If you suffered an occupational illness or injury, you may be eligible for Maryland workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits include medical treatment, compensation for wage loss, and other financial assistance. To start your claim, you will need to report your injury to your employer and file a formal claim with the state.
In Maryland, most employers must have workers’ compensation coverage—either by purchasing a workers’ comp policy from a private insurance company or by receiving certification from the state to self-insure. (In general, only large, financially stable employers will qualify to self-insure.) The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commissionoversees all workers’ comp claims in the state.
Like all other states, Maryland has a no-fault workers’ compensation system. You do not need to show that your employer acted carelessly in order to receive benefits. As long as your injury happened on the job or was caused by your work activities, you will typically be eligible for benefits.
Eligible workers may receive a variety of benefits, including:
To learn more about these benefits, Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits.
Notifying your employer is the first step to starting a workers’ compensation claim. In Maryland, you should immediately notify your employer of your work-related injury. If you fail to give notice within ten days, you may lose your right to collect benefits. For most injury claims, notice may be made orally or in writing. However, written notice is best because it documents the date you requested benefits.
If you are diagnosed with an occupational illness, the Maryland notice rules are different. You must provide written notice to your employer within one year of discovering that the illness is related to work. You may lose some or all of your benefits if you do not meet this deadline.
Your employer may ask you to fill out a written accident report. When completing the report, be as accurate as possible. Accident reports are frequently used as evidence in disputed claims and any inconsistencies might be used against you.
Once you give notice, your employer should contact its workers’ compensation insurance company and help you get medical treatment. In Maryland, you can choose your own treating doctor. Workers' comp will cover all reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to your work injury.
To officially begin your workers' comp claim in Maryland, you must file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within 60 days of your injury. If you miss the deadline, your claim will be allowed only if you had a good reason for the delay. However, no claims will be allowed after two years from the date of the injury.
The Commission will notify your employer and its insurance company of your claim. The insurance company will then determine your eligibility for benefits. Its investigation may involve:
Under Maryland law, the insurance company must either approve or deny your claim within 21 days. If approved, you will begin to receive wage loss payments and other benefits. Unfortunately, insurance companies deny many workers’ compensation claims. For common grounds for a denial, see Denied Workers' Compensation Claims.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you have the right to request a hearing before the Commission. Unless your claim is very simple, you should consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. The insurance company will have a lawyer and you may be at a disadvantage if you proceed without an attorney. To learn more, see Should I Hire a Workers' Comp Attorney or Can I Handle My Own Case?