A little-known fact about the inspections and investigations of workplaces throughout the country is that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps a public record of its findings. An OSHA investigation is typically triggered when an employer is suspected of being in violation of safety standards. Another reason an investigation may be triggered is if an employee files a complaint directly with OSHA.
An employee can file a complaint about safety concerns as well as discrimination in the workplace. If you are involved in an accident at your workplace, however, consider contacting a Maryland workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your options. While filing a complaint is a great step, you may also be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by your employer and their unsafe practices.
What is the Freedom of Information Act?
While you may think that OSHA is providing this information to the public regarding their investigations to keep everyone safe, they are actually required to provide this information under the Freedom of Information Act. You can use the OSHA website to search for an individual company and its violations for up to 10 years using their database. If the online database is not convenient for you, you can also send an email or written request.
A written request will come with a fee and there will be a 20-day period in which OSHA has to respond to a written request. These requests may be critical to proving a worker’s compensation claim. You do not have to run to search the database, but should discuss this with your Maryland workers’ compensation attorney.
What is the Maryland Public Information Act?
Aside from federal regulations allowing everyday citizens access to OSHA complaints and other pertinent information, there is also the Maryland Public Information Act. This act is similar to the Freedom of Information Act as it allows residents to have access to public records from various government agencies.
Requests are handled differently as there is no one place to find all of the information you may need; however, you can have your requested information granted when you contact the right agency. If you need records for your workers’ compensation claim, your attorney can help.
What is workers’ compensation?
As an employee in the state of Maryland, you should be able to work in a safe environment. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in the event an employee is injured on the job. This may sound as if you are being protected but in reality, when an accident happens, many companies will try to deny your benefits or pay you less than what your claim is worth. This is where a Maryland workers’ compensation attorney can help you when your claim is delayed or denied.
Depending on your injuries, you may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Medical care
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Temporary total disability
- Temporary partial disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
These have their own requirements and it can be difficult to navigate your options without the help of a skilled attorney. We will be able to take an objective look at your injuries and how they occurred. We can then help file a claim on your behalf for the appropriate benefits. You should be focused on recovering while we handle the rest. You will also be eligible for benefits if a work-related incident aggravated an existing condition. Do not be scared of retaliation from your employer, as they cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim.
Do you need an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim?
While you are not legally required to have a Maryland workers compensation attorney, it is advisable. As we discussed, insurance companies are not likely to pay the correct amount for your injuries and will attempt to lowball you. With an experienced attorney on your side, we will fight to protect your rights and fight to secure the benefits to which you are entitled. We will ensure you are getting the right medical treatment, your time off of work is compensated, and that any denials are reassessed.
Joshua Plaxen graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, and graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2012 magna cum laude. He was also inducted into the Heuisler Honor Society for finishing in the top ten percent of his class. During law school, Joshua served on the Executive Board of the University of Baltimore Law Review.