Baltimore is home to a variety of private-sector industries. The largest industries include mining, construction, manufacturing, transportation, education and health services. Anyone hurt on the job in Baltimore can choose from a range of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to pursue an injury claim against their employer and its insurer.

Who Is Protected by Workers’ Compensation Laws in Baltimore, MD?

Every employer with one or more employees, with exemptions for small agricultural employers and businesses with very small payrolls, must carry workers’ comp insurance.

Maryland workers’ compensation law protects covered employees, defined as individuals, including minors, who are employed under an express or implied contract of apprenticeship or hire. The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission further explains that a genuine employer-employee relationship must exist for an employee to be covered by the workers’ comp law. For example, independent contractors and owners of sole proprietorships are not employees.

The state workers’ comp system generally compensates employees for accidental personal injuries, compensable hernias and occupational diseases. However, not all injuries are compensable, even if the injury happened while the employee is at work. The injury must arise “out of and in the course of employment,” meaning the harm must occur because the employee’s job requirements exposed them to a risk or danger.

A covered employee is also not entitled to compensation if they are injured due to:

  • A deliberate act, such as an intentional self-inflicted injury or an attempt to injure or kill another
  • The effect of a depressant, hallucinogenic, hypnotic, narcotic or stimulant drug or a drug that was not administered or taken following a physician’s prescription
  • A controlled dangerous substance defined in § 5-101 of the Criminal Law Article, including opium derivatives, hallucinogens and depressants, that was not taken in accordance with a physician’s prescription
  • Willful misconduct

Workers’ Rights Under Baltimore, MD Workers’ Comp Laws

Employees are entitled to the following benefits under the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Act:

  • Temporary total disability benefits. If an employee’s injury results in their being completely disabled for all work purposes for more than 14 days, workers’ comp will be paid from the date of disability. If the period of disability is 14 days or less then the payments may not be allowed for the first three days of disablement except for hospital, nursing or medicine expenses.
  • Temporary partial disability benefits. If the employee can only perform limited or part-time duties at a reduced earning capacity, temporary partial disability benefits will be paid up to a maximum of the average Maryland weekly wage. In this case, the employer or insurer pays the employee 50% of the difference between the employee’s average weekly wage and the employee’s wage-earning capacity in the same or other employment while temporarily partially disabled.
  • Permanent total disability benefits. An employee who suffers a serious injury may become totally and permanently disabled. Such injuries include, for example, the loss or loss of use of both arms, both legs, both hands or both eyes.
  • Permanent partial disability benefits. Less serious injuries, such as the loss of a finger or thumb, may result in some permanent impairment. Employees entitled to permanent partial disability benefits receive weekly compensation for a period set by the Commission that varies according to the body part injured and the severity of the injury. Compensation payments cease once the established period has run.
  • Medical/hospitalization benefits. An injured employee may be entitled to have their employer or its insurer pay for hospital and nursing services, medicine, crutches and other aids and prosthetic devices.
  • Wage reimbursement benefits. An employer or its insurer is required to reimburse the injured employee for lost wages due to time spent being examined by a physician or other examiner at the employer’s or insurer’s request.
  • Vocational rehabilitation benefits. If an injured employee cannot perform work for which they were previously qualified as the result of an accidental injury or an occupational disease, they are entitled to vocational rehabilitation services. These may include coordination of medical services, vocational assessment, evaluation, counseling, rehabilitation plan development, rehabilitation plan monitoring and rehabilitation training and job development and placement.

Filing Process for Workers’ Compensation in Baltimore, MD

Here are the steps employees and employers must take to file and process a workers’ compensation claim, according to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission:

  • The employee must notify their employer of an accidental injury on the job as soon as possible or notify their employer when they become disabled by an occupational disease.
  • The employer files a First Report of the employee’s injury with the Commission within 10 days of being notified by the employee or upon learning of the disabling occupational disease.
  • The employee or their attorney files a claim for compensation with the Commission.
  • Within 21 days of filing a claim, the employer or insurer pays the employee workers’ comp benefits or contests the claim.
  • The Commission will issue a benefits award or conduct a hearing if the claim is contested.

Workers’ Recovery for Workplace Injuries Beyond Workers’ Comp in Baltimore, MD

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied or your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage under Maryland law, you may still have some recovery options:

Appeal denial. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied by the Commission, you can file an appeal in the Maryland Circuit Court.

Personal injury lawsuit. Generally, injured employees are barred from suing their employers for compensation. However, if you suffered an injury as a result of your employer’s reckless or intentional actions, you may be able to sue your employer for damages.

Third-party liability lawsuit. If your injury was caused by the negligence of a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer, you may be able to sue the third party for product liability.

Federal programs. Employees in certain industries are not covered by state workers’ comp laws. To protect these injured employees, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) administers several programs, including the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program and Black Lung Benefits Program. The OWCP provides injured employees covered by these programs with medical treatment, wage replacement benefits, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits.

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Last Update: June 18, 2024