Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides compensation for employees who are injured on the job. It was enacted as a way to reduce litigation on the employees part for compensatory damages for the tort of negligence. In the state of Maryland, it is mandatory for employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees. It may be provided through private insurance carriers, a competitive state fund or they may self-insure. Waivers however are permitted. While workers’ compensation is required, not all injuries are covered, even though the injury happened ‘on the job’. According to the Maryland Statute, the injury must have been caused by ‘accidental personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment.’ Just because a person is injured while at work, they must be injured while performing their job. In most states, it is illegal for employers to refuse to hire an employee for filing a workers comp claim with a previous employer. Additionally, occupational diseases, which are acquired while on the job, may also be covered under Maryland workers’ compensation insurance.

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Not everyone who is injured while on the job is necessarily covered under workers’ compensation insurance. The law protects only employees. To be covered under workers comp a genuine employer-employee relationship must exist. If a worker is injured on the job and they are working as an independent contractor. Some businesses are either partnerships or sole proprietorships; these businesses may elect coverage and will be able to obtain the necessary coverage.

Claims are based on if an injury was truly an accident. According to the Maryland State workers’ compensation law, an accident is ‘a sudden unusual or extraordinary event causes an unexpected result. The unexpected result is a bodily injury; that must be caused by an unexpected or unusual event.’ If an injury has resulted from some other circumstance, this is not covered under Maryland workers’ compensation Act, and would be covered under the employees general health insurance. As mentioned above, occupational diseases fall into their own category. These may include, but are not limited to asbestosis, some types of leukemia, exposure to chemical solvents, which caused some type of eye, lung or skin disease. Even though there was no specific ‘accident’, diagnosed disease must be a result of working conditions to which the employee was exposed and are referred to as ‘occupational diseases’.

Compensable accidents must arise out of a result of employment or be in the course of employment. The former being a result of working conditions to which the employee is exposed to, such as a severe burn obtained while working in a kitchen with hot grease, or a slippery floor, often referred to as a slip-and-fall. The latter, meaning that the injury must have occurred during the course of employment, while the employee was at work. The designated place of employment and during designated working hours for that employee, and while such employee was performing job duties would be in the course of employment.

Once all of the above are satisfactorily satisfied, then a claim may be filed. This is not always so easy to determine and often an investigation is necessary. The result of this investigation will determine the type of and amount of benefits that the employee is entitled. Please be advised though, that initial determinations that are made by insurance carriers are not binding on the Commission. Each state has the right to determine the extent to which benefits are payable under the workers comp insurance. Based upon the regulations of each state, individual insurance companies then examine the probabilities of the injury and the circumstances and set their rates accordingly. The workers’ compensation Commission does not provide insurance nor does it set the rates on premiums; this is done by the insurance companies. Payments from workers’ compensation to the employee are not taxable as income.

Ingerman & Horwitz, LLP are Baltimore, Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys with over 100 years of collective experience in recouping benefits that have been denied by an insurance company, employer or the government. Persons who have worked their whole lives shouldn’t be penalized if they are injured or become ill and can’t work. Loss of Workers’ Compensation benefits can affect the entire family and could result in serious emotional and financial hardships, including the loss of savings, property and other assets. Learn more about your workers’ Compensation rights and options below.

If youve been denied benefits, contact Ingerman & Horwitz, LLP for a consultation on your legal rights.