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.
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.
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 attorneys today at (410) 694-7291 to set up a free, no-obligation case consultation and learn more about your options.