If you were recently hurt at work, your ability to file a lawsuit may depend on the cause of your injuries and your employer’s adherence to Maryland’s insurance requirements for businesses.
You can file a lawsuit for a workplace injury if your employer is without insurance or if a negligent third party caused your damages. Victims typically have three years to sue for work injury in Maryland, meaning taking quick action is important. Proving fault against a defendant requires compelling evidence, which might include witness statements, victim testimony, medical records, correspondence, and surveillance footage. Once you have met the burden of proof, you can recover compensation for financial and emotional damages.
To schedule a free review of your case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras and speak with our Maryland workplace injury lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.
When Can Injured Employees File a Workplace Accident Lawsuit in Maryland?
Because filing a claim with an employer’s insurance is the main path to recovery for injured employees in Maryland, workers can only sue in specific circumstances. Employer lawsuits can be brought if an employer does not have insurance. Third-party workplace accident lawsuits can be filed if a party other than an employer causes a victim’s injuries.
While employees are typically unable to sue a negligent employer for injuries sustained in a workplace accident in Maryland, one notable exception is if an employer does not have insurance. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers can determine if your employer has the necessary coverage or not and explain what that means for your path to compensation. While nearly all businesses in Maryland need liability insurance in case of workplace accidents, not all employers adhere to this mandate.
Claims against third parties are more common than employer lawsuits for workplace injuries in Maryland. A negligent third party may be a manufacturer that produced a defective product that caused your injuries or a driver that struck you while working. There are no restrictions on whether or not injured workers can sue third parties in Maryland as there are for employer workplace accident claims.
Common Workplace Injuries that Warrant Litigation in Maryland
Common workplace injuries in Maryland vary based on accident types. Any injury caused by a negligent third party may warrant litigation.
Typically, more severe workplace injuries occur in dangerous industries in Maryland. For example, workers in the construction industry might be more likely to sustain spinal cord injuries, head injuries, burns, repetitive motion injuries, and broken bones. These injuries might be caused by defective equipment, slip and falls, or other incidents.
While serious injuries are less common in other industries, they still might occur. Any worker could sustain a broken bone, fracture, soft tissue injury, or other serious injuries while performing workplace duties in Maryland.
Regardless of how severe or minor an injury appears, if it caused you to incur financial or emotional damages and you are eligible to file a lawsuit against an employer or third party, you can sue for compensation in Maryland. There is no serious injury threshold for personal injury claims in Maryland.
Determining Fault for a Maryland Workplace Accident
To determine whether or not you can sue your employer or a negligent third party, you must first determine who is at fault for your workplace injuries in Maryland. This can be accomplished through an investigation into the accident.
Because Maryland restricts when injured workers can file a lawsuit against their employers, you must determine if your employer or another party caused your injuries. To do this, our Ocean City personal injury lawyers will carefully look into the circumstances of your accident. This might include recovering evidence and witness statements that confirm your account of an accident’s events.
Determining fault can be more challenging in cases involving negligent third parties such as product manufacturers. Our attorneys will seek to recover evidence that a product manufacturer knowingly distributed the defective equipment that caused your injuries.
If you determine that your employer’s negligence led to your workplace injuries, you might be unable to sue, depending on their insurance coverage. If you confirm that a negligent third party caused your injuries, you can file a lawsuit immediately in Maryland.
Workplace Accident Lawsuits vs. Workers’ Comp Claims in Maryland
When a negligent employer is at fault for a worker’s injuries, and they have the necessary insurance in Maryland, a worker cannot sue them for damages. Injured workers can, however, file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Typically, Workers’ Compensation benefits cover fewer damages than lawsuit settlements do. Benefits might provide compensation for a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages as well as their medical expenses. Notably, insurance claims in Maryland often do not provide compensation for other damages, such as pain and suffering.
Often, when filing an insurance claim seems like the only option, there are alternatives. Many workplace accidents originate from a negligent third party. For example, suppose you were injured by defective equipment. While it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure equipment and machinery are not defective when used by workers, it is also the manufacturer’s responsibility not to distribute equipment that does not works properly and or is without the necessary safety guidelines.
Initially, in such a situation, injured workers might assume that their employer’s negligence is the primary cause of their damages. However, suppose negligence can be traced back to a third party. In that case, injured workers have a higher chance of being able to bring a lawsuit for compensation, which could potentially result in greater damages than a settlement from an insurance claim in Maryland.
Deadline to Bring a Workplace Injury Claim in Maryland
Employees that sustain workplace injuries in Maryland have a set amount of time in which to bring a compensation case. They will be barred from recovery if they do not sue within the allotted timeframe.
The statute of limitations to file a workplace accident lawsuit in Maryland is three years from the date of injury. Comparatively, the deadline to start the claims process for insurance benefits and inform the Commission of Workers’ Compensation in Maryland is typically 60 days. Suppose your employer is responsible for your injuries, and you cannot sue because of their compliance with Maryland’s workplace insurance requirements. In that case, you may have less time to pursue compensation than you would if you could file a lawsuit.
Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that victims confirm the at-fault party in their case so that they don’t miss their opportunity to recover compensation.
If you can file a third-party lawsuit, you will have three years to do so. Because third-party claims typically involve companies like manufacturers, starting this process as soon as possible is important. Not only do victims often have to deal with expensive damages from workplace accidents, but they might have difficulty bringing a successful claim against a defendant the longer they wait to file in Maryland.
How Do I Prove a Workplace Injury in Maryland?
Proving a workplace injury in a lawsuit in Maryland means meeting the burden of proof. This goal can be accomplished through the presentation of evidence, such as witness statements, personal testimony, medical records, correspondence with a defendant, and surveillance footage.
Often, workplace accidents occur in view of others. Whether you were hurt in an office or a construction site in Maryland, your coworkers might have seen your accident occur. Their testimony, as well as testimony from experts and responding law enforcement officials, can help prove how you sustained workplace injuries in Maryland.
Testimony from a victim is often very compelling in a workplace accident lawsuit. This is especially true when it comes to recovery for emotional damages. You can explain to a judge or jury how a negligent party’s actions have impacted your quality of life, enabling you to recover compensation for pain and suffering in a Maryland lawsuit.
Part of the battle of meeting the burden of proof in a workplace injury claim is establishing that you did indeed sustain injuries. Your medical records from immediately after a work-related accident can show the severity of your injuries and their initial diagnoses. Medical records from the weeks and months following an accident can reinforce the extent of your damages in a trial.
After you are injured at work in Maryland, you should inform your employer and the party responsible. Correspondence from a negligent party might implicate them as being financially responsible for your injuries, especially if they accept fault in any way. This correspondence can be vital evidence in your claim, proving that a defendant recognized their contribution to your workplace injuries.
Many workplaces have surveillance cameras to monitor employee work. It is possible that a security camera or other device filmed your incident. If so, our attorneys can assess that footage and use it to support your claim in Maryland.
Can I File a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Loved One Killed in a Workplace Accident in Maryland?
You might be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit for a workplace accident in Maryland, depending on the circumstances of a loved one’s death and who the at-fault party is.
If you are a primary beneficiary, such as a spouse or child, of a worker who died on the job, you can sue their employer if their employer does not have the necessary insurance in Maryland. You can also file a third-party lawsuit if the victim’s work-related death was due to a negligent third party.
If a worker’s death was deliberately caused by their employer in Maryland, eligible surviving family members can also file wrongful death lawsuits, according to Md. Code, Lab. & Emp. Art., § 9-509(d).
While surviving family members may receive benefits from an employer’s insurance, those benefits might be small compared to what family members can recover from a lawsuit. This is why confirming that a victim died because of an employer’s negligence or a third party’s negligence is important. If you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, you will have three years to do so in Maryland.
Compensation in Maryland Workplace Accident Lawsuits
In workplace accident lawsuits, injured employees have the opportunity to recover damages for all of their losses, financial and non-financial, caused by a defendant’s negligence. Punitive damages might also be available, depending on the facts of the case.
Severe workplace accidents typically prevent employees from returning to work, at least for some time. Victims might experience injuries that reduce their earning capacity for the rest of their lives. These damages, and damages for medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses, are compensable via a workplace injury lawsuit. There is no limit on economic damages for plaintiffs in Maryland.
In Maryland, injury victims can recover up to $920,000 in non-economic damages. These damages can compensate injured workers for the pain and suffering they’ve experienced due to a workplace accident. The cap on non-economic damages in Maryland increases by $15,000 in October of each year. There are separate limitations on compensation for pain and suffering in wrongful death claims in Maryland.
Punitive damages, which are only available in cases of gross negligence, are awarded to victims to further penalize defendants. This type of damages is rarely awarded in Maryland, as plaintiffs must prove that a defendant’s behavior was intentionally malicious or extremely negligent. Punitive damages may be more likely to be awarded in workplace injury cases against large companies or manufacturers in Maryland. If you are eligible to receive punitive damages in Maryland, you can be awarded any amount the judge or jury sees fit.
File a Work Injury Lawsuit in Maryland Today
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras and get a free case evaluation from our Maryland personal injury lawyers today at (410) 694-7291.