Examining 4 Legal Elements of Workers’ Compensation in Maryland
Workers’ compensation in Maryland is a legal doctrine that addresses the liability for injuries and diseases that occur in the employment context. This doctrine applies when an employee sustains a qualifying injury — or contracts an occupational disease — as a function of performing their job duties.
In these cases, the injured employee can file a workers’ compensation claim and receive financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, or even disability. That being said, workers’ compensation is only available in situations that satisfy the following four legal elements.
- Only Employees Can Benefit from Workers’ Compensation
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, there must be an actual employer-employee relationship. Stated otherwise, only full-time, part-time, or seasonal employees can benefit from workers’ compensation, assuming satisfaction of all required elements. Though the benefits available can fluctuate based on the type of employee in question.
On the other hand, independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. As these workers perform their job functions on an independent basis — and not under the specific control of the employer — they are not considered employees under Maryland law.
- An Accidental Injury or Occupational Disease is Required
Under Maryland law, workers’ compensation benefits are usually restricted to employees who sustain an accidental injury in the workplace context. In order to qualify as an accident, the injury must happen unexpectedly and unintentionally. If an employee expects or intends to sustain injury, they may not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
There is an important exception to the accidental injury requirement. Workers’ compensation benefits are also available to employees who contract an occupational disease. These diseases develop when an employee has consistent exposure to harmful conditions as a result of their job — such as construction workers who must handle asbestos or other toxic chemicals.
- The Injury or Disease Must Arise Out of Employment
Workers’ compensation benefits are only available when the accidental injury or occupational disease arises out of employment. This factor relates to the conditions under which an employee must work, due to their employee employer’s specific job requirements. If the employer’s job requirements contribute to the circumstances of the injury or disease, workers’ compensation benefits are likely available.
- The Injury or Disease Must Arise in the Course of Employment
Workers’ compensation benefits are only available when the accidental injury or occupational disease arises in the course of employment. This is slightly different from the previous factor, focusing instead on time, place, and circumstances. If the employee sustained harm while on the clock and performing job duties, they likely qualify for benefits. The same applies if the employee was working at the employer’s place of business or a similarly designated job site.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about workers’ compensation in Maryland, it can be thoroughly beneficial to consult with an experienced Baltimore workers’ compensation attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, feature recognized credentials in matters of workers’ compensation. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.