Steps To Take After A Maryland Workplace Accident: A Guide For Employees
If you are injured at work in Maryland, the chances are high that you will want to file a workers’ compensation claim. Maryland workers’ compensation insurance is essentially an implied contract between employee and employer, providing medical care and paid time off to employees who are injured in the line of work, and in exchange, alleviating employers of the stress and cost of potential lawsuits from injured employees. However, it’s important to know your rights and what to do after a workplace accident, as employers often have a vested interest in keeping accident reports (and insurance premiums) low. By being aware of the process and how it works, you can ensure that you get the compensation and support you are entitled to.
Report the Accident
Under Maryland state law you have ten days to report a workplace accident to your employer. However, it is advisable to report the accident as soon as possible. The more time that elapses between the occurrence of an accident and your report, the harder it can be to get coverage for the injury, as the connection between the accident and injury becomes more tenuous and it creates an opportunity for the workers’ compensation insurance company to claim that some intervening event, rather than a workplace injury, is responsible for the employee’s injury.
Workplace accidents can be reported to an employee’s supervisor or superior. A report can be made verbally, but should be followed up with an email confirming what was reported in writing. This way, the supervisor can’t claim that the employee failed to make their accident report within the required 10-day window. In the email, outline the details of the accident, when it occurred, and the physical symptoms you are experiencing as a result. Also note when you reported the incident to your employer. It is a good idea to take any pictures of the scene of the accident, as well as of the physical injuries so that you have documentation. You can include these in the email as well, along with the names of any employees who witnessed the event and could act as a witness for the insurance investigators.
File a Claim
The next step is to file a Maryland workers’ compensation claim. This can be done through the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission website’s online portal, however it is advisable to hire a Worker’s Compensation Attorney to help you submit a claim. It can also be helpful to have an attorney at this stage to help ensure that your claim is approved, and to level the playing field between employee and insurance agent. Insurance agents do this for a living and are very aware of how to avoid paying out claims, whereas employees are often just being honest about their injuries and assuming the insurance agents have their best interest at heart. Having a lawyer gives you an ally, and makes it a lot harder to ignore your claim for coverage.
After filing a claim, you may be required to see a doctor. The primary benefit of workers’ compensation is medical treatment. It’s important to attend all doctor’s appointments, as the doctors’ opinions on your condition and treatment are relayed to the insurance company. If you do not attend all of your appointments, it can create the impression that the injury must not really be that serious. Showing up, following all treatment recommendations, and playing an active role in your own recovery, all really help bolster your case and your chances of recovery generally.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have been injured in a workplace injury, you do not have to navigate the workers’ compensation insurance process alone. The experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby, LLP, serving Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Frederick, and surrounding areas, are prepared to zealously and compassionately advocate on your behalf and fight to help you get the compensation that you are legally entitled to. Call today to schedule your free consultation.