Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation laws in Maryland and the District of Columbia exist to help employees who are injured on the job, entitling the injured worker to medical treatment, and compensation for time off from work and permanent impairment of function.  The workers’ compensation laws in Maryland and the District of Columbia are complex and unique, and a keen understanding of these laws in imperative to maximize the benefit to the injured worker.   Attorneys Peter L. Scherr and Ben A. Ofori have this understanding, and are available to help injured workers in both Maryland and the District of Columbia.

A brief summary of the workers’ compensation claims process and benefits in Maryland and the District of Columbia follows:

Maryland:

In Maryland, an employee who is injured on the job must timely file an Employee Claim Form with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Thereafter, the self-insured employer or the employer’s insurance company may accept or contest the injured worker’s claim.  If the claim is contested, the injured worker (now a claimant) must attend a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Commission in order to have the claim accepted.  If the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company voluntarily accepts the injured worker’s claim, or the Workers’ Compensation Commission finds that the claim is compensable (orders that the claim be accepted), then the injured worker will be entitled to some or all of the following benefits, if supported:

  • Medical benefits:  The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to pay for all medical treatment which is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the worker’s accidental (on-the-job) injury.  This medical treatment includes, but is not limited to, physicians’ evaluations and treatment, physical therapy, surgery, medication, and diagnostic studies.
  • Time off from work benefits:  The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to compensate the injured worker for time off from work due to injuries.  Typically, the injured worker is entitled to be compensation at a rate of two-thirds (2/3) of the employee’s gross (pre-tax) wages, subject to a cap which changes each year.
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits:  If an injured worker is physically unable to return to full-duty employment with an employer, and the employer refuses to accommodate the workers’ permanent physical restrictions, the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company must provide vocational rehabilitation benefits to the injured worker.  Under vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is provided with the services of a vocational counselor who will facilitate the injured workers’ return to work.  These services include resume preparation, job search assistance and, when warranted, education.  While the injured worker is in vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is entitled to be paid two-thirds (2/3) of the injured workers’ pre-accidental injury wages.
  • Permanent impairment benefits:  If an injured worker has any permanent impairment due to a work-related accidental injury, the injured worker is entitled to compensation for that permanent impairment.  This entitlement exists regardless of whether the injured worker returns to work in a full-time, full duty capacity or returns to a job in which the injured worker earns more than when injured.  

If there is a dispute as to the injured worker’s entitlement to any of these benefits, either the injured worker or the self-insured employer / employer’s insurance company may request a hearing before the Maryland Workers’ Commission.  After a hearing, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission will issue a decision reflecting whether the injured worker is entitled to the disputed benefits.  Either party may appeal this decision to the Circuit Court with proper jurisdiction.

District of Columbia:

In the District of Columbia, an employee who is injured on the job must timely file an Employee’s Claim Application (OWC Form 7A) and an Employee’s Notice of Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease (OWC Form 7) with the District of Columbia Office of Workers’ Compensation.  Thereafter, the self-insured employer or the employer’s insurance company may accept or controvert (contest) the injured worker’s claim.  If the claim is controverted (contested), the injured worker (now a claimant) may request an informal conference before the Office of Workers’ Compensation or a formal hearing before the Administrative Hearings Division in order to have the claim accepted.  If the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company accepts the injured worker’s claim, or the Office of Workers’ Compensation (and the parties agree) or Administrative Hearings Division finds that the claim is compensable (orders that the claim be accepted), the injured worker is entitled to some or all the following benefits, if supported:

  • Medical benefits:  The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to pay for all medical treatment which is reasonable, necessary and causally related to the worker’s accidental (on-the-job) injury.  This medical treatment includes, but not limited to, physicians’ evaluations and treatment, physical therapy, surgery, medication, and diagnostic studies.
  • Time off from worker benefits:  The self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company is required to compensate the injured worker for time off from work due to injuries.  Typically, the injured is entitled to be paid at a rate of two-third (2/3) of the employee’s gross (pre-tax) wages, subject to a cap which changes each year.
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits:  If an injured worker is physically unable to return to full-duty employment with an employer, and the employer refuses to accommodate the workers’ permanent restrictions, the self-insured employer or employer’s insurance company must provide vocational rehabilitation benefits to the injured worker.  Under vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is provided with the services of a vocational counselor who will facilitate the injured workers’ return to work.  These services include resume preparation, job search assistance and, when warranted, education. While the injured worker is in vocational rehabilitation, the injured worker is entitled to be paid two-thirds (2/3) of the injured workers’ pre-accidental injury wages.
  • Permanent impairment benefits:  If an injured worker has any permanent impairment due to a work-related accidental injury, the injured worker is entitled to compensation for that permanent impairment.  With some exceptions, this entitlement may exist regardless of whether the injured worker returns to work in a full-time, full duty capacity or returns to a job in which the injured worker earns more than when injured.  

If there is a dispute as to the injured worker’s entitlement to any of these benefits, either the injured worker or the self-insured employer / employer’s insurance company may request an informal conference before the Office of Workers’ Compensation or a formal hearing before the Administrative Hearings Division.  After the informal conference or formal hearing, the presiding claims examiner or administrative law judge will issue a decision reflecting whether the injured worker is entitled to the disputed benefits.  Either party may appeal this decision to the Compensation Review Board.

Whether in Maryland or the District of Columbia, presenting a workers’ compensation claim is complicated and the assistance of an attorney will facilitate your entitlement to benefits.  To that end, please contact the attorneys at Futrovsky, Forster & Scherr, Chartered for representation relative to your Maryland or District of Columbia workers’ compensation claim.