Workplace accidents occur in many different environments. Some occupations such as working on the railroad, driving a forklift truck in a warehouse or working on a construction site are clearly hazardous.
However, office workers may be hurt in a slip-and-fall or suffer an electric shock. Nurses and hospital works suffer injured backs. However you are hurt in the workplace, you may need to call on Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers for help. State laws require that most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover work-related incidents.
A Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you on your rights and fight employers for what you deserve. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we can help you navigate this complicated area of the law and recover what you are entitled to.
Workers’ Compensation Laws
America’s workers’ compensation laws date back to 1911. However, the idea of compensating a worker for his loss goes back more than two millennia before the birth of Christ. According to Gregory Guyton in A Brief History of Workers’ Compensation, Iowa Orthopedic Journal, the law of Ur in ancient Sumer in 2,500 B.C. provided for compensation for injury to a worker’s specific body parts. The loss of a thumb under ancient law was worth one-half the value of a finger.
Today’s workers’ compensation laws can be traced back to the Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who created the Employer’s Liability Law of 1871 to head off political unrest. In 1884, he set up the Workers’ Accident Insurance. It provided financial benefits as well as medical and rehabilitation benefits. Bismarck’s plan was intended to shield employers from civil lawsuits.
According to the Social Security Administration, the United States started adopting workers’ compensation laws in the 1910s. The arrival of workers’ compensation safeguards was the first example of social insurance in the United States. By 1921, only six states had not enacted workers’ compensation legislation.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance in Baltimore
Maryland was the first state in the nation to adopt workers’ compensation. The emergence of workers compensation programs began in 1902 in Maryland. However, a Baltimore City judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it denied injured workers their right to a jury trial. The first law covering federal employees was enacted in 1906. However, the states were not required to have insurance programs at the outset. Maryland enacted a more comprehensive workers’ compensation law in 1914.
Companies were not required to carry workers compensation insurance in the early 1900s. Insurance was taken out on a voluntary basis. In 1917, the United States Supreme Court resolved that issue in the landmark case, New York Central Railway Co. vs. White. Although workers’ compensation is now protected by law, many states and employers seek to circumvent it. Maryland workers’ compensation lawyers can protect your rights.
Workplace Accident Injury Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2017. While the number of workplace injuries is falling, more people are being killed on the job.
A total of 5,190 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States in 2016, a 7 percent increase from the 4,836 fatal injuries reported in 2015. It marked the third consecutive increase in annual workplace fatalities and the first time more than 5,000 fatalities were recorded since 2008.
At the state level, the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission handled 23,336 claims during 2017. Some of the top industries for filing workers’ compensation claims include hospital employees, police, construction workers, truckers, colleges, and schools. Most disability benefits are awarded to those who suffer injuries to their backs, shoulders, and knees.
Workplace injuries are reported on a daily basis, and many injured workers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Maryland. If you suffer an injury in a workplace accident, explore your ability to pursue a workers’ compensation claim with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Maryland.
How Does Workers’ Comp. Work in Baltimore?
If you are injured while working, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, not all injuries qualify for Maryland workers’ comp.
In order for a worker to receive compensation, the harm suffered must be from an “accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment” under Maryland workers’ compensation law. The fact the injured person was working or “on the job” may not necessarily be enough to be covered by insurance.
An accidental injury is defined as one that happens “by chance or without design, taking place unexpectedly or unintentionally.” You may also qualify for workers’ comp in Maryland if you have an occupational disease, states the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Are Employers Required to Hold Insurance for Workers’ Compensation?
Employers are required to hold workers’ compensation insurance. The workers’ compensation system is funded by employers. They can buy an insurance policy via a private insurer, Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company – an independent state agency that was formerly the Injured Workers’ Insurance Fund, or obtains permission from the state to self-insure claims.
What is the Purpose of Workers’ Compensation?
When the workers’ compensation system was set up more than a century ago, it was described as a “grand bargain” between employers and workers.
Injured workers relinquished their right to sue employers in civil court for workplace injuries, making workers’ compensation the “exclusive remedy” for injuries in the workplace. In exchange, injured workers received statutory benefits in a no-fault system.
The “grand bargain” was meant to ensure injured workers have immediate access to benefits while saving employers from large civil judgments. The system has been eroded in recent years and employees don’t always get fair treatment.
The Role of a Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyer After a Workplace Injury
Workers should not always expect employers to treat them fairly during workers’ compensation claims. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. However, where employer negligence has caused an injury, filing a personal injury lawsuit remains an option.
Even when an employer is not to blame for an accident, it makes sense to hire a Baltimore workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure you are being treated fairly.
All employers with at least one part-time or full-time employee must carry valid workers’ compensation coverage. Employers are responsible for reporting all accidents to their insurance company within a timely manner. Employees are responsible for reporting accidents to their employers and filing the provided claim paperwork.
Can You Make a Baltimore Workers’ Comp Claim for an Occupational Disease?
Occupational diseases are exceptions to the accidental injury rule. These are illnesses caused by the circumstances surrounding the worker’s job.
For example, mesothelioma is asbestos-linked cancer that may have been caused by a worker coming into contact with asbestos in a building. Workers exposed to dangerous solvents, herbicides, or cleaners may suffer skin, eye or lung diseases. Conditions such as these may allow the employee to claim workers’ compensation even though there was no specific “accident.”
The disease must “arise out of the employment”. If working conditions caused the employee’s condition, the occupational disease “arises out of” the employment.
The worker has been exposed to a risk or danger because of the job requirements. The accidental injury rule is slightly different. The injury must have occurred during the course of employment. In other words, the worker must have been doing what he or she was paid to do at the time of the accident.
The Two Types of Workers’ Comp. Claim
There are two types of workers’ compensation that an employee can file for in Maryland. A Maryland workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on the difference. They are occupational claims and accident claims.
An occupational claim describes an illness or injury that occurred because of the nature of the job. In these claims, there was no specific incident that led to an injury. For example, a person who suffers from a neck injury after lifting heavy cargo for many years could be eligible for occupational workers’ compensation.
An accident claim is what most people associate with the term “workers’ compensation.” This type of claim relates to an injury caused by an unexpected accident or event.
For example, a worker who falls off a ladder while fixing a window on a tall building, a worker whose arm is crushed by a heavy object or a builder hurt in a fall from a scaffolding could be eligible for an accident claim.
What Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Comp in Baltimore?
Not all injuries are covered by workers’ comp in Maryland. The state’s workers’ compensation law states that the accidental personal injury must arise out of and in the course of employment.
Employees who claim workers comp in Maryland must be injured while actually performing tasks that are directly related to the job they were hired to do.
For example, if you are a company driver but you have an accident while driving the work van home for lunch, you might not be able to claim workers’ compensation. Every case is different, so it’s important to work with an experienced workers’ comp lawyers in Baltimore to evaluate the details of your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation.
A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer’s Guide to Short and Long-Term Benefits
A workers’ compensation lawyer will advise you about short and long-term benefits after your accident in Maryland. As the name suggests, short-term benefits are temporary in nature. Long-term benefits cover ongoing medical needs.
What Are Short-Term Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Temporary disability benefits cover a portion of your lost wages while you are out of work for at least two weeks healing from your injuries. The insurance company will not pay for your first three days of disability unless you need more than 14 days off work.
If you’re completely unable to work, you will be eligible for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits. These benefits are two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are able to return to work but cannot earn as much due to your injury, Maryland workers’ comp pays you a temporary partial disability (TPD) benefit. These benefits are half of the difference between your pre-injury and post-injury wages.
Temporary benefits are intended to get you back on your feet again for an injury that’s expected to heal in a matter of weeks. Temporary benefits cease once you return to your job or a medical professional determines your condition is not improving. Worker compensation lawyers in Maryland can advise you of your rights.
What Are Long-Term Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
In some cases, worker injuries in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland may be permanent. Although the goal is always to work for a quick and full recovery, this does not always happen. If you need ongoing medical treatment for an occupational injury, you might be eligible to receive long-term disability benefits from a workers’ compensation claim. Examples of treatment that might be covered include:
- Surgery for broken bones or damaged organs
- Outpatient therapy
- Monitoring services or in-home nurse visits
- Hospital visits and stays
- Prosthetics, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches
- Restorative procedures
Can You Claim Benefits for Wage Reimbursement?
People who are hurt on the job in Maryland may also be entitled to reimbursement of some income that they lost due to their injuries. Employees who missed time from work while seeking medical care may be entitled to wage reimbursement. Employers are required to reimburse money that employees lose while attending an employer/insurer’s medical examination
The employee is also entitled to reimbursement for time spent attending and traveling to and from a Workers’ Compensation Commission hearing as a result of an action of the employer or its insurer if the claimant is otherwise entitled to compensation benefits.
Can You Claim for Workers’ Comp Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits?
If an employee’s injury or disease means the worker can no longer perform work he or she was previously qualified for, the employee is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services under Maryland worker comp law. Training may last up to two years. Other services may include:
- Vocational assessment
- Coordination of medical services
- Vocational evaluation;
- Vocational counseling
- Job development
- Job placement.
What Are Death Benefits in Baltimore, MD Workers Compensation Cases?
Maryland differs from other states in that it does not limit death benefits to certain relatives or family members of the worker. People who were financially dependent on the deceased worker’s wages may qualify for death benefits. A determination on dependency is made at the time of the injury that caused the worker’s death.
The level of the total death benefit is dependent on the worker’s average weekly wage and the degree of dependence. If a deceased worker was the sole breadwinner for the family, dependents may receive up to two-thirds of the worker’s wages.
Reasons Why an Employer May Fight a Maryland Workers’ Comp. Claim
Employers are always trying to keep their costs down. They will often look for ways to dispute or reduce a claim. Often employers fear payouts will encourage more employees to file workers’ comp claims. The employer may argue:
- Your injury was not serious.
- Your injury did not take place during work or within the scope of employment.
- You did not require medical treatment for your injury.
- You don’t need time off work for your injury.
- You should have returned to work sooner.
Hire Workers Compensation Attorneys in Baltimore, MD to Fight Employers
It’s always distressing when an employer disputes your claim or tries to lowball you. You were loyal to your employer until you got hurt and suddenly the company is not there for you or your family. In these cases, you should hire a Maryland workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Talk to a Baltimore, Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Maryland workers’ compensation law is extremely complicated. Although Maryland offers more generous benefits than some states, workers’ compensation has been eroded nationwide for many years.
If you are making a claim against an employer, it’s more important than ever before to hire workers compensation attorneys in Baltimore. The system of workers’ compensation has been cut across the United States in recent years.
A study by the nonprofit ProPublica described this as a “demolition” of workers’ comp. If you were injured on the job in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, you deserve compensation. Please contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today at (410) 694-7291.
If you’re a delivery van driver for a florist and someone hits you during the course of work or if you are working in a warehouse and an unsecured pallet falls on you, you are likely entitled to employer-provided insurance coverage.
Workers’ compensation in Maryland covers on-the-job injuries that arise from and during the course of employment. State laws require that most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover work-related incidents.
Our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help
When you’ve been injured in an accident at work, it can be challenging to know what to do. You might have heard of workers’ compensation, but understanding the details doesn’t always feel relevant until you are actually hurt on the job.
Dealing with lost wages due to your inability to work, expensive medical bills, ongoing treatments and medications and other pain and suffering can feel overwhelming. For this reason, the US Department of Labor has federally mandated workers’ compensation as a short or long-term solution for those who have been injured at work.
Maryland’s workers’ compensation laws are complex. Not all employers, employees, and injuries are covered. To determine your right to fair compensation after a workplace accident, you may need the assistance of an experienced Baltimore workers’ compensation attorney. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we can help you navigate the complex workers’ compensation system in the state. We have the understanding and the resources to quickly and efficiently start a claim on your behalf.