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Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation Law provides a way for employees who are injured on the job to receive payment for lost wages and medical expenses related to the injury.
Almost every Maryland employer is required to have workers’ compensation insurance to pay the cost of employee injury. Under the law, compensation does not rely on anyone being at fault. Therefore, in most cases, injured employees cannot sue employers for damages.
An accidental personal injury is:
- an accidental injury that arises out of and in the course of employment;
- an injury caused by a willful or negligent act of a third person directed against a covered employee in the course of employee's employment; OR
- a disease or infection that naturally results from an accidental injury that arises out of and in the course of employment, including an occupational disease and frostbite/sunstroke caused by a weather condition.
The Commission is the State Workers' Compensation Commission.
Occupational disease is a disease contracted by a covered employee as the result of and in the course of their employment AND that causes the covered employee to become temporarily or permanently, partially or totally incapacitated.
Read the law: Md. Code, Labor and Employment § 9-101
Not every accident or illness on the job is eligible for compensation. Employees are eligible for compensation when their injury “arises out of and in the course of employment.” This means that the injury has to:
- occur because of conditions required by the employer for doing the job
- when the employee is doing the job
Injuries include diseases that the employee develops because of job conditions, such as illnesses that develop because of noxious fumes or other things in the air at the work site. Injuries caused by a third party are still eligible for workers compensation.
Read the law: Md. Code, Labor and Employment § 9-101
The amount of money awarded depends upon the severity of the employee’s injury. Successful claims cover medical expenses, partial payment of lost wages, and, in the case of death, funeral expenses. Additional compensation is also provided for cases of severe and permanent injury. Payment for lost wages is generally made weekly. If the injury makes it impossible for the employee to return to their job, the employee may get vocational training and counseling for a new job.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Labor and Employment Title 9, Subtitle 6
Injured employees first must tell their employer about the injury either orally or in writing within 10 days of the injury. If the employee dies because of the injury, the family must notify the employer of the injury within 30 days. If the employer is notified in writing, the employee must state their name and address, note the time, place, nature, and cause of the injury, and must sign or get someone to sign on their behalf. If the employee died as a result of the injury, the writing must be signed by at least one of the employee’s dependents or by someone on their behalf. If the employee develops a disease, the employee or employee’s family has one year from the time the disease is discovered (or the employee dies) to tell the employer.
If the employee misses more than three days of work due to an accidental personal injury that causes a disability, the employer has to file an accident report with the Workers’ Compensation Commission within 10 days of learning of the accident. If the employer learns or receives notice that an employee has been disabled due to an occupational disease, the employer must promptly report the disability to the Commission.
There may be some exceptions available to the notice requirements.
To file a claim, employees must file Employee Claim Form C-1 and a physician's report, if available. You can complete the form online or request a print form from the Workers’ Compensation Commission. For most accidental injuries not ending in death, employees have 60 days to file a claim. For an accident ending in death, the employee's family has 18 months to file. For an occupational disease, the injured employee or employee's family has 2 years. In the case of pulmonary dust disease, the employee or employee's family has 3 years to file a claim.
Either the employer or employee may request a hearing to investigate a claim. The hearing may involve witnesses and medical examination of the employee to determine the severity of the injury. A member of the state Workers’ Compensation Commission holds the hearing. The Workers’ Compensation Commission is a 10-member board of attorneys appointed by the governor.
The Workers’ Compensation Commission will make or deny a claim within 30 days of the mailing of the notice of the filing of a claim or the hearing. If either the employer or the employee is unhappy with the Commission’s decision, either may appeal to the circuit court. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the mailing of the Commission’s order. Learn more about appealing an administrative agency decision.
Employees have a right to be represented by an attorney. However, attorneys cannot charge a fee until it is awarded by order of the Commission. Any fee will be a percentage of the award made by the Commission.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Labor and Employment § 9-731