Am I Suing My Employer When I File For Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Every employer in the State of Maryland is required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Any claims insurance company your employer has named. All workers compensation benefits are paid by that insurance company and as long as there is insurance, the employer is not responsible for any payments. Other than a workers’ compensation claim, no claim is actually filed against your employer, although he is notified that a claim has been filed with the Workers’ Compensation in order to protect you if you are injured on the job. Bottom line, no you are not suing your employer.
Employees are provided with many benefits as part of their wage package. Some benefits like workers compensation, social security, minimum wage  and unemployment are government mandated and others like vacation pay, sick leave, gas card, personal leave, company picnics are volunteered by the employer. Which ever one of these benefits you apply for and receive it is part of your employment benefits. An employee should have no more reservations filing for a work related injury than for asking for their vacation pay.
When workers compensation was started it  had the intention of relieving the employee, employer and government of the hardships created when an employee is injured on the job and place that burden on the workers compensation insurance company who was paid a premium to insure such a loss. Just like life insurance protects your family in case of untimely death, workers compensation insurance protects all parties in case of untimely injury at work.
In fact the law specifically provides that you can not sue the employer and your only remedy most of the time for your injuries no matter how serious is usually workers compensation except under very limited circumstances.
Under Maryland Workers’ Compensation law unless the employer intentionally hurts you, you have no right to sue the employer. The reason for this is that back in the early 1900’s prior to workers’ compensation law, an employee could sue his employer if the employer was negligent, however, those suits would typically take years and in the meantime the employee would receive no benefits. Also, if the employer could prove that the employee was contributory negligent or assumed the risk, then the employee would not be able to sue the employer and the employee would receive no benefits.
As a compromise between labor, the employers, employees and the government the workers’ compensation system was set up so that an employee could recover workers’ compensation benefits quickly even if the employee was contributory negligent or assumed the risk and even if the employee could not prove that the employer was negligent. However, in exchange for these rights the employee had to give up the rights to sue the employer. The government passed a law agreeing that the employees would give up the rights of lawsuits against the employers in exchange for the workers’ compensation system and that is why today employees cannot sue their employers.
Workers compensation does not however prevent you from suing a negligent third party.
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