Have Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits Been Denied?
If you have received a document titled Notice of Dispute, or are otherwise not receiving the workers’ compensation that you are due or believe you are entitled to, then your claim for workers’ compensation benefits has been denied. If you believe that your claim was valid and should have qualified you for workers’ compensation benefits you need a workers’ comp attorney. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company should have already filed your claim with the WCC, and notified them of their denial of benefits, but your attorney can tell you that for certain.
Once you request a hearing, your case will be decided by a Commissioner who, like a judge, listens to both sides of the case and determines what benefits, if any, you should receive. The Commissioner’s decision will be based on the law and facts involved in your particular case. If you are unsatisfied with the ruling, you may motion for a rehearing within 15 days of the Commissioner’s decision. This will only be granted if the Commissioner made an error in law, or if there is newly discovered evidence. The WCC has the right to deny this motion without a hearing on the motion. The Commissioner’s ruling, whether from the initial hearing or rehearing, will constitute a final decision, which can then be appealed.
Any party disagreeing with a decision of the Commission may file an appeal with the Circuit Court within 30 days of the final judgment of the Commissioner. After the first appeal to the Circuit Court, either party can appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA).
The process is daunting for an injured worker. (The process is daunting for a lawyer not used to handling workers’ compensation cases.) Just having a conversation with an attorney will not cost you a dime, and most attorneys prefer to hear the facts and merits of a claim before they decide whether or not the claim can succeed at the next phase or phases of the workers’ compensation process.
It is not necessary to get an attorney. You can represent yourself at the hearing before the WCC. Representing yourself is called going pro se. However, it is NOT recommended. Workers’ compensation law is constantly changing. In addition, it’s easier to understand for comp lawyers who spend all their time with comp. The workers’ compensation insurance company will have an attorney, if not a team of attorneys. Their job is to save the insurance company money by reducing how much money you get.
The best part about getting an attorney to help you with your case, aside from helping you win, is that you don’t have to pay the workers’ compensation lawyer a dime up front. If you hire a lawyer, the Comp Commission has fixed the attorney’s fees, generally at around 20% of the permanent partial disability amount.
If an award is made to you, the fee will be deducted from your awards and paid separately by the employer or insurance company to your attorney. For example, Warnken, LLC always handles workers compensation cases on contingency, meaning if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Due to all of the advantages of hiring a lawyer, and all of the potential disadvantages of representing yourself, there’s really no reason not to get an experienced and qualified attorney to help with your workers’ compensation case.