Maryland Workers’ Compensation Hearings
Hearings are a part of the process in Maryland workers’ compensation cases. Hearings can be scheduled by the commission for any number of reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Employer/Insurer is contesting their liability in the case or the compensability of the worker’s injury
- The injured worker is requesting medical treatment
- The injured worker is seeking compensation for a temporary or permanent disability
Employer or Insurer Files Issues
When an employer or insurer disputes any aspect of a workers’ comp claim, the will file issues. Shortly after the claim gets filed there is an initial contesting issues period wherein the employer will state any problems they have with the case. A hearing will automatically be scheduled if the E/I files issues. Hearings can be requested after this initial period by using the appropriate forms to ask for a hearing.
Permanent Disability Ratings
A common reason for a hearing is the determination of rating for permanent disability. Permanent partial disability or PPD is when an employee has an injury that will last long after they have gone back to work or had vocational rehabilitation. Often, the worker through his or her attorney will have one rating, the insurer will have a different (lower) rating. Cases are presented at a hearing so the commission can make the appropriate determination of rating.
Hearing Format and Specifics
A hearing before the workers’ compensation commission in Maryland is a serious event, but not a particularly formal one. It is documented, on the record, and before a workers’ comp commissioner. There is not, however, a jury, nor many of the other formalities of a circuit court or district court.
The claimant generally testifies about the accident, the medical treatment received, and the current status of the injury.
Medical records are a part of the hearing. Expert testimony, where necessary, is a part of the hearing process.
It is recommended a claimant have a lawyer. A hearing can be a daunting process and not one to be done without representation.