1. WATCH WHAT YOU SAY. Everything you say, “can be used against you.” Do not talk about your case with anyone except your attorney, his assistants, and your doctor(s). Be aware of what you say to your doctors because your statements often are reiterated in medical reports. If a rehabilitation nurse or counselor contacts you, ask the nurse our counselor to arrange the first meeting to be in your attorney’s office.
2. KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENTS WITH YOUR DOCTOR(S). This is very important. Follow your doctor’s orders and treatment and do not stop seeing your doctor(s) until they tell you that your treatment has been completed. Failure to do this may have an unfavorable effect on your case.
3. DISABILITY SLIPS. In order to receive temporary total benefits, you MUST provide a disability slip, signed by your doctor, with the dates you are unable to work, due to your injury. You will need to be sure to provide a disability slip covering each period of time for which you want to get paid workers’ compensation disability benefits.
4. IF YOU ARE RELEASED TO LIGHT-DUTY WORK BY YOUR DOCTOR, THEN YOU MUST IMMEDIATELY CONTACT YOUR EMPLOYER. You must ask your own employer if there are any light duty jobs available and consistent with your restrictions. You must keep your attorney updated as to any changes in your work status and on whether or not your employer has offered you a light-duty or full-duty position. Maintaining a current file is beneficial for both you and your attorney since it enables your attorney to process your file effectively and to avoid unnecessary delays.
5. DO NOT GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT TO ANY INSURANCE CARRIER, UNLESS YOUR ATTORNEY IS PRESENT.
6. KEEP TRACK OF ALL WORKERS¿ COMPENSATION CHECKS YOU RECEIVE. Either xerox the check, keep a stub if there is one, or record the appropriate information from each check (exact dates of disability covered, amount of check, date issued and/or postmark).
7. SEND ME COPIES OF ANY MEDICAL BILLS YOU RECEIVE AT YOUR HOME ADDRESS. Be sure you send me copies of any bills you receive, on a monthly basis. Even if your case has been accepted as compensable, I will have no way of knowing whether or not your medical bills have been paid if you do not send me all the bills you receive each time you receive a bill or collection notice. I also recommend that you personally contact each billing department and inform them of the name, address, and telephone number of the carrier paying the bills, the adjuster’s name and claim number, if known to you, and if your claim is not being contested.
8. IF YOU RETURN TO WORK IN ANY CAPACITY, LET ME KNOW. The carrier may be entitled to reimbursement for any overpayments made if they are not informed properly and in a timely fashion of your return to work.
9. LET ME KNOW ABOUT ANY OTHER CHANGES. You should advise my office of any changes, such as going to the hospital, being sent to new doctors, starting work, stopping work, missing time from work once you have returned or being involved in a new accident.
10. CONTACT MY OFFICE ABOUT ANY CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER.
11. YOUR TREATING DOCTOR. You may NOT change doctors, or go to another doctor, once you have started treatment with a doctor, unless your treating doctor refers you to another doctor or the insurance company authorizes treatment with a new doctor. If you have any questions as to whether or not treatment with a doctor is authorized, ask us.
12. IF YOU RETURN TO WORK ON A LIGHT DUTY BASIS AND SUFFER A WAGE LOSS be sure to forward to me every pay stub you receive with your new employment so that we can make a wage loss claim on your behalf. As your wages increase or vary, we are under an obligation to keep the workers’ compensation carrier informed of any changes in your weekly wages, and the carrier may be entitled to a reimbursement of any monies that are overpaid due to your failure to send pay stubs to us on a timely basis.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MARYLAND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS
1. MAXIMUM COMPENSATION RATES IN MARYLAND. Compensation over wage loss in Maryland is based upon 2/3 of an employee’s gross average weekly wage for the thirteen-week period prior to his injury. The maximum compensation rates in Maryland are as follows:
1995 – $525.00
1996 – $540.00
1997 – $553.00
1998 – $573.00
1999 – $602.00
2000 – $631.00
2001 – $668.00
2002 – $700.00
2003 – $722.00
2004 – $740.00
2005 – $770.00
2. TREATING PHYSICIANS. Under Maryland law, injured employees may choose to treat with any physician or chiropractor. However, physicians or chiropractors who are not located within the State of Maryland are not obligated to limit their collection to the amount prescribed by the Maryland Fee Schedule, and may instead turn to the injured worker to make up the difference. An attorney should thus be consulted if one intends to treat with a health care provider located outside of the State of Maryland.