While there some cases of workers compensation fraud, in which a claimant fakes injury to secure disability payments, there are also cases of employers or insurers who attempt to cheat workers out of compensation for actual injuries.
It's always a good idea to know your rights when you are injured on the job and to prepare for any dispute that may occur should a conflict arise concerning the validity of your claim.
When should you report an injury that occurs while you are working?
Although you have ten days to report an injury that occurs while you are performing work-related activities, you should notify a supervisor as soon as possible. This is especially true if there were witnesses to the incident that caused the injury.
If possible, note the time, exact location, and the actions being performed when you were injured, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses to the event.
The injury report can be submitted verbally or in writing, but must be received within the ten day limit.
Reporting an occupational disease
You have one year after you find out that you've contracted a work-related disease to report the information to your employer.
Who is considered a covered employee under Maryland law?
Any regular employee or apprentice is considered eligible for workers' compensation. The size of the company doesn't matter, as long as there is one employee in addition to the owner.
Independent contractors are not covered, so some unscrupulous employers may claim that any injured worker is not an employee, but a contractor. However, the burden of proof is on the employer, not the worker, so the employer must then prove the validity of such a claim or the worker is legally assumed to be an employee.
What types of activities are considered work-related when workers compensation claims are sought?
If you are injured while performing work-related duties on a job site, coverage is assumed to be universal. However, there are also other areas where an injury may occur that may be eligible for compensation. These include the following examples:
Injuries on company property
You may be able to secure compensation for injuries that occur anywhere on company property, even if you are not injured in the performance of your actual duties.
Injuries during work-related travel
You may be able to file a claim if you are injured while driving a company vehicle to or from work, or driving a personal vehicle in the performance of work-related activities, such as driving home from your workplace to complete work activities at home. This arrangement cannot be spontaneous and voluntary, but an actual arrangement with your employer.
For workers' comp, contact a law firm such as John Mullen & Co.