In Maryland, when a claimant receives an award for permanent partial disability, they are paid based upon two factors.  Initially, they will be paid based upon the amount of weeks awarded.  Maryland has tiers which dictate that percentage of the average weekly wage which is to be paid.  In Maryland workers compensation cases, a first tier award will be paid at the rate of one-third of the claimant's average weekly wage subject to the statutory cap on a first tier award.  The statutory caps frequently change.  All rates are listed on the Maryland workers comnpensation website. click here to read more about Maryland workers compensation cases

Appeals in Workers Compensation Claims

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Appeals from decisions of the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission must be taken within 30 days of the award that was issued by the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission.  Typically, appeals are resolved in several months of the filing of the appeal depending upon the venue where the appeal was filed.  In determing whether to appeal, venue selection is a vital part of the decision making process.  Claimant's can benefit from filing an appeal if their case warrants the filing.  In most cases, expert opinion testimony will be necessary to present at the trial on appeal.  There are other important considerations including  the costs involved with pursuing the appeal.  The costs involved with expert witness fees usually cost between $2,000.00 and $4,000.00 depending upon the type of experts needed and the number of experts needed.  These expert witness fees are to cover trial testimony, deposition fees, court reporter fees, videographer fees and court costs.  Read more here   

Proposed regulations for settlements

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If you are practicing law and handle Maryland Workers Compensation Cases, you may want to follow what happens with the proposed regulations regarding settlements in Maryland cases.   The Maryland Workers Compensation Commission has released proposed regulations that will help protect Medicare's interest with regards to Settlements which involve settlement of future medical treatment.  The proposed regulations are published in the Maryland Register.  These proposals may be modified before they are enacted.  You can expect some type of additional regulations to be enacted along the lines of what has been proposed.  The objective behind these additional regulations is to help protect Medicare's interests with regards to settlements and specifically settlements of future claims for medical treatment.  These proposed regulations, if enacted, will require PRIOR approval by CMS/Medicare for cases that fall within the Medicare threshold before the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission will approve the settlement agreement.  Further, settlements that do not fall within the threshhold would need to have additional language in the agreements that support the fact that Medicare's interests have been considered and further identify the amount of the proposed settlement including apportioned future medical treatment or a formal set aside allocation.  These regulations also set forth additional evidentiary documents that must be submitted as part fo the settlement agreement which include medical evidence or an opinion that supports the amount to be set aside.  With the passage of any additional regulations it may become harder (for the Attorneys, Claimant's and Insurance Companies)to reach settlements that fall within the regulations.  

The Subsequent Injury Fund is a Statutory Fund intended to compensate claimants for their pre existing conditions.  There are strict requirements that must be met in order to obtain a recovery from the Subsequent Injury Fund. The attorney for the claimant must pay close attention to Subsequent Injury Fund liability in order to maximize their clients recovery.  The process for getting the Subsequent Injury Fund involved involves obtaining all medical documentation about the pre existing conditions of the claimant.  Usually, another "rating" will be obtained by a physician that can rate multiple body parts for pre exisitng impairments and not just the orthopedic injuries typically seen by the original doctor which performed the rating.  At the hearing, The Subsequent Injury Fund has the right to relitigate issues already determined by the Commission.  Make sure to have your case prepared to litigate every issue should it arise.  In some case, the Subsequent Injury Fund will obtain a rating which will be taken into consideration along with the ratings by the Claimant's Physicians and the Physicans chosen by the Employer. To read more about the Subsequent Injury Fund visit

Maryland Workers Compensation Lawyers.


Go cart accident

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Texas Motor Speedway was found to be negligent in an accident where a boy was driving a miniature race car in the parking lot of Lil' Texas Motor Speedway and struck another boy. Apparently the accident occurred on a paved one-fifth mile track. The injured boy suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the accident. The jury awarded $ 11 million in damages. The injured boy has very limited mobility sand brain capacity as a result of the accident. As with any business, the speedway had a duty to use reasonable care in the operation of the speedway. That did not occur. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please call one of our attorneys today for a free consultation. Maryland Injury Lawyers
Every year the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission releases new rates that are effective for injuries that occurr during that year.  All the rates for prior years and the new rates that were just released are posted on the Commission website.  These rates include rates for temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, permanent total disability.  All of theses rates are tied directly to the state maximum average weekly wage.  Maryland workers compensation rates.
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The Medicare recommendations/regulations that the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission has adopted must be considered in settlement of any claim.  That is, in any case where medical treatment will be closed as part of the settlement, that settlement agreement must take Medicare's interest in to account.  These recommendations/regulations are based upon the Medicare secondary payer act as set forth in 42 CFR $ 411. The bottom line is that all parties must take Medicare's interest into account if the settlement involves settlement of future medical treatment.  In some cases, this will require getting a Medicare set aside trust or obtaining approval from the Center for Medicare Services.  The specific recommendations are as follows:
 
If your settlement falls within the Center for Medicare services threshold, you must obtain approval from Medicare before the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission will approve your settlement.  Medicare must approve the amount being set aside for future medical treatment.  A settlement will fall under the Medicare threshold if: (1)  the claimant is a Medicare recipient and the case is settled for over $25,000 or (2)  the case is settled for over $250,000.00 with a reasonable expectation that the claimant will be on Medicare within the next 30 months.  A "reasonable expectation" is when the claimant (1) is 62.5 years of age; or (2) is currently receiving SSDI; 0r (3) has applied for SSDI; or (4) suffers from end stage renal disease.
 
The Maryland Workers Compensation Commission will not approve the settlement unless CMS has approved the amount that has been allocated for future medical treatment. 
 
If the settlement claimant falls outside of the Medicare threshold, your agreement must contain specific language that Medicare's interests have been considered and (1) either identify an amount of money that has been set aside in an MSA; or (2) apportion an amount to be used for future medical expenses(this must be supported by a medical opinion). 

This post is the first of two regarding settlement of cases involving the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and settlement of the claims that fall under the Jurisdiction of the Commission.  In past years, the Commission has had various forms that were required to be submitted with the settlement agreement for consideration by the Commission.  The specific documents that were to be provided were (1) a guide form or settlement worksheet; (2) a fully executed agreement of final compromise and settlement; (3) an affidavit of the claimant; (4) an award to be signed by the Commissioner; and (5) all pertinent and relevant medical records.  In Maryland, the Workers Compensation Commission must approve any settlement before the settlement becomes effective.  Recently, the guide form/settlement worksheet has changed to add additional emphasis on some of the questions. new maryland settlement worksheet One of the major driving forces behind the changing of the guide form/settlement worksheet are the Medicare recommendations/regulations.  These recommendations/regulations will be discussed in detail in the next post.  In order to be compliant with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and Medicare all persons wishing to have their settlement approved must comply with not only the Maryland regulations, but also with the Medicare regulations.  All attorneys practicing before the Commission must be familiar with the recommendations/regulations and make sure that the case is settled within those recommendations if the medicals are being closed. 

 

Many insurance carriers will eventually agree to settle a case with open medical treatment if they are pushed far enough.  If you are unable to keep the medical treatment open as part of a settlement of your claim, you must make sure the settlement complies with the Medicare regulations.  If you do not want to settle the case with closed medical treatment, and the carrier refuses to leave medical treatment open as part of the settlement, the best advice is to obtain your rating, implead all necessary parties and obtain a permanency award.  There are some cases that simply must be settled.  These cases include: (1)the cases that are lost before the Commission and are on appeal; or (2) those cases where the claimant is in jail; or (3) those cases where the claimant is under an extreme medical or financial hardship.  In those cases, the claimant's lawyers should do their best to represent the interests of their client while taking Medicare interests into account.  Failure to do this could lead to liability for the Claimant's lawyer.Maryland Workers Compensation Lawyer

A California man, a former college student, was recently awarded $ 49 million for permanent brain damage resulting from a crash on a highway. Two truck drivers were found to be reckless in the operation of their vehicles. Similarly, the state of California was found to be negligent for failing to correct know deficiencies in the roadway. Unfortunately, the injured Plaintiff will require constant medical care and attention for the rest of his life as a result of injuries sustained by the negligent and reckless acts of other. Our attorneys have a lot of experience with truck and tractor trailer accidents. There are numerous rules, regulations and requirements that trucks and tractor trailers must meet. The training of the drivers and their driving records are often issues in these cases as well. Maintenance procedures on the tractors and/or trailers also often become consideration for possible claims in any accident involving oversized vehicles. Federal regulations impose significant inspections requirements that often are not met by over the road truck drivers. An experienced attorney who handles these cases regularly is able to look at all the possible issues involved and advise you on the best course for proper recovery. If you or a loved on has been seriously injured in an accident involving a truck or tractor trailer, call one of our attorneys for a free consultationhttp://www.foranlaw.com/resources/maryland-workers-compensation-lawyer/maryland-workers-compensation-lawyer.html.

A Wisconsin utility company was recently alleged to be guilty of negligence in the death of a person killed as a result of electrocution. Apparently a downed power line caused the electrocution. The allegation was that the power line was negligently designed, installed and maintained. The electrocuted man was trying to help others who had been electrocuted by the downed line. Power lines are inherently dangerous. There is a phenomena known as arcing that allows electricity from the power line to arc a certain distance that can cause injury even if the person does not touch the line. Our office has handled these cases over the years in a third party setting as well as workers compensation. There are very few attorneys who have handled these types of cases because, fortunately, they are rare. However, if you or a loved one has been seriously injured by electricity, contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation.