Getting hurt at work presents a host of problems that are not only frustrating, but also potentially life changing. Your ability to work is compromised - perhaps forever - and so is your ability to pay your bills. It isn't long before the doctor bills start rolling in, making matters even worse. The good news is, because you were hurt on the job, you may be eligible for workers' compensation benefits to recoup your lost wages and doctors' bills.
In our previous post, we discussed what an employee is and what an accident is for the purposes of seeking workers' compensation benefits in Maryland. Now we will turn our attention to the requirements that the work injury arises out of and in the course of the job. As before, this post, while informative, cannot be considered legal advice.
In Maryland, for an individual to be eligible to seek workers' compensation benefits, the damages they suffered must have been related to an injury that took place during the course of their job. This is a strict definition of eligibility, and not every person injured on the job will qualify. Over the next two posts we will unpack this definition of eligibility and discuss what it means. Keep in mind that these posts are for informational purposes only, and are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.
When a worker is injured on the job, the effects of the injury can be long-lasting and devastating. Not only is the worker facing a mountain of medical bills relating to the injury, but they may also be unable to perform their job duties, leading to a loss of income. It comes as no surprise, then, that suffering from a work injury can be a stressful time for an injured worker.
Many people understand that the workers' compensation system is made to provide financial benefits for those who are injured on the job. While many times the benefits are paid to cover medical expenses, in Maryland benefits can also be paid for something known as vocational rehabilitation. What does this mean?
When one in Maryland thinks of the dangers of falls in the workplace, the construction industry may seem like the main place that falls take place. And although the construction industry sees the highest number of fatalities related to falls according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest number of non-fatal falls belongs to the retail and health care industries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data in 2009 stating that over 600 people were killed and more than 212,000 people suffered serious injuries due to falls in the workplace. Building maintenance, material moving, health care support, transportation and construction are all occupational sectors in which employees are especially prone to injuries related to falls.
It may seem that construction sites and factories are the most likely places for a workplace accident to occur. However, workplace accidents in Maryland can occur just about anywhere. In addition, illnesses or injuries brought on by a person's job duties, such as repetitive stress injuries, could make it difficult if not impossible for them to work.
When people are injured on the job, they may choose to pursue workers' compensation benefits to help them get back on their feet financially. No one expects to be injured while at work, so it is important to have a basic understanding of the types of workers' compensation benefits that are available in Maryland.
As readers of this blog may know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency tasked with setting safe workplace standards and fining those employers who violate those standards. It is a good companion to the workers' compensation system to ensure responsible parties are held responsible for workplace injuries.
Employees in Maryland deserve a safe working environment and the federal government recognizes that. There is a federal agency -- the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) -- that provides standards for workplace safety and sanctions for those employers who violate those standards.