With few exceptions, every employer in Maryland is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for employees. This provides compensation for workers who are injured while on the job. However, workers’ compensation does not cover all injuries to all workers. Our accomplished Silver Spring workers’ compensation lawyers can help you determine if your injury should be covered by workers’ compensation. If it is, we can help you file a claim or appeal a denied claim. Contact us today to learn more.
Types of Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
It is important to note that not all injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. This is because the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission has strict rules on the types of injuries that are covered by workers’ compensation. This definition requires that the harm suffered by an employee be caused by an “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.” It is critical that your injury meet these requirements or you will not receive workers’ compensation benefits. Just because an injury occurs while working, on the job, or at work does not mean that your personal injury meets the requirements of the law.
The first step in determining if your injury is covered by workers’ compensation is to determine your relationship with your employer. The state’s workers’ compensation law only protects employees. Because there are many different classifications of workers today, this is an important detail. To be covered by workers’ compensation, you must have a genuine employer-employee relationship, which means the employer has a certain amount of control over your schedule and work responsibilities.
For example, independent contractors do not work directly for a business or employer, so they are not covered by workers’ compensation claims. Additionally, because businesses such as sole-proprietorships and partnerships do not have employees, they are not covered by workers’ compensation. Those who are not covered have the option to elect coverage or find their own insurance. However, the law does cover minors who are under an express or implied contract of apprenticeship or hire for an employer.
If you have an employer-employee relationship, the next step in determining if your injury is covered is to determine if the injury was an accident. According to the law, an accidental injury occurs “by chance or without design, taking place unexpectedly or unintentionally.” This also includes injuries caused by the willful or negligent actions of another person and diseases and injuries that occur naturally as a result of a work injury.
The only exception to the accidental injury rule is for occupational diseases. This is because these illnesses are a result of the employee’s working conditions and are not caused by a specific accident or incident. The disease must have developed due to exposure in the workplace, and there must be a direct link between the exposure and the disease. Some common example of occupational diseases that may be covered by workers’ compensation include:
- Asbestosis or mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos
- Black lung disease from exposure to coal dust
- Illnesses and diseases caused by chemical exposure
Injuries Arising Out of Employment This requires that a worker’s injury occurred because of the conditions, responsibilities and requirements of the individual’s job. For example, if a worker slipped and fell while working in a wet environment such as a car wash, it is likely that that injury arose out of that person’s employment duties.
Injuries Arising in the Course of Employment
Finally, the injury must have occurred during the course of employment. This will take into account the time, location and circumstances of the injury. The injury must have occurred while the individual was at work during working hours and performing the duties required by his or her employer. If the injury occurred while the worker was off-duty or at lunch, it is likely that it was not a result of the worker’s job duties, and it likely will not be considered a covered injury.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Unfortunately, it is not always immediately apparent that a worker’s injury meets all of these requirements. For that reason, many claims will require an investigation by the Workers’ Compensation Commission or will be denied.
Having a reputable workers’ compensation attorney by your side throughout this can be very valuable. We can help gather the necessary evidence to support your claim and appeal any denials. To learn more about how our trusted Silver Spring workers’ compensation attorneys can help you, contact Goldberg Finnegan today for a free, no obligation consultation. We do not charge any fees unless you obtain compensation.