Workers Compensation - Frequently Asked Questions
- Does it matter what type of injury I suffered?
- Does it matter how many hours I work per week?
- Who pays for these benefits?
- Can any lawyer handle the claim?
- How do you determine the value of my claim?
- Can I sue my employer for my injuries on the job?
- How long do cases typically take to resolve?
- Should I cooperate with the insurance company?
- Do I have to see the doctor for the insurance company?
- Should I give a recorded statement?
- How will my entitlement to social security disability be affected by Workers Compensation?
- Should I apply for social security disability?
- What Should I do If I am Injured in a Work Related Accident?
1. Does it matter what type of injury I suffered?
Since these types of cases are subject to statutory interpretation, it may matter what type of injury you suffered. Each case is unique and should be discussed in light of what is covered under the workers compensation statute. You must have a compensable injury. Most statutes require that you have an accidental personal injury or occupational disease arising out of and in the course of your employment. There are differences depending upon the jurisdiction of your injury.
An accidental injury is an event that occurs usually involving trauma such as a fall, car accident, or other type of accident. As long as the injury is found to be related to work activity, the claim should be found compensable.
An occupational disease is a condition which is shown by medical evidence to be related to the workplace and type of work performed.
2. Does it matter how many hours I work per week?
Workers compensation coverage is limited to employees. Independent contractors will not be provided benefits under the laws of workers compensation. All workers will have an average weekly wage that will be determined by the amount of earned over the past 13 weeks of the employee. Part time employees will have a lower average weekly wage than full time employees.
3. Who pays for these benefits?
Your employer has either contracted for workers compensation insurance or is self insured. The insurance company will pay for all benefits.
4. Can any lawyer handle the claim?
Anyone licensed to practice law is certainly allowed to represent you on your claim. You should have a workers compensation lawyer handle your claim. Our attorneys are familiar with the medical aspects of most cases and are also familiar with the practices and procedures of the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and District of Columbia Office of Workers Compensation.
5. How do you determine the value of my claim?
Primarily the value of the claim depends on the nature and extent of the injuries involved, need for surgery, amount of medical bills, length of treatment, need for future treatment, lost wages past and future, non economic loss such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, embarrassment, mental anguish, loss of consortium. The degree of permanency is also a factor in any award. Each case will have a different value depending upon an evaluation of the aforementioned factors. One of our workers compensation attorneys can help you determine the value of your claim.
6. Can I sue my employer for my injuries on the job?
In most cases, the answer is no. Most employers must provide workers compensation insurance coverage that will cover injured workers for injuries on the job. Most employers are protected from civil exposure because they provide workers compensation coverage.
7. How long do cases typically take to resolve?
Once you have completed treatment, we will try to resolve your case with the insurance company. The length of your treatment will depend upon the severity of your injury, your age and physical condition and how you respond to treatment. Your case cannot be resolved until after your treatment has concluded. If we need to go to the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission or the District of Columbia Office of Workers Compensation and have a hearing, it usually takes 2- 3 months to get a hearing depending upon the circumstances.
8. Should I cooperate with the insurance company?
As with most personal injury cases, you should cooperate with the insurance company only through the services of an experienced workers compensation attorney. You should not sign any of the insurance company forms or give a recorded statement without the advice of a workers compensation attorney. All correspondence with the insurance company should be made through your workers compensation lawyer.
Usually, the Employer/Insurer is entitled to investigate the injuries claimed and are also entitled to an independent medical evaluation.
10. Should I give a recorded statement?
Generally No. By giving a recorded statement, you are only creating another avenue for the attorney for the insurance company to impeach your testimony. Anything you say in the recorded statement will be used against you in a future proceeding. Any recorded statement should only be provided under the supervision of your own workers compensation attorney.
11. How will my entitlement to social security disability be affected by Workers Compensation?
If you are receiving social security disability as a result of your injuries and other conditions, any award for disability from the workers compensation commission will likely reduce your entitlement to social security.
12. Should I apply for social security disability?
You should apply for social security disability once you have been advised that you will likely be out of work for at least 1 year. Your work history has earned credits with the Social Security Administration and you must have a minimum number of credits to be eligible for social security disability benefits. The longer you wait to apply for workers compensation benefits, the more risk you are running that you may fall short on credits.
13. What Should I do If I am Injured in a Work Related Accident?
The law offices of Foran & Foran handles workers compensation throughout Maryland.
- After the accident, immediately notify your supervisor of the facts of the accident and your injury. Your claim may be barred if you do not give proper notice to your employer.
- Gather as much information as possible and bring it our office including photos of the scene, witness information and all medical providers names and addresses.
- If injured, immediately go to the emergency room or to your private physician for proper medical treatment. Do not prolong treatment just for purposes of a legal case. Once you are feeling better, or your physician recommends discharge, please call us so that we can obtain the final reports from your doctor. Make sure that each medical provider realizes that your bill will be paid by the workers compensation insurance carrier for your employer.
- Our workers compensation lawyers will need to know the full extent of your compensation including all benefits and tips. Your employer will present and average weekly wage figure to the Workers Compensation Commission based upon your earnings. We will need to verify that this figure is correct.
The legal information on this site is not intended to be legal advice. Contact one of our experienced workers compensation attorneys or lawyers today to get specific information and answers for your specific situation.