceased worker. Partial dependents are typically found in two-income families, where the worker and his or her spouse both worked and combined their earnings. If the worker dies, the surviving spouse and children are typically found to be partial dependents.
- In terms of the benefits available, total dependents are entitled to two-thirds of the decedent's average weekly wage, not to exceed 100 percent of the average weekly wage of the state of Maryland. Benefits continue for as long as the dependent remains a total dependent, until a maximum of $45,000 has been paid. If the dependent is a child, benefits cease at age 18, unless the child is a full time student, when they continue until the age of 23.
- In terms of the benefits available, total dependents are entitled to two-thirds of the decedent's average weekly wage, not to exceed two-thirds of the average weekly wage of the state of Maryland. But the percentage that the decedent's weekly earnings bears to the combined earnings of the decedent and the dependent is applied to this rate, reducing the benefit. Payments continue as long as the dependent remains a partial dependent, but may not exceed a maximum of $60,000.00.
Notice Requirements For Maryland Workman's Compensation Claims
- In Maryland, there are two notice requirements that employees should be aware of. The first is the notice to the employer. An injured employee must notify his or her employer of the injury in writing or verbally within 10 days after the accidental injury. Failure to notify the employer bars a claim for compensation unless the failure can be excused on the grounds that the employer was not prejudiced by the lack of notice.
- Also, a claim for compensation must be filed at the Commission within 60 days after the date of the accident. Again, failure to file the claim within 60 days can be excused on the grounds that the employer and/or insurer was not prejudiced by the lack of notice. However, if the claim is not filed within two years of the accident, this constitutes a complete bar to recovery.
Contact Our Silver Spring Workers' Compensation Lawyers Today
Have you or someone you know been injured while on the job and need to file for workers' compensation?
Since 1999, we have been helping injury victims throughout Montgomery County and are ready to help you today.
There are no upfront costs for us to handle your case and we only get paid when we obtain a recovery or settlement for your claim.