If you were hurt at work in an accident, you might have options about how to file your claim and get compensation. Some injuries must be handled through the workers’ compensation system in Maryland, which means that your case might need to be reported through certain processes and handled by certain agencies and by filing certain forms along the way. In other cases, you could be entitled to go directly to the courts and file an injury lawsuit to help you get compensation. the Baltimore workplace injury lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras explain the timeline you have to pursue compensation, how to report your case, and which system might be best for your case.
Get help from our experienced Maryland workplace injury lawyers by calling Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291.
How Long Do I Have to Report a Work Injury for a Lawsuit in Maryland?
Many workplace injury cases in Maryland are handled under workers’ compensation. That system has very particular rules about how quickly you have to report a workplace injury, who to report it to, and how to handle the case from there. However, there are many situations where you do not need to use workers’ comp. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers handle these kinds of personal injury cases in Baltimore and throughout the state.
The rules in these cases often allow you additional time to report the injury and get the compensation you need, but these lawsuits are not available in all cases. These kinds of lawsuits are commonly available to independent contractors, people injured by third-parties at work, and those injured by assault in Baltimore or throughout the state while working.
If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit for your injuries, the “statute of limitations” for personal injury lawsuits in Maryland is 3 years. This means that, at the latest, you must file your case with the courts within 3 years of the day that the injury took place to be able to pursue your case in court.
Again, if you are attempting to file your case as a workers’ comp. claim with your employer, the injury needs to be reported sooner, usually within 10 days.
How Soon Should I Talk to a Lawyer after a Maryland Workplace Injury?
Although you might need to follow certain standards for reporting a workplace injury – and even though the law might give you a long, 3-year deadline to file your case in court – you should still speak with an attorney as soon as you can after an injury at work in Maryland.
When you are involved in a personal injury case, your attorney can begin representing you right away. This can mean getting help from the beginning with fielding settlement offers, helping you control what information you share, and helping you gather and preserve evidence for your case. If you wait and try to handle aspects of your case without a lawyer, you could end up making admissions that could be used against you in court, missing evidence that could have helped your case, and potentially hurting your case by failing to document and keep track of expenses and other evidence.
If you wait too long to contact a lawyer, your case will often be hurt in four major ways:
Evidence is Lost
First, you could end up missing out on evidence that you could have collected sooner. Security camera footage and other video of an accident is often incredible evidence in an injury case. This footage could show exactly how a Maryland workplace accident occurred and who was responsible. However, security footage is usually overwritten in just a few days. If you think there might be video of what happened, it is vital to contact the owner of the video right away and ask that it be preserved for trial. If it is not preserved, the evidence will be lost.
Witnesses Forget what Happened
Second, you could miss out on witnesses that could have helped. In many cases, there are witnesses to what happened. However, if you do not contact them and ask them to make a statement quickly, they are likely to forget what happened. By getting early statements and depositions of what happened, you can get their testimony while the incident is fresh in their mind. If you wait too long, they could forget what happened or their story could change and become unreliable.
Refiling is Time-Barred
Third, you could run into legal issues with the deadline to file. Although you have 3 years to file an injury claim, there is always a chance that you might need to refile for various reasons. If your case was filed on the wrong side of a county line or you forgot to add a defendant to the injury case, you might have to refile your case in a different court or with different defendants added to the case. If your case was filed right up against the 3-year deadline, you might be past the deadline before you or your attorney realizes the issue. That could mean losing your case before it even gets moving.
Low Settlement Offers
If you have an attorney representing you, your lawyer can handle any offers to settle or negotiation attempts from the at-fault employer or individual that injured you. This can help protect you from low-ball settlement offers, assertions that your claim has to go through an insurance system, or arguments that your case is too weak. Our lawyers can give you our professional advice and explain your rights to you, stopping any misleading statements or arguments from hurting your case or driving you to settle your claim for less than it is worth.
How to Report a Work Injury for a Claim in Maryland
Workplace injury cases in Maryland are handled under one of two systems:
- Many injuries muse be filed through workers’ compensation, where the victim receives payouts from their employer’s insurance.
- Other cases can be filed in court where the victim can pursue a lawsuit against their at-fault employer.
If you file a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries, the law in Maryland usually requires reporting your injury case within 10 days and filing your claim through the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission with a form that can be accessed on the state workers’ comp. website. You might also have to report your claim to your employer directly.
In other cases, which our Baltimore personal injury lawyers can handle, the reporting requirements might not be as concrete. Instead of having to report your claim to anyone, you can work with a lawyer and work to file the claim in court and take on the responsible parties by directly accusing them of fault and fighting to get compensation from them.
Some laws limit your ability to file a lawsuit, but most independent contractors are able to file personal injury lawsuits – which is helpful in many Baltimore construction accident cases. Additionally, injured workers in Maryland can usually file lawsuits against manufacturers of defective and dangerous products and employers or managers who intentionally cause them assault injuries. If you are confused about how to file your claim and which system you qualify for, call our lawyers immediately and we can help with either type of case.
Filing a Workplace Injury Lawsuit in Maryland
If your case can be handled through the courts, we will often focus on a few early steps in your case. First, we will research your case and discuss what happened with you so that we can build a general theory of the case and produce a “complaint” that details the facts of what happened, how your employer is at fault, and what damages you are seeking.
Second, we will file this with the courts and serve your employer with a copy of the complaint. This helps us start the case quickly and shows how serious you are about your case. Under Maryland personal injury law, you have 3 years before the case must be filed with the court. However, getting the case filed quickly can often help us gather evidence and secure subpoenas and depositions related to your case. This means securing more evidence of what happened to you to help supply proof for your case.
Moreover, we will also send letters to your employer notifying them of your intent to sue and demanding that evidence be preserved. This can help secure security camera footage and encourage other evidence preservation so that we can get subpoenas to have your employer turn over the evidence. When we have evidence of broken safety gear, video of the accident, and other proof of what happened to you, it makes proving your case simpler.
Do You Need to Prove Fault After Reporting a Workplace Accident in Maryland?
You do not need to establish that someone else is at fault for your on-the-job injury in order to recover Workers’ Compensation benefits. However, when filing a workplace injury lawsuit, you must present evidence that proves your injury occurred as the result of the defendant’s negligence.
There are many different forms of evidence that you can use to support your potential lawsuit. During a free evaluation of your claim, our Rosedale personal injury attorneys can help determine which of the following forms of evidence may be particularly useful to you:
Surveillance footage can help explain why or how your workplace accident occurred. For example, a recording from a security camera at an office building may demonstrate that you slipped and fell because of a slippery spot on the floor. Further, footage from a surveillance camera on a construction site may show that a victim was injured because of a defective tool.
You should begin searching for relevant surveillance footage as quickly as possible after suffering a workplace accident. Unfortunately, parties in control of such footage may be hesitant to cooperate. Further, they may not store the footage for very long. Guidance from our team can be highly valuable when searching for such evidence in your case.
Similar to surveillance footage, witness testimony can help demonstrate the events that unfolded before, during, and after your workplace accident. Accordingly, this form of evidence can be very valuable when seeking to establish fault.
As an example, a witness statement may assert that your on-the-job car accident happened because another motorist ran a red light. Further, witness testimony may establish that your slip and fall happened because a property owner did not fix a broken handrail on their building’s staircase.
You should always attempt to exchange contact information with potential eyewitnesses in the aftermath of your on-the-job accident. They can offer both written and oral testimony that supports your claims. We can offer support when reaching out to witnesses for their potential cooperation during the later stages of your case.
After some workplace accidents, workers who were present at the time may be asked to complete an accident report. Accident reports can provide an array of information that helps lawyers and insurance companies establish fault for their accidents. For example, an accident report may contain statements from the parties involved, statements from witnesses, and even a drawn diagram of the accident at issue. Furthermore, the employee who is responsible for completing the report may even be asked to identify what they believe to be the root cause of the accident.
Our legal team can recover and review a copy of your official accident report. Also, we can explain how its contents may affect your case.
Physical Evidence from the Scene of Your Workplace Accident
Additionally, physical evidence from the scene of your workplace accident may be useful when establishing fault. There are multiple ways that such evidence can be utilized.
First, physical evidence from the scene may help identify the at-fault party. As an example, broken glass from the scene of your on-the-job car crash may be matched with a defendant’s headlight to identify them as the responsible driver.
Additionally, physical evidence can also be used to identify factors that contributed to your workplace accident. For instance, if faulty equipment contributed to an accident on a construction site, then the equipment at issue may be brought into court to demonstrate how it was defective.
Finally, physical evidence can be very helpful when disproving a defendant’s alternative theory of fault. For example, an at-fault property owner may attempt to shift blame for your slip and fall accident by arguing that you were wearing worn shoes when you fell. In that case, you could present the shoes you were wearing at the time of your accident to discredit the defendant’s claim.
Photos from the Scene of Your Workplace Accident
Photos from the scene of your workplace accident can also help prove that the defendant is to blame. This form of evidence is used very similarly to physical evidence from the scene.
Photos from the scene of your accident can also help establish contributing factors. For instance, photos of wires strewn across the floor of your workspace may be used to demonstrate the cause of your slip and fall.
Further, photos from the scene are another form of evidence that can be used to disprove the defendant’s argument. As an example, the driver responsible for your on-the-job car crash may attempt to assert that the collision happened as the result of poor weather, as opposed to their negligence. In that instance, photos from the scene depicting clear weather may be utilized to refute their case.
You should always attempt to take photos at the scene of your workplace accident if you can. Afterwards, you should bring those photos with you to your free case evaluation.
What is the Deadline for Reporting Workplace Injuries in Maryland?
Workers’ compensation rules in Maryland often have strict reporting deadlines for injury cases. If you are going to pursue your case through that route, you might be required to file your claim within 10 days, and applications for workers’ comp. are usually due within 30 days.
If your case is being filed as a personal injury lawsuit, you might have a much longer deadline. Maryland allows victims 3 years to file their case, which means that you do not need to serve your employer or another at-fault party with your complaint and court filings right away. However, it is important to work quickly to preserve evidence and get your case filed.
In some cases, you might learn that your case is filed in the wrong courthouse or that you failed to include certain at-fault parties in the case. In these cases, you could have to refile your case to fix those issues. If you wait too long and get close to the 3-year deadline, you might end up filing your case too late and losing your claim.
It is vital to work with an attorney as soon as you can and file your case quickly to pursue damages in a lawsuit.
When you are filing a workplace injury lawsuit, it is important to only report the injuries to or discuss the case with the necessary parties. Your lawyer might advise you not to discuss the case with your employer since they will be the defendant in the lawsuit and anything that you say to them could be used as evidence against you or to contradict later statements. Before saying anything about your injury case, call a lawyer and get the legal advice you need to protect your claim.
Call Our Baltimore Worker Injury Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you were hurt at work, you might need to file a workers’ comp. claim or a personal injury lawsuit to get yourself the compensation you need. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras right away to learn more about when and how to report your claim and what processes you need to follow to get the compensation you deserve. Call our Towson personal injury attorneys today at (410) 694-7291 to set up a free, no-obligation case consultation and learn more about your options.