Workers Sometimes Wonder Whether They Should File a Maryland Workers Comp Claim
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A lot of questions and thoughts may arise regarding whether or not an injured Maryland worker should go as far as to file a claim. How to file the Maryland workers comp claim, and whether the severity of the injury requires a claim to be filed are two of the first few questions that may arise.
Should You File a Maryland Workers Comp Claim?
More often than not the severity of an injury dictates whether a person files a Maryland workers compensation claim. Most employees do not go as far as to consider filing a claim for something as minor as a paper cut or a splinter. I can not state whether they are right by acting this way, but can only offer some insight.
If the injury is serious enough that it could turn into a problem requiring medical treatment a claim should be filed.
This is a very broad statement but one must consider the scenario, albeit rare, of the employee who has a minor cut on their leg or arm which develops into an infection. One particular case comes to mind of a worker who cut his leg on a piece of metal at work. He later developed an infection, MRSA, and required multiple hospital stays. With a potential hospital bill of over $10,000 it may be prudent for one to file a claim for a minor cut.
Another such example, an injury on the more severe side, is a loyal construction worker of 36 years who injures her low back when operating a piece of heavy machinery. It was her belief that the claim was filed as she had been speaking with the insurance company. The claim, however was never filed with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission. Three years after the accident she required emergency neck fusion surgery which lead to over $200,000 in medical bills and being permanently disabled. The claim was barred by the statute of limitations because she did not file a proper and timely claim.
The infection case and the fusion case are two cases that may be considered unusual but I do not have statistics to indicate the same. They should serve as hypothetical scenarios that could arise should an injured Maryland worker choose not to file a claim for their injury.
If the injury is one that does not require any medical attention and will not require medical attention in the future than it may be ok to not file a Maryland workers comp claim.
The problem with this statement being a guide to your decision is that it is impossible to determine if future treatment will be needed. If an injured worker decides not to file a claim there is a certain risk, however slight or large, that physical problems develop in the future.
If you are leaning towards not filing a claim it is best to consult one or many Maryland Workers compensation attorneys for free consults. It will not hurt to get multiple opinions especially when they are free!
Legal Obligations & Filing a Maryland Workers Compensation Claim
An injured worker will not be physically forced to file a claim through Maryland workers compensation however there are some legal obligations on doctors, insurance companies and the injured worker. (See also, My boss wants me to use health insurance.) If an injury occurred at work then the treating doctor is obligated to bill through workers comp insurance. An injured worker should be sure to tell their treating doctor how the injury happened and often this information alone makes it a workers comp rather than health insurance claim.
Injured workers often opt to use health insurance rather than deal with a workers compensation insurer. Health insurers are not required to pay for work injuries and will often deny approval, or seek reimbursement. If the law puts liability on the workers compensation insurer than health insurance should not be expected to pay the bill.
Often, when first discussing their injury with doctors, injured employees decide to leave out the part about being injured while working. This can result in weakening the workers comp case should the injured worker later decide to file with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission. This could also result in difficulty with medical bills and reimbursements.
There is a Proper Way to File a Workers Compensation Claim in Maryland
When filing a Maryland workers compensation claim it is important that the claim is filed properly. One of the, if not the most, important thing to keep in mind when filing a claim is that one must be filed with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission. Filing with only the workers comp insurance company is not enough to protect your rights!