Legal Considerations for Maryland Employers in Workers’ Compensation CasesSeptember 1, 2023
Workers’ Compensation law is not as straightforward as it may seem. You may need an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer because of some challenging issues as an injured employee.
Maryland law requires that employers provide Workers’ Compensation coverage for their employees. Employers can secure this coverage in one of two ways:
- They can purchase a policy from one of the insurance carriers doing business in the state. The insurance company must be licensed to do business in Maryland. The employer is responsible for all the premiums, and they cannot deduct them from the employee’s paycheck.
- Larger employers may self-insure, meaning they will respond to and pay the claims independently without an insurance company’s involvement. Only employers with a net worth may self-insure, and they can only do so upon approval from the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC).
Employers Face Consequences for Not Following the Law
Employers should not try to save money by failing to follow the law. There are severe consequences if an employer does not have Workers’ Compensation coverage. First, an employer can be fined up to $10,000 if they do not have coverage.
An even more serious consequence is that you could sue your employer or a third party in a personal injury case. The usual legal rule is to proceed through the Workers’ Compensation system if you have suffered a work-related injury. You cannot sue your employer under nearly all circumstances. When you sue your employer in a negligence-based lawsuit, they could be on the hook for the total cost of your damages. Therefore, it is not worth the risk for employers not complying with the legal requirement.
Employers Must Notify the MWCC of Your Injury
Employers have other legal obligations to follow. As an injured worker, you are responsible for notifying your employer of your injury within 10 days after the accident. If you fail to report the accident, you may not be eligible for compensation. Once your employer receives notice of the accident, they have 10 days to report it to the MWCC.
Your Employer May Oppose Your Claim for Their Own Financial Reasons
While the insurance company usually pays the claim, your employer still has a financial interest in your Workers’ Compensation case. The insurance premiums that your employer pays depend in part on the claims that have been filed. If the insurance company pays your claim, the employer could pay more for coverage. Thus, you can expect that your employer may not support your claim.
There Is a Distinction Between Employees and Independent Contractors
Another legal issue that concerns employers is how they have classified their workers. Only employees are eligible for Workers’ Compensation coverage. The laws do not apply to independent contractors who are not total employees. Injured workers may be able to challenge how the company has classified them if they cannot receive Workers’ Compensation. It could be that they are employees based on the function of their role with the employer.
Contact Our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton for Legal Guidance
When you need the assistance of an attorney, you can reach out to our Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We can handle complex issues in your Workers’ Compensation claim, giving you critical legal advice. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Lanham, and Owings Mills, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.