Understanding why Maryland workers compensation came about and the basic process and theories of workers compensation insurance
Maryland Workers compensation laws and the purpose behind them
Like any Maryland law, the Maryland Workers Compensation laws were first drafted as a bill by the Maryland legislature and the representative of each county. It is important to know that Maryland was the first state in the United States to pass workers compensation laws and many states mirror their workers compensation laws after those of Maryland. The purpose of the workers compensation act was to provide a remedy to the over burdening of the court systems that stemmed from lawsuits of those injured on the job. Prior to Maryland workers compensation laws an injured employee was able to sue in court just like he or she would for other personal injury cases such as automobile accidents.
Most lawsuits, and in work injury lawsuits there were two sides- the employer and the employee (their are now other parties to a Maryland workers compensation case). In order to ensure passage of Maryland workers comp legislation each side had to make concessions. For the employers- they would have to provide medical care in the event of a work injury; For the employee- they would no longer be able to “sue.” The employers did not want to be sued in court. Lawsuits often led to large legal fees for the employer, and excessive settlements or awards. For small business this could mean failure, and for large businesses it was likely an expense they wished to avoid. What was important to the employee was medical treatment and some compensation for injuries.
The big picture purpose of Maryland workers compensation laws are to provide a safe haven from lawsuits for the employer and medical treatment and some compensation for the employee. Conceptually this program would be great for all parties as they have their interests satisfied. The complexity in Maryland workers compensation law arises from the statutory language in the Workers Compensation Act which provides various rights, entitlements and lots of room for argument.
What is workers compensation
Workers Compensation is a type of insurance that employers in the state of Maryland must provide for their employees. The employer is responsible to pay for this insurance continuously in order to provide coverage for the employees should they be injure while at work. Not only do Maryland workers compensation policies provide for payment of medical expenses and treatment for the injured worker but the policy must also provide lost wages, transportation costs, and other benefits. Employers are able to “shop around” for their insurer or they may be self insured if they have the assets to meet state requirements.
When an employee is injured at work and the accident is covered under Maryland Workers Compensation laws the insurer must step in the shoes of the employer and pay for the medical treatment. The workers compensation insurer is comparable to auto insurance carrier. If a driver is sued the auto insurance carrier of the wrongful party steps in and provides for the injured. There is a key distinction with Maryland workers comp, it being a no fault system. There is no need to prove the negligence of the employer and in fact the employee can be negligence themselves and still recover benefits.
Many injured workers believe that they are suing their employer by filing a workers compensation claim against that employer. This is a common misconception, but also subject to semantics. The employees right to sue was arguably taken away with their right to file a complaint in the applicable court system which was the case prior to 1902 when the Workers Compensation Act was passed into law.
For a no cost consultation with Maryland workers compensation attorney Andrew Rodabaugh call +1 (410) 937-1659 OR Email