On occasion the employer will try to avoid increased premiums by avoiding the claim being filed. Workers’ Compensation Insurance can be expensive and Employers are aware of it.
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Often a Supervisor will tell or ask the injured worker to use health insurance rather than workers comp.
This occurs often. The employee is injured on the job and is legitimately entitled to workers compensation benefits under Maryland law. A supervisor or boss has heard horror stories about workers comp premiums rising because of one injury and acts accordingly. The employer may ask the employee to use health insurance, not mention to providers the injury was at work, or often offers to pay for any medical expenses. Can you use your health insurance?
While this scenario, on its surface, seems harmless it is not a good idea to try and use health insurance when treatment should be covered under Maryland workers compensation laws. In many of these cases the employer has gone back on their word because the treatment becomes expensive. When surgery or diagnostics are performed the employer simply can not afford to pay for the treatment and stops. Not only does this leave the injured worker in a tough position, but the fabrications and misstatements along the way may have destroyed any chance of receiving workers comp benefits. If the medical reports indicate that it was not a work injury, then the chance of getting workman’s compensation benefits are reduced significantly.
Supervisors may try to pay the employee lost wages rather than using workers comp insurance. Again not a good idea.
My boss is trying to force me back to work
The longer an injured worker is out of work the more lost wages are paid. Naturally the employers expense will build up and eventually they will stop paying or attempt to force the injured back to work. If the injured employee is receiving salary or lost wages directly from the employer there are serious implications the worker must keep in mind. For one, the statute of limitations on the case is not being extended unless the payments come directly from the workers compensation insurance company. Under Maryland law after two years the injured worker could lose their right to compensation benefits.
If the insurer is paying the injured worker lost wages workman’s comp premiums rise for the employer. Because of this, employers often strongly encourage the employees to come back to work even when they are physically unable to do so. To be clear, it is best for injured workers to go back to work as soon as possible, however in some circumstances it is a medical impossibility.
How they may encourage the return to work
On at least one occasion a client of mine was driven to the doctors by her employer, and the employer insisted on being in the room when the examination took place. The employer then attempted to influence the physicians opinion as to work restrictions. Presumably, in an effort to save money. Injured Maryland workers can refuse to allow their employer in the examination room and should rightly feel like their privacy rights are being violated. Employers may also use other strategies to get the injured worker to return to work sooner than practicable.
Regularly the Employer/Insurer will assign a nurse case manager to an individuals case. The nurse will help with appointment scheduling but may also attempt to influence the treating physician. Injured workers should view nurse case mangers with a bit of skepticism to ensure they are looking out for their best interests. Again, it is important that any worker return to work as soon as possible. This will ensure job stability but will also prevent the possibility of social and psychological components effecting the injured worker.
One final note of consideration: If you are an injured employees who is getting pressure to return to work and truly feel you are not ready to return to work it is helpful to keep the lines of communication open with the employer. Even if there is pressure to return, it should not be viewed as an assault on physical health.
For a no cost consultation with Maryland workers compensation attorney Andrew Rodabaugh call +1 (410) 937-1659
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