If you are an employee who has been injured on the job, while performing a work-related function, you likely qualify for workers’ compensation. However, knowing you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits is often the easy part; it can be getting what you’re entitled to that’s a challenge.

Can I sue to recover for my workplace injury instead of filing for workers’ compensation?

If you are an employee in Maryland, the chances are high that your workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation exists as an alternative to litigation, intended to allow businesses to function without getting bottlenecked by lawsuits. The idea is that in exchange for medical treatment and paid time off to recover from your work-related injury, you forgo the right to sue. For this reason, you are generally confined to filing a workers’ compensation claim instead of a lawsuit. However, there are some exceptions.

Are all workplace injuries covered by workers’ compensation?

In order to be covered, your injury must have occurred in the course of your employment, while doing something necessary for your employment. For instance, if you got in a car accident while driving a company vehicle during working hours, but you were doing something you weren’t authorized to do (like stopping off at an arcade or bar), then your injuries will likely not be covered by workers’ compensation, as you would not have been involved in the accident but for performing a non-work-related activity.

My boss told me to “walk it off.” Now I feel uncomfortable making a report.

Businesses may try to dissuade employees from filing workers’ compensation claims for legitimate injuries in an effort to save money. Supervisors may try to pressure their subordinates into not filing claims to keep their own workplace accident statistics low. Everyone has their own motivations, but that doesn’t change what you’re entitled to. If you have suffered an injury on the job, it’s important to report it to your supervisor as soon as possible. The longer you wait to make a report, the more critically your claim will be viewed. Additionally, if you inform a supervisor verbally about your injury, follow up with an email to ensure that it is documented in writing.

Can I be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition?

Insurance companies often try to cite a pre-existing condition as a reason to deny an employee’s valid workers’ compensation claim in hopes that the employee will drop it. However, you are entitled to coverage for an injury sustained on the job and because of the job, regardless of whether you had a prior injury. For instance, if an employee had a pre-existing back injury, but had competently been performing his job as a construction worker for three years before one day injuring his back on the job while laying cement, he is still entitled to coverage, because up until the cement-laying injury occurred, his pre-existing injury had not stopped him from performing his job.

Why should I hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to advocate for you and ensure that you get the care and restitution that you are entitled to. If your employer is not taking your claim seriously, or you have unfairly been denied coverage by their insurer, it’s important to talk to a personal injury attorney today.

Schedule a free initial consultation with the personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.

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