by W. James Nicoll
“Do I need a lawyer if I am hurt at work?” In Maryland, this is a question that workers’ compensation lawyers have to frequently address. The answer is not always simple and largely depends upon the facts and circumstances unique to each case. Fortunately, the contingency fee structure of Maryland’s workers’ compensation system allows injured workers to contact a potential attorney and discuss this question free of charge.
As an attorney with over seventeen years of experience assisting injured workers in Maryland, instead of answering the question with a “yes” or “no,” I answer by advising a potential client of the many issues that may arise during a workers’ compensation claim that require strong knowledge of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Often times when I first speak to a potential client, he or she is not aware of all the benefits afforded to an injured worker under the Act. What follows is a brief summary of just a few issues I discuss with my workers’ compensation clients.
Many workers in Maryland live paycheck to paycheck. Therefore, when a worker loses time from work as a result of a serious injury/accident, being able to pay bills on a timely basis may become a major source of stress to the injured worker. Maryland law provides that an injured worker is entitled to wage loss benefits during the period of time that the worker is in active medical treatment and unable to work. The benefit is known as “temporary total disability” (TTD). Importantly, the injured worker needs to know that TTD is not paid at 100% of the worker’s wage. TTD is only paid at two thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. When a client is expected to miss a significant amount of time from work due to injury, the attorneys at Jenkins, Block and Associates bring this issue to our client’s attention early on so that the client can attempt to plan accordingly as financial stresses are a common result of significant workplace accidents.
“Does my employer have to hold my job if I am unable to work because of a workplace injury?” A significant on the job accident may not only lead an injured worker to losing wages, but the accident may also result in the worker losing his job. This is a difficult pill to swallow for long time employees who have a good relationship with their employer. Maryland Workers’ Compensation law does NOT require an employer to hold an employee’s job while an employee is unable to work as a result of a workplace accident. Jenkins, Block and Associates’ workers’ compensation attorneys work with our clients to maintain good communication between the client and his employer in hopes of maintaining a good employer/employee relationship following an accident. It should be goal of all parties in a workers’ compensation claim to get the employee back to work at his pre-injury position in as timely a manner as possible. Issues that arise when an injured worker is unable to return to his pre-injury position will be addressed in a later blog.
We have four offices across Maryland and Virginia with trained legal professionals ready to assist you. Please CALL US at 1-800-243-2439 to be directed to the closest Jenkins Block & Associates location to you.