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When to Appeal Under the Maryland Workers' Compensation Act

November 17, 2021
November 1, 2019

Under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act, when a party believes that the Worker’s Compensation Commission has committed an error of law in its final decision and decides to appeal the same, that appeal is heard in the circuit court of appropriate jurisdiction.  It can result in a full jury trial so long as a jury trial is demanded by one of the parties.  The appeal also results in full discovery, from both sides, including the need to take expert depositions.

Trials are expensive and time consuming so inevitably, the question we often hear from our clients is, “Is it financially feasible to appeal this matter to the circuit court?”  Not all cases are worth taking to trial.  However it could make substantial economic sense to take an appeal in instances where the commission finds serious disability versus non-serious disability.  When faced with an unjustified “serious disability” award, consider filing an appeal. A reduction of just 1% can result in a substantial savings.

A finding of 50% under "other cases" is 333 weeks (250 weeks + 1/3 additional or 83 weeks)

  • Payable at the 2019 maximum serious disability rate of $837.00/week
  • 333 x $837 = $278,721.00

A finding of just 1% less at 49% (245 weeks)

  • Payable at the maximum second tier disability rate of $372/week
  • 245 x $372 = $91,140.00
The difference between the two awards is $187,581.00!

Reduction of an award from “serious disability” to “second tier” not only reduces the payout of permanency benefits, but also results in a partial refund of the SIF/UEF assessments.