If injured on the job a court action can take place against the employer
A Maryland employee can file a workers compensation claim if injured on the job. While many consider this a lawsuit, in my humble opinion I would consider it a quasi-lawsuit or an administrative claim. This is because unless the decision of the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission is appealed the claim will not enter into the state court system. So the clear answer is that you can bring a claim against your employer and recover money.
Rather than bring an administrative claim can I sue in court because I was hurt at work?
Maryland laws make injured workers sole remedy that of filing a workers compensation claim. The purpose of the laws were to provide employers a break from expensive litigation and runaway jury verdicts, while also providing the injured worker the right to medical treatment and fair compensation. Because of this only in very rare circumstances can an injured employee bring a lawsuit in court. If it is found that the employee was injured by a supervisor or boss intentionally and willfully then it may be possible to file an actual lawsuit and avoid the workers compensation process.
What happens if I was hurt at work as the result of someone’s negligence?
This is a complicated question that many attorneys are not able to answer and it is important to speak with a qualified and experienced workers compensation attorney if this is the situation you are in. If injured by a co-worker then there could be the potential to bring a lawsuit in Maryland courts as well as file a claim under the Maryland Workers Compensation Act. Essentially the injured worker would have two separate cases but involving the same facts and some of the same parties.
Depending on the scenario filing a lawsuit against another employee may not be in the injured workers best interest. Many people are judgement proof. Even if you file a lawsuit and win recovering money from the person who was negligent may be difficult and result in a lost effort. If however, the negligent person has an insurance policy then the the potential of recovery rises.
What happens when there is a lawsuit and also a workers compensation claim?
These complicated matters often arise when a worker is involved in an automobile accident while on the clock. Perhaps a trade worker is traveling from one job site to another job site when he is rear ended. This would result in a lawsuit against the negligent driver and a workers compensation claim.
There are varying legal opinions as the best way to handle these cases but what the injured worker should know is that workers comp will be paid back from the settlement of the negligence case. Work Comp has a legal right to place a lien on the settlement proceeds of the negligence case. An experienced attorney can ensure that the injured worker still ends up getting more money than if they were to only file the workers compensation claim. Here is a very simplified example to see how it plays out:
Plummer was driving from one emergency call to the next emergency call when he was rear ended by a negligent driver. The Plummer hires Mr. Rodabaugh to handle his case. A workers compensation claim is made and the total amount of money paid in Mr. Plummer’s claim is $150,000. Work Comp will then place a lien on any negligence case that is filed. Mr. Rodabaugh then files a lawsuit against the negligent driver. The negligence case is settled for $200,000. Because of the lien, the $200,000 is frozen and can not be touched by any parties. It remains in the bank. Under Maryland law Workers comp is entitled to receive $150,000 in repayment of their expense. This would leave the gross amount of only $50,000 to Mr. Plummer. Mr. Rodabaugh places some pressure on Workers Comp and they agree that rather than taking $150,000 total, they will accept $100,000. Mr. Plummer will receive an extra $50,000.
For help contact a Maryland workers compensation attorney at Work Injury Maryland here.