It’s All About the Money — Recent Developments Regarding the Calculation of Claimant’s Average Weekly Wage

Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (CSA) weighed in on the calculation of claimant’s average weekly wage when an employee, hired for full-time employment, involuntarily worked in a part-time capacity in the weeks leading up to his accidental injury. In Richard Beavers Construction, Inc., et al. v. Wagstaff, 2018 WL 1129655 (2018), the CSA held that the Workers’ Compensation Commission properly determined a claimant’s average weekly wage based on the claimant’s anticipated 40 hour work week rather than using the six weeks …

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Maryland State Senate Passes Bill Requiring Self- Insured Employers to Report Fraud

On March 6, 2018, the Maryland State Senate passed a bill that would require self-insured employers to report workers’ compensation fraud to the Maryland Insurance Administration’s Fraud Division. S.B. 575 was sponsored by Senator Katherine Klausmeier of Baltimore County and is now pending in the Maryland House. Subject to any further changes and amendments, it is expected to be passed by the House and take effect in October 2018.

The bill requires all employers who self-insure or participate in a self-insurance group for workers’ compensation …

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The Aftermath of Zakwieia and Reger — The Court of Special Appeals Finds LE §9-610 Offset Does Not Apply to Ordinary Disability Benefits for a Different Injury

In the past year there has been a flurry of litigation in Maryland regarding what exactly a “similar benefit” is, and when an offset is warranted under Labor and Employment § 9-610. We first had Zakwieia in early 2017, holding that a similar benefit is “whether the benefits provide a similar wage loss benefit to a workers’ compensation award, not whether the benefits accrue from a similar injury.” Zakwieia v. Baltimore Co. Bd. Of Educ., 231 Md. App. 644, 654 (2017). Just six months later …

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The Law Is Fickle – Maryland Court of Appeals Clarifies Zakwieia, the Phrase “Similar Benefits,” and its Effect on Disability Offsets

Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (CSA) held that the phrase “similar benefits,” found within LE §9-610, examined whether an employee’s ordinary disability benefits provided a similar wage loss benefit to the employee’s workers’ compensation benefits. Zakwieia v. Baltimore County, Board of Education, 231 Md. App. 644 (2017). The practice of law is fast-paced and waits for no one. In Reger v. Washington County Board of Education, et al., 2017 WL 3317892 (publication pending), the Maryland Court of Appeals (COA) has …

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Get Ready: New Maryland Workers’ Compensation Laws Set to Take Effect on October 1, 2017

The date for your new workers’ compensation laws to take effect is now upon us. The Maryland legislature passed several workers’ compensation bills in early 2017 that will be taking effect on October 1, 2017.

The law that will likely have the greatest effect on claims handling in Maryland is the requirement that medical providers submit their bills for payment within one year from the later date of: (1) the date of service; (2) the date the claim was accepted as compensable by the employer/insurer; …

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Maryland on High Alert after Declaring State of Emergency

With communities nationwide struggling to address the booming opioid epidemic, Maryland is the first to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to rein in overdoses within its borders. In 2016, the Maryland residents suffered more than 2,700 fatal opioid overdoses; this figure is climbing at an alarming rate. The state of emergency declaration allowed Governor Larry Hogan discretion to allocate $50 million in funding to fight the epidemic without waiting for legislative approval. This funding is in addition to Maryland’s previous and ongoing …

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You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too — Maryland Court Interprets Controversial Phrase “Similar Benefits” and its Effect on Disability Pension Offsets

In Zakwieia v. Baltimore County, Board of Education, 231 Md. App. 644 (2017), the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland established the correct interpretation of LE § 9-610 and the controversial phrase “similar benefits.” As a result, the court’s holding provided a basis for the Board of Education of Baltimore County (the Board) to apply ordinary disability retirement benefits owed to the claimant as a credit against the claimant’s workers’ compensation benefits.

Following a December 13, 2007 accidental injury, the claimant filed a claim …

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