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Volunteer hurt on the job- Maryland Workers Comp

Are volunteer workers covered under Maryland Workers Compensation Laws?

The short answer is yes!

For a free consult call Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh

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Which volunteer workers are covered under Maryland workers comp laws?

Almost any volunteer job you can think of is covered under the workers compensation laws of Maryland.  This includes volunteer firefighters, paramedics, EMT, patient translators, nurses, doctors, teachers, interns, business greeters, and more. 

The important question that often arises in work accident cases involving volunteer workers is whether they were acting as an “employee” or a “contractor.”  This distinction should be discussed with a well rehearsed Maryland workers compensation attorney because the determination can be quite difficult.  Factors including supervision, work schedule, use of tools or supplies responsibility and the like all come into the legal analysis.

Which volunteer occupations are not covered under Maryland workers compensation laws?

An explanation of all the volunteer occupations not covered under Maryland workers comp laws would go outside of the purview of this article however I will cover a few that are mentioned in the Labor and Employment Article. 

LE § 9-231 A volunteer worker for a unit of political subdivision in Allegany, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Queen Anne’s, St Mary’s, Somerset, Washington, or Worcester is not a covered employee.

LE 9-235 Workers for aid or sustenance for a charitable or religious organization.

LE 9-222 Real Estate Sales Person or Broker

What rights do volunteer workers have under Maryland workers compensation laws?

The workers compensation rights provided to an injured volunteer are the same rights that are provided to a non-volunteer.  These include medical coverage, lost wages, final compensation, mileage reimbursement, and if necessary vocation rehabilitation.

How much are lost wage benefits for a volunteer worker who sustained injuries on the job?

Volunteer workers who were not receiving pay from the volunteer employer are to be paid lost wages according to the wages they receive by any other employer.  If a full time accountant and volunteer firefighter is injured fighting fires he will be paid according to the wages he makes as an accountant. 

Unfortunately there are some instances where the volunteer does not have a paying occupation.  In this event the lost wage amount may be determined in a couple of other ways.  If the event the employee is considered a civil defense volunteer the lost wages can also be based on income from another source such as retirement.  If their is not other income the employee would received compensation based on the minimal payment section of the labor and employment article.  9-626 provides A Minimal amount of Compensation to be paid to those injured on the job.  $50 weekly.

Final Compensation for volunteer workers injured on the job in Maryland

Once the lost wage amount is determined the rate to be paid at permanency can be determined.  There has been a lot of ridicule over the permanency legislation and how it was adopted in a less than equitable manner.  The statutory language provides that two workers who sustain the exact same injuries and end up with the exact same permanent complaints could potentially be paid vary different amounts because the permanency payments are based on the wages the person was making at the time of the accident.

A is a volunteer nurse with an established lost wage amount of $200 a week.  B. is an office worker making $600 a week.  They both sustain the same injury, go through the same treatment, and end up having the same permanent weakness and loss of motion.  

A. will be paid at a rate of $66.60 a week for first tier award, and $133.20 for second tier award.

B. will be paid at a rate of $ 172 a week for a first tier award, and $343 for a second tier award.

Is it fair that the laws provide higher permanency payments for those with higher paying jobs? 

For a free consult call Attorney Andrew M. Rodabaugh

+1 (410) 937-1659