Most Maryland residents will likely associate workplace injuries with accidents such as falls and explosions, but they can sometimes be caused by contact with animals. The most common form of animal-related injuries suffered by workers are insect or snake bites, but those who work in close contact with larger creatures such as cattle or horses may sometimes suffer broken bones or concussions.
The way that these workplace injuries are treated will depend largely on how foreseeable the danger was. A ranch worker injured by a cow will likely be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but an office worker with the same kind of injury may not be. Outdoor workers are prone to contact with Maryland’s fauna, and benefits may be paid to workers who develop conditions such as anaphylactic shock or Lyme disease after an insect, snake or spider bite.
In some cases, the conditions found in the workplace will form the basis of a workers’ compensation decision. Workers who would not normally be at risk of animal exposure may be entitled to benefits if their employers failed to adequately tackle insect or rodent infestations. Employers can reduce the likelihood of animal-related injuries by scheduling regular visits by an exterminator and providing workers with training and access to appropriate medical supplies.
The workers’ compensation program provides vital financial assistance to those injured on the job, but questions about matters such as foreseeable risk can make the claims process confusing and uncertain. Employers worried about rising insurance rates may also claim that an accident was not job-related or the worker concerned is exaggerating the severity of their injuries. An attorney with experience in this area could be of assistance to an injured worker during the preparation and filing of the required claim, and may also be able to provide representation at a subsequent hearing should the claim be disputed.