Any employee who sustains an accidental injury in the scope and course of their employment is entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Benefits are payable regardless of fault, i.e. the employee does not have to prove the employer was negligent or "at fault" for the injury. The history of the worker's compensation system reveals that the trade-off for an employer's responsibility for work accidents regardless of fault is that the injured employee cannot sue the employer in tort for negligence ["workers' compensation immunity"]. It sometimes comes as a surprise to an injured worker that they cannot sue their employer when they are hurt at work. Most responsible employers choose to deliver worker benefits through an insurance carrier. "Deliver" in this context may be, at times, misleading.
It frequently comes as an additional and unwelcome surprise to injured workers that Maryland worker's compensation insurance carriers spend millions of dollars in litigation fees, hiring attorneys to ask the worker's compensation commission to deny benefits to injured employees.
Some states say that their system of worker's compensation is to be "self-executing". That is all too frequently not the case. Nevertheless, every jurisdiction has a sizeable worker's compensation defense bar- lawyers who are hired by the carriers to defend the carriers' denial of benefits in court. Some of the lawyers in Maryland represent insurance companies. These are skilled, seasoned defense lawyers who provide excellent legal services to their clients- the insurance industry. They are able and skilled advocates in the courtroom, and routinely, and effectively, argue that injured workers should not receive the benefits they have sought.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 7/23/19.