Filing Your Workers' Compensation Claim on Time Is Critical

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All employees are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits if they suffer from a workplace injury.

These benefits include coverage for medical expenses related to the injury, reimbursement for lost wages, and disability payments if your injury prevents you from being unable to return to work. To begin collecting your benefits, there are certain steps you need to take, some of which have very concrete deadlines. Failing to meet these deadlines could have a negative impact on your claim.

Your Employer

In addition to seeking immediate medical attention, one of the most important things you must do after being injured at work is to notify your employer. You must do this within 120 days of the injury or your claim may be denied. It is recommended that you let your employer know about your injury sooner rather than later because you will be able to provide crucial information that could help your claim. After you have notified your employer, the company’s insurance carrier has 21 days to accept or deny your claim.

Telling your employer about your injury right away makes it easier to prove that it was work related. For example, if you injure your back at work but you do not notify your employer until days or weeks later, you may have a more difficult time proving that the injury occurred while you were on the job. In addition, if you do not provide detailed, accurate information on the claim form, this could also have a negative impact on your claim.

File a Claim

The sooner you notify your employer about your injury, the sooner you will be able to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. Once the claim has been accepted, you will have access to a range of benefits that are covered by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. That means it is not necessary to use your own personal health insurance to obtain treatment for your injury. Make sure that you include detailed documentation of the incident, including the location and time of the injury, the parts of the body affected, as well as how it happened, and if there were any witnesses.

If another condition or injury develops after the initial injury was reported, it is possible to amend the description of the injury to include a new diagnosis. You will need to prove that the new injury was also work-related, which can be tricky once a certain amount of time has gone by.

What to Do if Your Claim Is Denied

It is not uncommon for the insurance company to try to deny your claim. If this happens, you will need to file a claim petition, which should include information about the injury and wage information. You have three years from the date of the injury to file a claim in court. An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can guide you through this process and address all questions and concerns that you might have. Having an experienced lawyer assist you with a denial increases your chance for a successful appeal.

One of Maryland’s “Super Lawyers,” Paul Tolzman received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Loyola University Maryland and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He was admitted to practice before Maryland Courts in 1977. Mr. Tolzman has extensive litigation experience in criminal/DUI defense. In addition, in the personal injury arena, his firm has recovered over $100 million for his clients.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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