In previous posts, our blog has discussed how injured workers here in Maryland should know that their ability to secure work comp benefits under their employer’s work comp insurance depends upon whether they meet rather precise requirements set forth under state law.
Specifically, we’ve discussed how the state’s workers’ compensation statute requires that the injured party is actually an employee (i.e., they aren’t independent contractors, or part of either a partnership or sole-proprietorship), and that their injury happened purely “by chance or without design, taking place unexpectedly or unintentionally.”
Once these two elements have been proven, the focus then shifts to whether the worker’s injury can be classified as having “arisen out of the employment.”
The primary inquiry here is if the injury is directly attributable to conditions established by the employer as necessary for completing the required work. In other words, the focus is on whether the job requirements exposed the injured party to risk or danger.
By way of example, a car wash employee who hurts her back in a slip-and-fall injury on slick pavement or a painter who hurts his shoulder falling off a ladder could be said to have suffered injuries arising out of their employment.
The final element that must be considered in determining whether an injured worker is eligible for work comp benefits is whether their injury can be classified as “arising in the course of employment.”
In making this determination, the focus is on the time, place and circumstances surrounding the injury, meaning whether it occurred during work hours, at the employer’s place of business or a designated location, and during the carrying out of job-related duties.
By way of example, an assembly worker who is burned during his shift at a local plant has suffered an injury that arose in the course of employment, while a delivery truck driver who was injured in a grocery store parking lot several hours after her shift ended cannot be said to have suffered an injury that arose in the course of employment.
Here’s hoping this information about the initial requirements for securing work comp benefits has proven helpful. Always remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible if you have been injured on the job and the insurance company has denied your claim for work comp benefits.