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Contact Schifanelli Law, LLP at 410-263-0028 for an initial consultation with a Lawyer in Annapolis.
2450 Riva Road, Suite 201, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
Serving the Maryland and Washington D.C. Communities.
If you have an accident at work that results in injury, Maryland law precludes you, in most instances, from suing your employer in a court of law. Rather, you must bring any formal claim for lost wages, medical expenses, or other worker's compensation benefits to the Maryland Worker's Compensation Commission. This administrative claim process can be complicated, and many times the employer or its worker's compensation insurance company will object to any benefits being paid to you or on your behalf. If this is the case, then your matter involving an injury or occupational disease that you suffered at, or as a result of, your employment will be presented to a Commissioner at a worker's compensation hearing. (See, How to File a Maryland Worker's Comp Claim)
One of the first issues to be considered could be whether you suffered an injury at work that is actually "compensable," i.e. covered by Maryland Worker's Compensation laws. Most injuries and employees are covered for injuries that arise out of and in the course of their employment, but there are still come grey areas, for example if you are a "true" contractor or "casual employee." (See, Am I Covered?) Or, determining exactly how much you were earning at the time you were injured at work, and whether you should receive compensation for lost wages. The employer/insurer can also challenge whether any of the medical services that you have already received, or that doctors believe you should receive, as reasonable, necessary or related to your work place injury. That is, whether the employer should be required to pay those bills.
Other issues that a Commissioner may hear and subsequently issue a ruling include the "nature and extent" of any permanent impairment or permanent disability that you may have as a result of your injury at work. (See permanent impairments and disability) After a hearing on that issue, a Commissioner will issue an order requiring the employer/insurer to compensate you for your permanent condition or loss.
Once the Worker's Compensation Commissioner issues a final order regarding any of the above issues, the right to appeal accrues. A party wishing to appeal has thirty (30) days after the order is mailed to appeal. (Appeals of orders issued by the Worker's Compensation Commission are addressed in the Maryland Labor and Employment Article of the Maryland Code, sections 9-737, et. seq.).
Schifanelli Law, LLP
Maryland Worker's Compensation Laws provide for judicial review of a final order of a Maryland Worker's Compensation Commissioner. Specifically, the employer, the covered or injured worker, a dependent of a covered worker, "or any other interested person aggrieved by a decision of the Commission," may appeal a decision of the Commission. This includes Maryland worker's compensation attorney's who represent claimant's and appeal a Commissioner's ruling regarding attorney fees.
As with most laws, however, there are exceptions regarding who can appeal. For example, if you were injured on the job and filed a claim for compensation benefits, but you didn't appear at a scheduled hearing and produced no evidence, you may be precluded from filing an appeal of any decision or order rendered at that hearing (although you may have an opportunity to reopen your worker's compensation case and reschedule a hearing).
An appeal from the Worker's Compensation Commission is usually filed with the appropriate Circuit Court where venue is proper. The Circuit Court has very broad authority to review the Commissioner's "findings of fact" as well as any applicable laws. This authority provides for a trial "de novo," including trial by jury to determine issues of compensability and nature an extent of any permanent impairment or disability.
We have represented injured workers in Maryland appeal cases to the various Circuit Courts, and have succeeded in overturning the findings and decisions of the Maryland Worker's Compensation Commission, including instances where the Commission found that the worker wasn't entitled to compensation because her injury "didn't arise out of and in the course of employment."