marc Schifanelli, Esq.
Contact US (240) 882-2402
Contact Schifanelli Law, LLP at 410-263-0028 for an initial consultation with a Lawyer in Annapolis.
2450 Riva Road, Suite 201, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
Serving the Maryland and Washington D.C. Communities.
If you have an accident at work that results in injury, Maryland law precludes you from suing your employer (with one exception, below). Many decades ago, injured workers could sue the company in State courts; and some injured workers actually won large money judgments for their injuries. But not many: since he was in a court of law, the injured worker was required to prove his case that his boss or the company was negligent. This usually required a lawyer, and it could be a real legal and financial challenge. If the injured worker was even a little at fault for the accident or injury, case closed. Not many lawyers were willing to represent injured worker's on a contingency basis with those odds; and not many injured and unemployed workers could pay a competent attorney to fight the company and their lawyers.
So, Maryland joined most other states by adopting worker's compensation legislation. This resulted in a "no fault" system. For example, even if an employee loses several fingers while trying to fix a lawn mower with the blade running (a completely negligent thing for him to do) the employer is required to pay the employee's medical bills and lost wages during recovery. It doesn't matter whose fault the accident was, and the injured employee is not required to prove that his boss or company was negligent in causing the injury.
On the other hand, the injured worker can forget having a court of law award him or her "millions" of dollars. The trade off for the no-fault system, was that the State capped the maximum amount of money that the employer would have to pay or compensate the employee for any given injury or permanent impairment. For example, if a work related injury results in a permanent impairment (some degree of permanent loss of use of, e.g., several fingers or a hand), then the employer is required to pay up to an amount of money set by the State. And these amounts are not "in the millions;" far from it. For these reasons, some people call the workers' compensation act as the second 'Great Compromise.'
An exception to the rule that you can't sue your employer in a court of law for a work-related injury is when the employer or his agent(s) consciously wanted to cause you injury. This is called an intentional tort, and the employer losses any protections that he or she was afforded under the Maryland worker's compensation laws in regards to that type of act or omission. Aside from that, no matter how grossly negligent your employer is, if you are injured as a result, your only remedy is under the Worker's Comp laws.
Naturally, injured worker's are most concerned about how they will continue to feed themselves and their families if they are unable to work. In other words, money. Fortunately, most employers comply with the Maryland Worker's Compensation laws and provide such insurance. (click here if it turns out your employer does not have worker's compensation insurance). Covered employees are entitled to be paid their wages based on their "average weekly wage" at the time of the accident or exposure to the hazards of the occupational disease. In calculating the average weekly wage of a Maryland worker injured on the job, the Commission can include tips, as well as the value of non-monetary benefits such as meals, lodging, rent, etc. (See the Maryland Code, Labor and Employment Article at Section 9-601).
Medical Services and Treatment
Medical treatment during the recovery period following an injury on the job or occupational disease is obviously imperative. The employer is required cover all of these services as long as they are necessary and not "excessive." These include all medical treatment and surgery, medications, hospital expenses, nursing services, crutches and prosthetics. Therapy and work hardening services may also be required for you to fully recover from your workplace injury.
Aside from these benefits, injured worker's in Maryland may be entitled to others. Contact an experienced Maryland worker's compensation or injury at work lawyer in Annapolis to schedule a free consultation and discuss.