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Workers’ compensation only applies to employees

Were you recently injured on the job? Did you become ill as the result of workplace exposure to a chemical or toxin?

If you answered yes to either question, you'll want to learn more about the workers' compensation system. In other words, it's a good idea to find out if you can file a claim to receive benefits.

Before you do anything, it's important to remember that workers' compensation only applies to employees. In other words, there must be a genuine employer-employee relationship if the injured party wants to collect benefits.

Unfortunately, there are companies that set up relationships in which a person is not actually an employee, but instead an independent contractor. In this case, the contractor is not able to file a workers' compensation claim, but will instead need to consider other courses of action, such as filing a lawsuit, if he or she wishes to receive compensation.

Taking this one step further, not all injuries and illnesses are covered. Not only must the injury have occurred on the job, but in order for it to be covered, the harm must have been caused by an accident personal injury arising during the course of employment.

In the state of Maryland, you have many rights as an employee. If you need to file a workers' compensation claim, make sure you know what is expected of you and how to move forward in the appropriate manner. Once you're on the right page, you will feel better about your ability to not only file a claim but to receive benefits in a timely manner.

Source: Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission, "Maryland Workers' Compensation Law," accessed Oct. 19, 2016

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