In 1902, Maryland enacted the first statewide workers’ compensation law and in 1906, Maryland was the first state to enact the first federal workers’ compensation. The most recent workers’ compensation law may be found under Maryland Code Ann., Lab & Empl. §9-101 (2014) et seq.; Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) Title 14, §09.01.01 et seq. Workers’ compensation in Maryland is administered by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Prior to the 1900s, the law on workers’ compensation in the US stemmed from common law obligations for employers to provide safe working places and tools. Generally, an employer is freed from liability when the injury of the worker was caused by a fellow worker and when the employee committed contributory negligence by failing to use adequate precautions. There was also an assumption that the employee accepts the risks inherent in the work. Understandably, courts were inundated with lawsuits filed by workers asking for damages for the pain and suffering they sustained because of the employer’s negligence.
Workers’ compensation laws, on the other hand, require employers to hold disability insurance or workers’ compensation insurance to cover its employees. The cost of this insurance is shouldered by the employer solely and the employer is prohibited from deducting amounts from the salaries or wages of the employees to cover the premium payments for workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers’ compensation is voluntary and not compulsory. It is a type of insurance that the employer pays so that when an employee sustains injuries in the course of his or her employment. Workers’ compensation replaces the wages and the medical benefits that an employee would receive if he filed a lawsuit for negligence against the employer. If employees file a lawsuit against the employer, he will be required to prove the employer’s negligence. But injured or disabled workers need not file a suit against employers to be paid benefits instead, they may request payment by filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Covered employees need only to report any accident to his or her employer immediately after it occurs. Then, employees may submit their claim via an online form which they can print, fill-up, sign and mail to the Workers’ Compensation Commission or submit online.
The Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) will process the claim. Pay outs awarded by the WCC will include payment for treatment of covered injuries such as: doctor bills, hospital bills, physical therapy, prescriptions and other necessary expenses within limits established by the state of Maryland.