When you are injured in the course of employment, or when you suffer from a work-related illness that arises over time, you are entitled to compensation. Workers' compensation can cover partial wage replacement, medical bills arising from the work-related injury or illness, and sometimes other costs, such as vocational rehabilitation.
But where do the funds to cover the costs of your workers' comp claim come from? Under Maryland law, employers must take steps to ensure there is an adequate resource pool available to pay for the costs of employees' work-related injuries and illnesses.
Insurance or self insurance guarantees injured workers will have available resources
Maryland employers must either obtain workers' comp insurance from an insurance company licensed to write workers' comp insurance, or must become adequately self-insured. In of October 2013, a penalty increase went into effect requiring Maryland employers found without suitable workers' compensation insurance for all covered employees to pay a fine of up to $10,000 to the state's Uninsured Employers' Fund.
The idea behind workers' compensation insurance is similar to that of required automobile liability insurance. When a motorist causes a car accident, he or she is liable to the injured victims for the resulting damages. However, many motorists are personally insolvent. Requiring liability insurance coverage by law for all drivers provides a safety net to ensure there is compensation available for victims who are harmed in auto accidents.
Workers' compensation benefits differ from car accident claims in several ways, including that for workers' comp benefits, there is no required showing of fault (in other words, you do not have to show that your employer was negligent in order to collect workers' comp benefits, only that your injury or illness is in fact related to workplace activities). However, in either a workers' comp case or a personal injury case, in most instances, it will actually be an insurer who is providing the payout.
There is an exception in casing involving a self-insured person or entity. In the workers' compensation context, to be self insured, an employer must prove to the Workers' Compensation Commission that the employer has the ability to pay compensation without engaging an outside insurer. The Commission may require employers that self insure to provide security or acceptable letters of credit.
Do not let your claim be undervalued or denied: Contact a Maryland workers' comp attorney
It is the responsibility of both the employer and the employer's insurer to ensure claimants receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Perhaps not surprisingly, both insurers and employers are often reluctant to approve workers' comp claims. Making a payout obviously directly impacts the bottom line for an insurer, and workers' comp insurance premiums will typically increase for an employer when employees' claims are approved.
You are entitled to workers' compensation benefits for a workplace injury or illness, and there is a guaranteed pool of resources available to injured workers under Maryland law. Do not let a wrongfully denied or undervalued workers' comp claim keep you from enjoying the full benefits you have earned. Talk to a Maryland workers' compensation lawyer today to ensure you get a fair payout from your employer or your employer's insurer.
Keywords: Maryland, workers' compensation, insurance