When you have been injured while working on the job, you may want to seek the help of a Baltimore workers comp lawyer. You may be able to recover benefits by filing a claim with your employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier. Many people have the mistaken belief that workers' compensation is only available to those who are suddenly injured in a workplace accident, but workers' compensation covers many additional types of work injuries, including ones that happen over time due to repeated motions or repeated physical stressors. Additionally, people who develop certain illnesses or conditions may also be covered if the contracted condition was due to a workplace exposure. Those who suffer psychological damage may also be able to recover. To be able to recover for any of these, however, the injury or condition must be related to the work.
Determining whether your injury is a work-related one necessitates consideration of a couple of factors that your Baltimore workers comp lawyer will explore. Generally, your injury will be covered if it occurred during the course of your employment. Recently, courts have expanded the definition to include those that occur during work-affiliated activities, such as play on an employer's sports team. In one case out of Michigan in 1990, a man's alcoholism was found to be eligible for coverage. He worked for a brewery that provided employees with free beer during their breaks, and he began drinking between 15 and 20 beers each day while working and more when he went home. There are limits in place as well, however. Another case out of California denied coverage to a lawyer who fell off of his bicycle. He had claimed that he had been thinking about cases and thus should be covered 24 hours a day. The court denied his claim.
When You Are Partly at Fault
Generally, it does not matter if you were at fault in causing your injury if it happens during the course of your employment. In Maryland, for example, your employer's claim that you were intoxicated at the time of the accident will not bar your claim, unless your intoxication was the sole cause of the accident. If your injury occurred due to your getting into a fight, however, your claim will likely fall outside of what is considered to be a work-related activity and thus to be denied. In most cases, courts have normally sided with employees who were partly to blame as long as their behavior was not the sole cause of their injury. If you have been injured as a result of one of your coworkers' violent behavior, you may also receive workers' compensation benefits in Maryland.
Repetitive Motion Injuries and Workers' Compensation
Repetitive motion injuries are those caused by repeated movements over time. These are some of the most commonly occurring work-related injuries, and they are eligible for workers' compensation coverage. A very well-known example is carpal tunnel syndrome, which affects the wrists, hands, and fingers of workers who must spend a significant amount of time typing on computers. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not the only repetitive stress injury, however. Other body parts can also be affected with frequent repetitive movements. When these injuries are caught early on, they are normally easy to treat with medication, a period of rest, and exercise. If they have been allowed to progress for a significant period, however, they may instead lead to lifelong debilitating disabilities.
Stress Injuries and Workers' Compensation
Stress-related injuries are increasingly being recognized as being ones that should be covered by workers' compensation. These injuries include psychological stress from work or medical problems, such as digestive ones, that are due to stress. If you have witnessed a traumatic event during the course of your job and have developed post-traumatic stress disorder, you may receive benefits. Gradual stress that occurs over time may or may not be covered, and coverage will depend on the facts of your case. Studies have clearly shown that almost 66 percent of doctor visits are due to the effect of stress on the body, and stress has also been shown to have a major role in developing cancer or having a heart attack. Your Baltimore workers comp lawyer can review your case in order to provide guidance on whether coverage is likely if yours is one based on stress. You can also expect that your employer will offer reduced working hours and other accommodations if your stress is disabling.
Occupational Illnesses and Diseases
If you contract a disease or illness that is connected to your job, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. In certain high-stress jobs, such as police work, occupational illnesses may include such things as hernias and heart attacks. Workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals may also lead to the development of covered conditions, as can exposure to fibers from asbestos and other inhalants that can lead to respiratory diseases and cancer. Other commonly occurring conditions that can develop due to exposure are those involving work-related hearing losses due to loud noise exposure occurring over time. In occupational illness claims, medical documentation is normally required that shows a clear connection between the work performed and the resulting condition.
Death of Employee at Work and Workers' Compensation
When an accident at work occurs and an employee is killed, the employee's spouse or children may seek workers' compensation benefits from the employee's employer. These benefits can provide coverage for the medical expenses and funeral and burial costs for the employee. They additionally may provide for the payment of monthly benefits of a percentage of the employee's former income on an ongoing basis. When an employee dies at work and is later found, coverage is normally available, even if there was no apparent accident. Courts have normally granted benefits to families even in cases in which the person may have committed suicide or have been murdered, unless there is good evidence that one or the other occurred.
Contact a Baltimore Workers Comp Lawyer for Help
Workers' compensation laws are in place in Maryland to provide protection for people while they are working. Under these laws, all employers in the state are required to carry workers' compensation insurance coverage in order to protect their employees. When a worker has been injured or has contracted a condition (an "occupational disease") that is work-related, they may want to seek help from an attorney who is experienced with workers' compensation claims. There are many types of benefits available through workers' compensation, and an attorney may be more knowledgeable about the types of benefits to seek through the claim. In this way, an attorney may be better-positioned to help maximize their clients' recovery of benefits. In the event a filed claim is denied or disputed by the employer or their insurance carrier, an attorney may then take the matter to hearing before an administrative law judge or hearing officer. They may then help by litigating the matter fully in order to help their client be ultimately successful.
Thank you, James Lee Katz
Hi. This is Jim Katz. I've helped injured people as a trial lawyer in Maryland for more than 35 years. My clients have obtained millions of dollars in insurance company settlements, court and jury verdicts, and workers' compensation awards during that time. My clients tell me they like that my more than three decades of experience as a personal injury lawyer gives them competent representation, and the peace of mind of knowing they have the best chance to get what they deserve.
Please call me at 443-394-0900 (800-564-7808 toll free) to talk about how I can help you!