Serving Clients across Maryland for More Than 65 Years
Whether you’re dealing with severe back pain from repeated lifting or suffering from an illness caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals or asbestos, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill for injuries incurred while on the job. Serious workplace injuries can lead to extensive medical bills, hospital visits, and the cost of prescriptions. By filing a workers’ compensation claim, you can receive the financial assistance you deserve while you recover from your injuries or illness.
If you’ve made the decision to file for workers’ compensation and you don’t know where to begin, or you’ve already filed but your employer isn’t cooperating, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help.
The Landover workers’ compensation lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have years of experience serving hard-working residents of Maryland. Your lawyer will act as your advocate, negotiating with your employer’s insurance company or representing you in court to ensure you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
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Workers’ Compensation Benefits
By winning your workers’ compensation settlement, you may be able to receive benefits for:
- Hospital visits
- Medication or prescriptions
- Medical care and nursing services
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Medical appliances such as crutches or wheelchairs
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Who Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation is designed to ensure hard-working employees at most companies don’t have to face the financial burden of unexpected medical bills for injuries or illnesses earned at the workplace. Not everyone who is working for a business or individual is eligible. For example, independent contractors or domestic workers who only work a certain number of hours a week may not be able to file. The best way to find out if you may be eligible is to reach out to a workers’ compensation lawyer who is familiar with Maryland workers’ compensation law. Following a consultation, they’ll be able to let you know your options for receiving assistance with your medical bills.
With that said, there are a number of injuries that could lead to a claim from an employee, including any injuries or illnesses involving the following:
- Accidents on a construction site
- Ladder fall accidents
- Back or neck injuries
- Car ortrucking accidents while on the job
- Exposure to hazardous materials
- Exposure to asbestos
- Accidents caused by defective workplace equipment or machinery
- Workplace fires or explosions
If you or a loved one has suffered from any of the injuries above or any other on-the-job injury, you may be entitled to compensation, not only for your treatment but also for any income or wages you may lose during the recovery period.
How Can a Work Injury Lawyer Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claim?
You may have heard that you don’t always need a lawyer in order to be awarded workers’ compensation benefits—and that’s the truth. Not every injury or scenario requires the legal expertise that a workers’ compensation lawyer can provide.
If you have a small injury, such as a sprained wrist that requires treatment and time spent away from work, you may be able to file your claim and receive compensation for your treatment without contest from your employer. Even so, though it is not required that you have a workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you, you may still want to hire an attorney to ensure your best interests are met. A workers’ comp lawyer who has experience working with injured employees in Maryland will know how much compensation you should expect for your case and can fight to ensure you receive that amount.
Workplace accidents that lead to more serious injuries often require the employer’s insurance company to pay out more money for the claim. In addition to the employee needing more extensive treatment, they may take a longer time to recover, meaning the insurance company is responsible for paying for wage reimbursement during that time.
Due to the amount of money involved for these cases, it’s in your best interest to hire a professional workers’ compensation lawyer for your serious work injury claim.
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we represent injured workers who have suffered serious on-the-job accidents and injuries, as well as those navigating complex workers’ comp issues, such as:
- Denied Claims: Even employees who have a legitimate workers’ compensation claim are sometimes denied by their employers after filing. Some insurance companies encourage businesses to do this because the employee is unlikely to fight against the denial. In most cases, the injured employee will assume they were denied for a clear reason and, without a full understanding of their rights, drop the issue. This is where an experienced legal professional can help. With full knowledge of workers’ compensation laws, an attorney can help you appeal the denial so you can start receiving compensation for your injuries as soon as possible.
- Employer Retaliation: If you’ve filed for a workers’ compensation claim and shortly afterwards, your employer fires you, demotes you, or cuts your hours, you have the right to seek justice in court. Maryland employees who have been fired after filing for workers’ compensation don’t have to give up the fight. With a legal representative at your side, you can gather the evidence you need to not only prove the wrongdoing of your employer but to also receive the compensation you deserve.
- Partial Compensation Offers: Filing a claim after a workplace injury does not automatically mean you’ll be awarded all of the compensation you ask for. If your job’s insurance company only offers you a partial settlement that doesn’t cover the full extent for your medical treatments, prescriptions, and lost wages, your workers’ compensation lawyers can negotiate with the insurance company to increase your chances of receiving the financial assistance you need for your recovery.
- Permanent Compensation: Some workplace injuries result in an employee being unable to return to work. This means they may be entitled to lifetime compensation in the form of a lump sum or weekly installments. As previously stated, the more expensive a claim is for the employer’s insurance company, the harder they will fight to reduce the amount of compensation you receive or the duration of your payments. Even so, a lawyer who understands workers’ compensation claims can argue your case and negotiate for permanent disability benefits.
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Can an Attorney File a Workers’ Compensation Claim on My Behalf?
The process of filing your workers’ compensation claim should start shortly after you first receive your injury or as soon as you notice it. Each state has a deadline for when these types of workplace injuries should be reported, so you’ll want to file a report as soon as possible to ensure there are no delays or issues with receiving your payments.
The state of Maryland separates workplace injuries into two categories: accidental injuries and occupational diseases. There is a set deadline for reporting each of these types of injuries to your employer. Accidental workplace injuries are for incidents that occur during your normal course of work. If you’ve fallen off a ladder while working on a construction site or you’ve broken your hand while using faulty work equipment, then these scenarios apply. Occupational diseases are illnesses that occur from exposure to dangerous chemicals or asbestos while on the job.
For accidental injuries, you must give your employer an official notice within 10 days of the incident and for occupational diseases, you have one year. In Maryland, it is legal to give an oral notice for accidental injuries, but the best way to ensure there is written record that you reported your injury is to craft a letter or email. Your workers’ comp lawyers can help you to ensure you include all of the information your employer may need to know, including your name and address, as well as the time, place, cause, and result of the accident. After you’ve written your notice, you and your supervisor will sign it.
It’s important to report your injury to your employer before filing an official claim. Failure to meet the deadline could make you ineligible for benefits or result in your compensation being reduced. In addition, giving your employer notice within a timely manner could mean you receive compensation a lot soon and can start the recovery process as soon as possible.
Deadlines for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Maryland
Once you’ve given your employer proper notice, there is yet another deadline for filing your workers’ compensation claim. For both occupational diseases and accidental injuries, there is a two-year deadline for filing claims. If a loved one has passed away due to a workplace injury or accident, their surviving family members have 18 months to file a claim for their wrongful death.
Reapplying for Workers’ Compensation
Even if you’ve been through a workers’ compensation settlement in the past, it doesn’t mean you’re unable to receive compensation in the future. You can have your case reopened if your condition has worsened over time as long as you re-apply within five years of the initial incident.
Types of Benefits Available for a Workplace Injuries
No matter if you have a serious physical injury or an illness from exposure to asbestos, a workers’ compensation settlement can help you receive the financial assistance you need to recover from your injuries or improve your condition. Employees who have been injured on the job in Maryland are able to receive temporary disability benefits or more long-term coverage, depending on their situation and the severities of their injuries.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are awarded to employees with minor injuries that will only take them 14 days or less to recover from. During this time, you’ll receive compensation for any hospitalization, treatment, or prescription expenses. Since your injuries are only temporary, it’s unlikely that you’ll also be awarded compensation for lost wages during this time. However, if your injuries cause you to miss work for more than 14 days, then wage reimbursement is a possibility.
There are two ways that your temporary disability benefits can be terminated. Once you reach a point that you can return to work in some capacity, these benefits are no longer necessary. The other scenario is if, even though you haven’t fully recovered to your pre-injury condition, your medical care provider believes you have reached the maximum level of medical improvement.
Employees suffering from severe workplace injuries may be entitled to long-term—or even permanent—compensation for their treatment and livelihood. Permanent disability benefits allow employees with injuries that render them unable to work to receive the medical care they need indefinitely without fear of draining their personal finances. These types of cases can be complex, especially if the employee is also receiving Social Security benefits or government assistance. If you’d like to learn more about your options for long-term workers’ compensation, reach out to a workers’ compensation lawyers today to discuss your claim.
Wage Reimbursement Benefits
If your illness or injury requires you to miss a lot of time at work, you may be able to receive compensation for lost wages in addition to the money you receive for your medical expenses. Wage reimbursement allows you to continue to support yourself and your family even when you miss work during your recovery period.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
You’ve worked in a particular profession all your life, but when a serious workplace injury renders you unable to continue this line of work, you may not know where to turn. Depending on your situation, you may be entitled to compensation for any vocational rehabilitation you may need. This means that you can gain job training experience in a new skill so you can move forward on a new career path.
Consult with an Attorney at Our Firm about Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
The stress of getting injured at work is bad enough without having to worry about unexpected medical expenses during your recovery. Let a seasoned workers’ compensation lawyer help you receive the benefits you deserve.
Ashcraft & Gerel is proud to represent workers in Landover, Maryland. The workers’ compensation lawyers at our firm look forward to consulting with you about your case.