While workers’ compensation in Maryland does not allow you to sue your employer for injuries that are suffered on the job, there are some situations that may arise that will allow you to bring a personal injury claim against another party. This type of action is separate from your workers’ compensation claim, and may allow you to collect damages such as pain and suffering, and compensation for future wages that are lost due to the injury. The following are some of the most common situations in which you may be able to bring a civil claim for your injuries.
If your injury occurred due to equipment failure, you could file a claim against the manufacturer that made the machine. This failure could be due to a defective part, or a malfunction. Additionally, if the manufacturer was aware that the machine in question presented a danger, but did not provide appropriate warnings, they would be responsible for the damages.
Many employees are exposed to dangerous substances or chemicals throughout the workday. In these instances, if you suffer an acute toxic injury, which occurs immediately, or a latent one, which can take years to show up, you may be able to make a toxic tort claim. (Asbestos exposure is a common example of this due to the numerous people who have suffered from cancer and other illnesses directly related to the substance.) Additionally, if the protective equipment failed to protect you from exposure, you could have a case against both the chemical and safety equipment manufacturers.
While workers’ compensation may cover your injuries if they occur due to an auto accident while driving to see a client, depending on the circumstances, you may have a personal injury claim against the third party. If the other driver was negligent, and your actions did not play a role in the accident, you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance.
There are a couple of instances where you may be able to sue your employer outside of the workers’ compensation claim in Maryland. If your injuries are due to your employer intentionally causing you harm, such as by hitting or pushing you, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Additionally, if your employer tells someone else to act in a way that causes you to be injured, that may be grounds as well.
Another situation wherein you may be able to sue your employer is if he or she does not provide workers’ compensation insurance. In this case, you would have to file your claim with the Maryland Uninsured Employer’s Fund in order to receive the benefits from your injury. If the employer defaults, you will have to take care that you return any funds that you receive from him or her if the Fund has already provided compensation.
If you are considering a personal injury claim outside of your workers’ compensation claim, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to go over the details of your case to make sure you have a valid claim.