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Why are public safety officers unique in the Maryland Workers' Compensation system?
The State of Maryland affords public safety officers better benefits than almost all other Maryland workers, due to the inherent risks and stress involved on the job. Public safety officers, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics and correctional officers receive more than double the weekly wage rate for permanent disabilities and a presumption that some occupational diseases are covered.
What are some compensable injuries for correctional officers?
Most injuries that occur while on the job are compensable, regardless of fault. Many correctional officers sustain accidental injuries, which are covered by workers' compensation during an attack by inmates (sometimes exposed to bodily fluids often carrying HIV and Hepatitis), prison fights, and even during ordinary and special assignments. An occupational disease, such as hypertension and heart disease, is defined under the Maryland workers' compensation commission as the expected result from working under conditions naturally inherent in the employment. These diseases are presumed related to the stresses of the job and are therefore compensable under workers' compensation law. At this time only Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County correctional officers are covered under the presumption. Our firm is actively seeking to get other departments/jurisdictions covered under this law.
What are the benefits of filing a workers' compensation claim?
- Full payment for medical treatment from the doctor of your choice for life
- Weekly pay while you are unable to work
- Compensation for permanent disability, even if minimal and you can return to your job
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits if you cannot return to your job
- Reimbursement for prescriptions and necessary medical equipment
- Reimbursement for mileage, parking for doctor visits, therapy and tests
What should I do if I am injured or unsure if I have a compensable claim?
First notify a supervisor that you have been injured on the job. Seek medical treatment, but never give a recorded statement to an insurance company, it could be used against you in the future. Then call an attorney you can trust, who has experience and who will help you with your claim from filing through appeal, if necessary. Do not delay in seeking advice from an attorney, many injuries, including occupational diseases, have a limitation on when you can file a claim with the commission, if you wait you may no longer be able to file a claim. Filing a workers' compensation claim with your employer is not sufficient; a claim must be filed separately with the workers' compensation commission to be considered timely. Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP have been serving correctional officers for decades and a fee is never collected unless you are compensated for your injury.