Am I suing my employer by filing workers compensation claim?

Filing a Maryland workers compensation claim is not the same as suing your employer

There are many distinctions and similarities between filing a workers compensation claim and filing a lawsuit against an employer.  The actions are both legal in nature however the process, benefits, affects, and potential vary to a great degree.

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Differences in filing a Maryland workers compensation claim and a filing lawsuit against an employer

No Actual lawsuit is filed in a workers compensation claim

In fact, an employee is not able to file a lawsuit against their employer for a work injury in almost every circumstance.  Barring any malicious and direct action intended to cause harm to the employee by the employer or an agent of the employer, the employee may not file a civil lawsuit.  The formation of workers comp was based on an understanding between the “employers” and “employees” that the right to file a lawsuit was prohibited.  In a Maryland workers compensation cases the employee files a claim with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission as well as the insurance company of the employer.  The form is relatively straightforward.  Many, in fact most, Maryland workers compensation claims never see the inside of a court room and most conflicts are resolved at a Commission hearing location.  Only after a workers compensation claim is appealed will the parties potentially end up in a courtroom but there is still no filing of a lawsuit.

The employer is not as financially affected in a workers compensation case and also benefits!

A lawsuit may bring financial hardship on a party, however often the hardship comes in the form of an insurance premium increase rather than the necessity of paying the complete judgment in the lawsuit.  Similarly, an employers premium may increase if a workers comp claim is filed.  Some employers have a difficult time with the fact that their workers compensation premiums may increase, however it should be understood- the alternative could be frivolous lawsuits, run away jury verdicts, and potentially crippling lawsuit settlements.  The workers compensation system allows employers to avoid catastrophic lawsuits while providing the employee protection should they be injured on the job.

Workers Comp is the compromise between the employers and employees.

There is no Pain and Suffering in a Maryland workers comp claim

While the pain and suffering an injured worker endures may have some indirect affect on the claim, there is no compensation directly attributable to the pain they endure.  There is however compensation to be obtained at the end of the workers compensation case in many cases.  Injured Maryland workers qualify for a permanent partial disability for any remaining issues they may have once discharged from treatment.  Note there are also other various forms of compensation to which the injured worker may be entitled. 


Similarities between filing a Maryland workers compensation claim and filing a lawsuit against an employer

The injured is usually entitled to compensation in both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit

In both a lawsuit and a workers compensation claim compensation is available to the person taking action.  In a personal injury lawsuit the person is may settle their case or take the case to trial for a Judicial order of damages.  Damages may include reimbursement of medical expenses, repairs to damaged property, and money for pain and suffering.

In a workers compensation claim the injured worker is entitled to lost wages while held out of work, money for permanent injury or symptoms, and potentially vocational rehabilitation payments.  

Insurance coverage is involved in both a workers compensation claim and a lawsuit

Business’ and automobile owners are required to have liability insurance coverage in Maryland, likewise Employers are required to have workers compensation insurance in Maryland.  These requirements are for the benefit of both the injured as well as the at fault or liable party.  What this means is that there is not a lump sum payout directly from the employers or liable parties in a great majority of cases.  While insurance premiums are affected, Employers, and liable parties enjoy some financial protection. 

Action is taken by way of filing in both a lawsuit and a workers compensation claim

A workers compensation claim is started by filing a claim with the workers compensation commission.  This is done by filling out and submitting a claim form (C30).  The C30 is filed and the insurance company then has the opportunity to challenge the claim on some various legal ground, or accept the claim and begin issuing the benefits applicable at that time.

Lawsuits are begun by filing a complaint with the applicable judicial court.  This may be in one of the many district courts of Maryland, or in one of the County Circuit Courts.  The document filed is referred to as a complaint.


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Maryland workers compensation attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh and his office offers information about Personal Injury law and Workers’ Compensation for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein constitutes formal legal advice. If you need the advice of a Maryland workers compensation lawyer, please contact him today. He has offices throughout the state and various convenient meeting locations.  Each and every case needs to be evaluated before legal advice can be provided.  Under no circumstance should the information on this website be considered medical advice. This is an attorney’s website and is not affiliated with any government agency or government entity of any kind.
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