Many personal injury and accident lawyers in Baltimore, MD will quickly tell you that means you have a worker’s compensation case -and that is it. Generally speaking, if you are hurt while on the job, even if the injury occurs through the fault of your employer, your employer must provide you with worker’s compensation benefits, but is otherwise immune from a typical negligence claim.
Yes, injured workers typically cannot sue their employer for negligence.
More aggressive injury and accident lawyers in Baltimore, MD might pull back the layers of that particular onion a little bit. That is not necessarily the end of the road. Of course, if you are hurt at work by the negligence of another outside of your employer's organizational structure, you may be entitled to an additional recovery. The law recognizes three common scenarios where a superficial “worker’s compensation” claim may well have another claim within it:
- where a third party is negligent in injuring an employee;
- where an employee is injured while using a defective piece of equipment;
- where an employee is injured to a dangerous or defective condition on land.
These cases are typically referred to as workers' compensation "third party" claims. The distinction is not insignificant. Under workers' compensation law, an employee is entitled to recover for their lost wages, and have their medical expenses met. In a personal injury action premised on negligence,
one is entitled to recover for non-economic damages: things like pain, inconvenience, distress, and suffering, in addition to strict economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages.
The third-party claims process can be complex. It is interesting that although the law gives the workers' compensation insurance company the right to sue the at-fault party directly to recover amounts they have paid due to the injury- they essentially never do so.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 12/13/19.