As a business owner it is important to understand the legal rights of employees when it pertains to workers compensation rights. Although workers compensation laws may vary from state to state, it is essential that any business that has employees carry workers compensation insurance. The basic tenets of workers compensation laws state that if an employee is injured during the course of performing his/her duties on the job they are entitled to medical care and financial compensation without having to prove that the employer was at fault. Under many workers compensation laws this is the only remedy available to workers in the event of injury. Workers compensation insurance will protect a business owner from having to pay out of pocket expensive medical costs and other financial considerations for an injured worker.
Can a Worker Sue?
In most cases an injured worker cannot file a lawsuit against the employer. However, there are two exceptions to that regulation: 1) when an employer intentionally causes injury to the worker and 2) when an employer is required to have workers compensation insurance but fails to do so. In the case of intentionally acts the view of the courts is generally narrow; it is not enough to prove an unsafe working environment, but a worker has to prove that an employer specifically acted with the intention to cause harm. For instance, an environment that may result in a falling object is not enough to prove intention but an employer that deliberately pushes an object onto an employee resulting in an injury does prove intent.
Most worker injuries are quickly recovered from. There are occasions though in the case of severe and long term injuries where workers compensation is denied. Worker may then seek the assistance of a workers comp attorney who will appeal the decision. An appeal will take place in more of an administrative setting than in a court room where strict guidelines dictate the limitations of attorneys on both sides. Relaxed evidentiary rules are often involved along with a cap on the fees that attorneys may charge.
In the case of a worker participating in will misconduct or working under the influence of an intoxicant there is recompense. Most states restrict injured workers of these conditions from collecting workers compensation.
The rights of workers in case of injury are finite. There are few exceptions to those rights issues by federal statutes: The Jones Act, The Federal Employment Liability Act (FELA), The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act, and the Black Lung Benefits Act. Each of these has specific rules for implementation.
For more questions about Maryland Business Insurance, contact an agent at McFarlin Insurance Agency today!