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Compensation For Injuries On The Job

Were you injured at work? Looking for the right lawyer to help is an important step along the path to recovery. You have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation even without an attorney’s help. However, many injured workers soon discover that conflicts with their employers and/or the employers’ workers’ compensation insurance company are difficult to resolve without a lawyer’s advice and representation.

At Futrovsky, Forster & Scherr, Chtd., our workers’ compensation lawyers help injured workers stand their ground when workers’ compensation insurers deny legitimate claims, refuse to pay for treatments that doctors recommend or stop paying wage loss benefits before a worker is ready and able to go back to work. In most cases, injured workers cannot sue their employers, but rather, should report injuries to their employers and file workers’ compensation claims. Our attorneys also help evaluate cases involving seriously unsafe workplaces and injuries caused by the negligence of third parties to determine whether additional legal action is justified beyond workers’ compensation claims.

We are confident in our ability to hold workers’ compensation carriers responsible for paying appropriate benefits, holding employers responsible for keeping their workers safe and advocating for those who have been hurt in the course of their employment.

Some Questions And Answers About Workers’ Compensation

Bring us your concerns and let us guide you as pursue the compensation you are eligible for after a workplace accident.

Are there pros and cons to filing a workers’ compensation claim?

The law entitles you to workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured at work, require medical attention and/or have at least a temporary disability because of the injury. The pros of filing a claim include preserving your right to medical treatment that you may need now and in the future because of your on-the-job injury. In theory, there should be no cons to filing a legitimate workers’ compensation claim. If you are in doubt about any of these points, consult with an attorney.

Do I qualify for workers’ compensation?

In most cases, the answer is yes if you were injured while in the scope of your employment and require medical care and/or time off work to recover. If there are doubts about your eligibility, this is a clear sign that you need legal advice as soon as possible.

Can an employer fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?

In most cases, no. However, if your injuries render you disabled and unable to return to the job you did before or another position that your employer can make available to you, your employability may change after a period of time. Your workers’ compensation benefits may continue indefinitely if you are permanently disabled after a workplace injury. The workers’ compensation carrier may try to negotiate a lump-sum payoff in this case. Protect yourself by getting a lawyer’s advice before agreeing to this offer.

Can I still get workers’ compensation if I voluntarily leave my job?

It is not legal for employers to fire you solely for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, they may try to lay you off for other reasons, including if you are unable to perform the duties of your job after you have reached maximum medical improvement. Getting counsel from a truly experienced workers’ compensation attorney is important so you will know your rights.

Basic Information About Workers’ Compensation In Maryland And Washington, D.C.

Workers’ compensation laws in Maryland and the District of Columbia exist to help employees who are injured on the job. Benefits typically entitle the injured worker to medical treatment as well as compensation for time off from work and permanent impairment of function. The workers’ compensation laws in Maryland and Washington, D.C., are complex and unique, and a keen understanding of these laws is imperative to maximize the benefit to the injured worker.  Attorneys Peter L. Scherr and Caleb R. Condor have this understanding and are available to help injured workers in both Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Below are brief summaries of the workers’ compensation claims process and benefits in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Workers’ Compensation in Maryland

In Maryland, an employee who is injured on the job must timely file an Employee Claim Form with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. Thereafter, the self-insured employer or the employer’s insurance company may accept or contest the injured worker’s claim.  If the claim is contested, the injured worker (now a claimant) must attend a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission in order to have the claim accepted. If the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company voluntarily accepts the injured worker’s claim, or the Workers’ Compensation Commission finds that the claim is compensable (orders that the claim be accepted), then the injured worker will be entitled to some or all of the following benefits if supported:

  • Medical benefits: The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to pay for all medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the worker’s accidental (on-the-job) injury. This medical treatment includes but is not limited to, physicians’ evaluations and treatment, physical therapy, surgery, medication, and diagnostic studies.
  • Time off from work benefits: The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to compensate the injured worker for time off from work due to injuries. Typically, the injured worker is entitled to be compensated at a rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the employee’s gross (pre-tax) wages, subject to a cap that changes each year.
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits: If an injured worker is physically unable to return to full-duty employment with an employer, and the employer refuses to accommodate the workers’ permanent physical restrictions, the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company must provide vocational rehabilitation benefits to the injured worker. Under vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is provided with the services of a vocational counselor who will facilitate the injured worker’s return to work. These services include resume preparation, job search assistance and, when warranted, education. While the injured worker is in vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is entitled to be paid two-thirds (2/3) of the injured worker’s pre-accidental injury wages.
  • Permanent impairment benefits: If an injured worker has any permanent impairment due to a work-related accidental injury, the injured worker is entitled to compensation for that permanent impairment. This entitlement exists regardless of whether the injured worker returns to work in a full-time, full-duty capacity or returns to a job in which the injured worker earns more than when injured.

If there is a dispute as to the injured worker’s entitlement to any of these benefits, the injured worker, a self-insured employer or the employer’s insurance company may request a hearing before the Maryland Workers’ Commission. After a hearing, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission will issue a decision reflecting whether the injured worker is entitled to the disputed benefits.  Either party may appeal this decision to the Circuit Court with proper jurisdiction.

Workers’ Compensation in Washington, D.C.

In the District of Columbia, an employee who is injured on the job must timely file an Employee’s Claim Application (DCWC Form 7A) and an Employee’s Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease (DCWC Form 7) with the District of Columbia Office of Workers’ Compensation. Thereafter, the self-insured employer or the employer’s insurance company may accept or controvert (contest) the injured worker’s claim. If the claim is controverted (contested), the injured worker (now a claimant) may request an informal conference before the Office of Workers’ Compensation or a formal hearing before the Administrative Hearings Division in order to have the claim accepted. If the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company accepts the injured worker’s claim, or the Office of Workers’ Compensation (and the parties agree) or Administrative Hearings Division finds that the claim is compensable (orders that the claim be accepted), the injured worker is entitled to some or all the following benefits, if supported:

  • Medical benefits:  The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to pay for all medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the worker’s accidental (on-the-job) injury. This medical treatment includes, but not limited to, physicians’ evaluations and treatment, physical therapy, surgery, medication and diagnostic studies.
  • Time off from work benefits: The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to compensate the injured worker for time off from work due to injuries. Typically, the injured is entitled to be paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee’s gross (pre-tax) wages, subject to a cap that changes each year.
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits: If an injured worker is physically unable to return to full-duty employment with an employer, and the employer refuses to accommodate the workers’ permanent restrictions, the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company must provide vocational rehabilitation benefits to the injured worker.  Under vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is provided with the services of a vocational counselor who will facilitate the injured worker’s return to work.  These services include resume preparation, job search assistance, and, when warranted, education. While the injured worker is in vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is entitled to be paid two-thirds (2/3) of the injured worker’s pre-accidental injury wages.
  • Permanent impairment benefits: If an injured worker has any permanent impairment due to a work-related accidental injury, the injured worker is entitled to compensation for that permanent impairment. With some exceptions, this entitlement may exist regardless of whether the injured worker returns to work in a full-time, full-duty capacity or returns to a job in which the injured worker earns more than when injured.

If there is a dispute as to the injured worker’s entitlement to any of these benefits, the injured worker, a self-insured employer or the employer’s insurance company may request an informal conference before the Office of Workers’ Compensation or a formal hearing before the Administrative Hearings Division. After the informal conference or formal hearing, the presiding claims examiner or administrative law judge will issue a decision reflecting whether the injured worker is entitled to the disputed benefits. Either party may appeal this decision.

Why Should I Contact An Attorney?

Whether an injured worker is in Maryland or Washington, D.C., presenting a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated and intimidating. The assistance of an attorney will typically facilitate your access to all benefits that you qualify for.

To learn about our services to injured workers in the Washington, D.C., area and beyond, please contact the attorneys at Futrovsky, Forster & Scherr, Chtd., for representation after suffering an injury at work. Call 301-750-9655 or send an email message.