If you develop an occupational illness or get hurt on the job in Baltimore and you find yourself unable to work, the good news is that there’s a strong chance that your employer is required to have workers’ compensation coverage and that you can receive any benefits you’re entitled to for your job-related condition. Many individuals, perhaps including yourself, may live paycheck-to-paycheck, though. This often leads prospective clients to ask our Belsky & Horowitz, LLC team when workers’ comp starts paying benefits in Maryland. Continue reading where we’ll respond to this very critical question.
What To Know About Maryland Workers’ Compensation Processing Times
There’s not one simple answer when it comes to answering how long it takes for employees to start receiving their workers’ comp benefits. That’s because there can be numerous factors that impact those timelines.
According to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC), state officials only take two days to process most claims; however, failing to fill in the required information for your employer or to sign the documentation may require you to fix the missing information and resubmit forms by standard mail only and, thus, result in delayed processing times.
Clerical errors aside, other factors that may affect claims processing times and how long it takes to receive payment include the following.
Notification of Employers
Not all workers immediately notify their employers that they’re hurt or ill right away. They may be unable to do so due to unconsciousness, being in too much pain or being too unstable of a condition that they’re unable to communicate or are carted away by emergency personnel, or something else.
Maryland law requires workers to report their injury accident to their employer within 10 days of its occurrence, either verbally or in writing. Should the injury or illness have claimed a worker’s life, family members must report it to their deceased loved one’s employer within 30 days of its occurrence. That reporting timeline increases to a full year for workers who are suffering from an occupational illness.
As you may guess, when the reporting of these injuries or illnesses to employers occurs may impact when claims processing commences.
When the Workers’ Compensation Commission Receives Notice of the Claim
Employer notification aside, injured or ill workers are subject to the following deadlines when filing workers’ comp claims:
- 60 days: This is how long injured or ill employees have to file a claim with the WCC after the onset of their condition
- 18 months: Surviving family members of a worker who suffered fatal injuries on the job have this length of time to notify the Commission of the incident to qualify for benefits
- 2 years: This is the time frame within which the surviving loved ones of an employee who died from an occupational disease must file a notice with the WCC
Typically, once a 2-year window post-injury elapses, an injured employee is no longer able to file an accidental injury claim.
The Handling of Maryland Workers’ Comp Claims Once Filed With the Commission
Self-insured employers or their workers’ compensation insurers are given 21 days to either pay benefits or dispute the claim. In instances in which they dispute the claim, the WCC will schedule a hearing on the matter within 30 days of having received the claim.
How the Extent and Length of Impairment Affect Payment of Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
It’s also worth noting that payment is disallowed in some situations altogether, so unless you’re aware of this, you might be sitting around expecting a payment that will never come. For example, an injured worker who’s apparently suffered a temporary total disability may not qualify for benefits for the first three days if the period of disability is 14 days or less. There are exceptions to this rule, which is if the individual was hospitalized, in a nursing care facility, or is deceased.
Other special circumstances like these are outlined on the WCC payment of benefits page.
Timelines To Expect in Maryland When an Employer Disputes the Workers’ Comp Claim
The Commission is responsible for entering an Order after the hearing. There’s no specific timeline for how long it may take them to handle your claim as, per the WCC, there may be other cases to process ahead of yours. While the Order is mailed to you and your employer shortly after that hearing, the responsibility to send out checks belongs to the insurer—not the Commission. Therefore, there may be a delay in processing checks on your self-insured employer’s or their insurance carrier’s end.
However, it’s important to note that the Commission limits employers or their insurers to issuing payment within 15 days of a settlement being signed. The WCC recommends that claimants represented by attorneys check with their lawyers for status updates and that unrepresented individuals do so with their employer’s insurance carrier.
How an Appeal Affects Payment Timelines in Maryland Workers’ Comp Cases
An employee who has their workers’ compensation claim denied is entitled to file an appeal within 30 days of being notified of the decision in their case. The Petition for Judicial Review gets filed either in the county circuit court where the worker resides, where the injury or illness occurred, or where the employer does business. Each of these jurisdictions may have their respective court rules, affecting how long it takes to ultimately schedule appellate hearings and for the Court to enter decisions, all of which are necessary to get to the payment stage.
What To Know About Factors Impacting Efficient Payment of Maryland Workers’ Compensation
As you can probably tell based on the many different situations described above, there is a wide range of factors, some of which have specified timelines and others that aren’t so clear, that can affect how expeditiously a claim gets processed, and a check gets cut in a workers’ comp case.
It can be challenging if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and it’s unclear as to when to expect any semblance of pay. Our experienced Baltimore workers’ comp attorneys understand the timelines you can expect and what to do if delays occur. So, please contact Belsky & Horowitz, LLC for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case and what you can expect in it now. We’ll go over when workers’ comp may start paying benefits in your specific situation and the best next steps to follow if those anticipated deadlines aren’t met.