For most employees in Maryland, worker’s compensation is the primary source for financial recovery after a work-related injury. However, in certain circumstances, workers may be able to file a third-party lawsuit against a party other than their employer, i.e., if they caused or contributed to the injury.
Workers’ compensation in Maryland
If you’re injured while you’re on a work site or performing tasks related to your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can provide financial support to cover medical expenses, lost wages and rehabilitation services due to a work-related injury or illness.
Worker’s compensation insurance is a no-fault system, meaning that the employee does not need to prove that their employer was at fault for the injury for Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission to provide benefits. The only requirement for workers’ compensation eligibility is that the employee sustained the injury during work activities.
Employees may also be able to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against a party other than their employer if they caused or contributed to the injury. For example, if you sustained injuries while on a work site due to improper maintenance by a third-party contractor, you may have grounds for filing a third-party lawsuit. In addition, if your injuries resulted from a defective product that you used as part of your job duties, you may also be able to file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer.
How a third-party lawsuit can affect workers’ compensation
In most cases, you can only receive compensation from one source. If you pursue a third-party lawsuit, the court may subtract any settlement or reward money from your workers’ compensation benefits. If the amount of money obtained through a third-party lawsuit exceeds the amount of workers’ compensation benefits paid out, then the employer does not get reimbursed for these payments.
It’s important to note that in Maryland, employers are immune from personal injury lawsuits if they have provided valid and sufficient worker’s compensation insurance coverage and made the workplace safe according to OSHA’s standards. However, if your employer was negligent or ignored Maryland labor or workplace safety laws, you may be able to file a lawsuit.