When you are unable to work due to serious illness or injury, every aspect of your life, from your finances to your medical condition, may suffer. It may take only one lost paycheck to completely turn your life upside down. If your injury was the result of a workplace accident or was otherwise acquired through your work duties, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Few workers truly understand just how crucial workers’ comp benefits can be to their recovery, which is why the attorneys of Belsky & Horowitz, LLC have compiled some of the most common myths about workers’ compensation in Maryland.
Myth #1: You Have To Be On-the-Clock When You Get Hurt
One of the biggest misconceptions that we hear is that workers believe they must be injured while they are clocked in at their jobs. While it is true that workplace accidents cause a significant number of work injuries, many more are the result of:
- Repetitive movements
- Non-ergonomic work setups
- Exposure to dangerous or toxic chemicals
The above can all cause injuries or illnesses to develop over time. For example, you might be at home sitting on the couch when you suddenly experience a sharp pain in your back. Although you might not immediately connect this pain to your occupation, it is often the case that chronic pain and injuries related to the work surface when not on the clock.
You can still secure workers’ comp benefits even if you did not first experience or notice your injury at work. If you are unsure how to prove that your injury is related to your job, an attorney from Belsky & Horowitz, LLC can construct a strong workers’ comp claim on your behalf.
Myth #2: You Can’t File a Personal Injury Claim
Filing for workers’ compensation benefits bars you from filing a personal injury claim against your employer and place of work. It does not, however, prevent you from holding negligent third parties liable for their actions.
You will not lose your workers’ comp benefits if you also choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against others who may have been responsible for your injuries, including:
- The manufacturer of a defective tool
- Reckless drivers
- Negligent property owners
When a third party played a role in your injuries, filing a personal injury lawsuit can be advantageous as compensation may cover additional costs that your workers’ comp benefits do not address. Workers’ compensation covers things like your lost wages, related medical bills, and disability, while a personal injury claim provides additional compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.
Myth #3: You Are Ineligible for Benefits if You Were Partially at Fault
Your role in the accident or situation that caused your injury is generally not a factor in workers’ compensation cases. Maryland’s workers’ compensation benefits are awarded in a no-fault system, so it does not matter whether the employer or the injured worker is at fault.
You are entitled to benefits if you are injured because of your job, regardless of fault. Do not allow your legal right to secure compensation to lapse because you are worried that you were at fault. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the process of securing the benefits necessary for your recovery.
Myth #4: You Can Wait To See How You Feel Before Telling Your Employer
Going to the doctor in Baltimore can be a hassle. It is not uncommon for people suffering from illnesses or injuries to put off making an appointment while they wait to see if they feel better. This tactic can not only worsen a workplace injury but may also cause you to lose out on your opportunity to file a workers’ compensation claim. You must inform your employer within:
- 10 days after an accident that causes an injury
- One year of the development of an occupational disease
Although there are exceptions to this rule that your attorney may advise you of, it is best to notify your employer of an injury or illness as soon as possible. This will allow you to file for workers’ compensation benefits sooner rather than later.
Myth #5: You Don’t Need an Attorney to File a Claim
While we’d like to think that our employers have our best interests at heart, this is rarely the case. When you report an occupational injury or file for workers’ compensation benefits, your employer and their workers’ comp insurer may do everything within their power to dispute your claim. This is why so many claims are initially denied.
An attorney will be familiar with the tactics that big insurance companies use to minimize payouts or deny claims altogether. When you are filing a claim on your own, the insurer will use every possible trick in the book to deny your claim, from running out the clock on deadlines to purposely misconstruing your words.
Having a legal advocate on your side sends a signal to the insurance company that you mean business. You know that you were harmed at work and that you deserve benefits that will financially support your recovery.
We don’t believe it is right that insurers have the power to decide whether someone’s injury is serious enough to warrant help, which is why our workers’ compensation attorneys have dedicated their careers to advocating for injured workers throughout Baltimore.
Addressing Common Myths About Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
Navigating the murky waters of a workers’ compensation claim can be overwhelming on your own. If you were injured or developed an illness as a result of your work duties, we encourage you to contact our law office to schedule a complimentary case evaluation. We’ll match you with an attorney who will explain your rights and dispel any myths about workers’ compensation in Maryland.
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