Working road construction in Baltimore is a dangerous job. Between dodging heavy machinery and performing strenuous labor, every day you encounter a new hazard. For the last several years, you have been one of the lucky ones that avoided injury. Unfortunately, that ended a few days ago when you suffered a back injury while moving heavy equipment. It did not seem that bad the day it happened, but by the next morning it was impossible to move.
Back injuries can be completely debilitating. You could be looking at very high medical bills and lost wages due to missing work. It is even possible that the injury will limit your mobility for months. When accidents happen at work, it is important to understand your rights when it comes to filing for workers' compensation benefits.
Read below for an overview of Maryland's workers' compensation laws.
After suffering an injury at work, the state requires that you inform your employer within 10 days of the injury. If you suffer an occupational disease, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, you have one year to notify your employer. Maryland will not offer coverage for intentional, self-inflicted injuries or if your accident was the result of you being intoxicated.
What does workers' comp entail?
Workers' compensation benefits include medical treatment and rehabilitation as well as wage replacement. This means that not only will workers' compensation cover your medical expenses, but you will also be entitled to compensation for lost wages due to missing work. The state limits replaced wages to two-thirds of your average weekly pay. While you can see any doctor you want, the state sets a limit as to how much the doctor can charge for your treatment.
If your doctor decides that you will no longer be able to continue working in the construction industry and recommends something less strenuous, Maryland will provide vocational rehabilitation. This will help you gain skills to find a new job in a different industry.
What happens after I file my claim?
After you file an initial claim for benefits, it is possible that the state will reject it or not approve the benefits you think you need. When this happens, you can request a hearing with the Commission. At the hearing, your attorney will provide evidence to support your claim. The evidence that the Commission requires usually includes proof of your average weekly wages, documentation, testimony from your doctor (if applicable) and, if possible, statements from your co-workers about the work environment. If the Commission still denies your claim, you can appeal the decision before the Maryland Court.
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to understand all of your rights and options. Filing for workers' compensation can be a very complicated process. Instead of trying to do it alone, contact a local Baltimore attorney to help you file workers' compensation claim for your injuries.