Alot of the daily work a Maryland Workers Compensation attorney does is behind the scenes.
Maryland Workers Compensation Attorneys ordinarily stay quite busy behind the scenes despite what many assume. It is not unusually for a workers compensation attorney to be questioned as to exactly what tasks and work they are performing other than going to court. While court appearance do consume much of the attorneys’ time there are numerous other responsibilities that work injury lawyers must undertake.
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Workers Compensation Hearings and Court appearances
Depending on the particular comp case hearings at the commission level may be regular for any one client. If the adjuster or defense attorney is particularly difficult on that case the need for a hearing could be necessitated every three months. The need for a hearing may arise when medical treatment is not being authorized, lost wages have been cut off, pain management has been terminated, vocational rehabilitation is being sought, permanency money is being sought, or a number of other reasons. Along with hearings at the commission level there may be times the attorney is handling a Maryland workers compensation appeal. Appealed cases enter the judiciary system and take on a whole different nature than those workers compensation cases at the administrative level. Appeal may require the lawyers presence at mediations, arbitration, depositions, pre-trial conferences, settlement conferences, circuit court hearings and court trials. See Definitions page
As a good rule of thumb and a very basic estimate, any one of the above appearances will not only take a few hours to prepare for but will also take a few hours to attend and conclude.
Documents the Maryland workers compensation attorney must obtain, review, and forward
The need for medical records is paramount to any workers compensation case. They create the foundation of the claim and are the necessary support for ongoing treatment and lost wages. Because of this Maryland workers compensation attorneys are constantly requesting medical records on an ongoing basis. Most medical facilities do not send ongoing and updated medical records so the onus is on the lawyer to request medical records regularly. The process of obtaining a single set of records can take more than one month and often require follow up calls and requests.
Once these medical records are obtained the work injury lawyer should review the records to ensure that there is no notes that will affect the case but also to ensure that there is no outstanding medical prescriptions or recommendations that have fallen out of sight. Depending on the complexity of the injury or injuries a set of medical records can vary in size from one or two pages to several hundred pages. A copious review of medical records can take hours.
It is the work injury lawyers responsibility to keep in contact with numerous parties involved in the case. Not only should regular correspondence be sent to the injured worker but the injured worker should verbally communicate with the attorney regularly so as to provide updates and ask questions.
For a number of reasons the attorney may be required to communicate with multiple other parties involved in the case. This can include correspondence to the work comp adjuster, the defense attorney, medical providers, vocational rehabilitation experts and medical experts. On any given day a Maryland workers compensation attorney is having phone conversations, email conversations, and even digital text messages to these parties. It is not unusual for a work injury lawyer to spend several hours on the phone each day.
Under Maryland law any medical record that is obtained by either party must be provided to the opposing party. This means that the attorney must make copies of every medical record and forward the same to the opposing party. Not only are Maryland workers compensation attorneys required to send medical records to the opposing party but it is often necessary to forward medical records to other medical providers, vocational counselors, the workers compensation commission, and other insurance companies.
Agreements of Final Compromise and Settlement
If there is any document that deserves a thorough review it will be the settlement documents that are drafted in a Maryland workers compensation case. Work injury lawyers must regularly review settlement documents to make sure that the language accurately reflects what the client expects out of the settlement. Not only do calculations determining the bottom line compensation pay matter but language addressing the intent of the parties regarding future and past medical treatment.
Within the settlement paperwork there will also be form documents the the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission requires to be submitted in every settlement. These must be accurately filled out and submitted otherwise the settlement may be denied. See the settlement process.
Drafting Legal Documents
There are numerous documents that work injury lawyers are required to draft on a regular basis. The most common of which are form documents. These can be found on the Maryland Workers Compensation website and are usually quick and easy to fill out however particular prudence must be exercised when doing so for their are some risks with inaccurate statements or requests. Whenever a hearing arises exhibit packets will be used. These will require a comprehensive review of the file with the intention of including documents in the exhibit packet that are pertinent to the specif hearing issues. In addition and as previously mentioned correspondence is a common document drafted. The attorney may be required to draft pleadings, motions, and discovery documents such as interrogatories, requests for admission of facts, and requests for production of documents.
It is necessary for the client and the work injury attorney to communicate on a regular basis. This may mean once a month, every two months, every three months, or may mean weekly for a particular duration of the case. When a work injury attorney is retained it should be discussed as to how often the client should contact the lawyer in order to keep him updated but also how often the client should expect to be contacted.
Research & Continuing Legal Education
As a Maryland work injury lawyer becomes more experienced the need to do research on particular scenarios or law will diminish. However on occasion a unique situation will arise that requires even the most rehearsed workers compensation attorney to do some research.
Continuing Legal Education (CLE) can be time consuming but is necessary for attorneys. While this is often done on “personal” time the need to attend CLE is indefinite in the profession.